Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

"Downtime: Constructing Leisure." Just in time for summer vacation, this group exhibition examines the various ways in which we understand and use leisure time. Josh Greene's clever Individual Leisure Grants -- $500 awards to individuals to pursue leisure activities in the Bay Area -- is an irreverent riff on the arts foundation grant and a heartwarming document of how people envision and plan their time off. The French art collective Bureau d'Etudes contributes a detailed diagram and video exposing the membership and history of Bohemian Grove, the Sonoma County retreat of an exclusive, all-male club whose members include every Republican president since Herbert Hoover. Mungo Thomson's slide show of post-9/11 photographs (culled from the Internet) of people at the top of the Empire State Building is a recognition of New York City's altered landscape and an unexpectedly fascinating survey of the conventions of tourist photography. But the exhibit's highlight is Steven Shearer's untitled piece, a prefab tool shed from which a one-minute guitar solo emanates once every hour. In the context of an exhibit about free time, it's a poignant comment on the survival of garage band dreams within the limited time we squeeze in for fun. Although the show as a whole suffers from some unevenness, it's a refreshing look at how we live life off the clock. Through May 14 at New Langton Arts, 1246 Folsom (between Eighth and Ninth streets), S.F. Admission is free; call 626-5416 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed April 27.

"GlamMore." This coy, satirical exhibit examines people's impressions of luxury and elegance. The huge show includes work by Mail Order Brides/M.O.B., a Filipina-American ensemble of high-camp thespians, and Galya Rosenfeld, a fashion designer with a techno-mod sensibility. By turns comical and critical, "GlamMore" is appropriate for the haute bourgeoisie and the snickering pragmatist alike. Through May 5 at the California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St. (at Wisconsin), S.F. Admission is free; call 551-9213 or visit (Nirmala Nataraj) Reviewed April 13.

"The Kingdom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand 1350-1800." Religion's so controversial in San Francisco that spats periodically erupt over the nondescript cross atop Mount Davidson. So it may be challenging for us locals to understand the thrall that Buddhism has held over Thailand's visual arts. In a country of bright flowers and green mountains and sapphire water, what have the people painted and sculpted repeatedly? The Buddha, in bronze and sandstone, in murals and jewelry and temple objects, always smiling the gentle smile that denotes his inner peace and often capped with the unicorn horn-like "Thai flame" that symbolizes his spiritual energy. Yes, you'll see Buddhas aplenty in this groundbreaking new exhibit organized by the Asian Art Museum, but the charms of the 87 objects on display don't end there. The exhibition focuses on the classical arts of the kingdom of Ayutthaya, a great artistic center for more than 400 years until its artifacts were demolished by a 1767 Burmese invasion. But some amazing fragments live on in "The Kingdom of Siam," most of them culled from Buddhist temples -- richly carved figures of gods and goddesses, temple doors inlaid with elaborate mother-of-pearl designs. There are some secular trinkets, too, particularly magnificent brocade textiles shot through with gold. Through May 8 at the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is free-$10; call 581-3500 or visit (Joyce Slaton) Reviewed Feb. 16.

"Made Modular." In the optimistic days of midcentury modernism, the homes of the future promised all sorts of useful trappings -- robot housekeepers, self-cleaning bathrooms, and gourmet meals that could be whipped up with the push of a button. Sadly, these innovations still haven't become reality. Even so, the advances of another forward-looking dream, prefab architecture, are slowly coming to fruition. This exhibition investigates this trend, showcasing models and proposals for boundary-pushing prefab homes in America and abroad. Among the ultramodern pods is the winner of Dwell magazine's contest to design an affordable home for mass production. Through April 29 at the AIA San Francisco Gallery, 130 Sutter (at Montgomery), S.F. Admission is free; call 362-7397 or visit (Jane Tunks) Reviewed April 13.

"Monuments for the USA." The folks at the California College of the Arts have commissioned more than 70 artists to design their own colossal -- and genuinely provocative -- American shrines. Because these are just proposals rather than full-size assemblies, the artists can exercise their visions without concern for skyrocketing budgets and meddling politicos. Thomas Hirschhorn's The Road Side Giant Book Project may look like an enormous volume perched alongside a highway interchange, but it's actually a library that also houses daily discussions about philosophy and art. Aleksandra Mir's The Great Ears (East & West) proposes a pair of ears made out of white marble, one on each coast, that would, according to the artist's statement, "make us aware of what goes on in the world and protect us from evil threat, like ears do." Through May 14 at the Wattis Institute's Logan Galleries, 1111 Eighth St. (at Hooper), S.F. Admission is free; call 551-9210 or visit (Jane Tunks) Reviewed April 13.

"New Work: Marilyn Minter." A single ice-blue eye looks uninterestedly into the distance, surrounded by a thick layer of cosmetic lacquer somewhere between the colors of blood and flamingo. It's a beautiful image, but not a happy one: Has the eye been made up to look injured? The photorealist painting in question, LA to NYC, leaves the viewer confused, but unable to look away. It and a slew of other glittering, color-drenched, large-scale photographs and paintings comprise this show, which will probably net the New York artist a raging horde of devoted S.F. fans. Through July 24 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$10; call 357-4000 or visit (Hiya Swanhuyser) Reviewed April 13.

"Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective" and "Robert Bechtle Prints." The middle-class slopes of Potrero Hill and the suburban roads of Alameda don't exactly scream with picturesque possibility, but painter Robert Bechtle has spent his life turning them into art. Using the mundane as fodder for his masterpieces, Bechtle finds riveting subjects in the most ordinary of things. The everyday-ness of his paintings brings with it a familiarity that is tangible, but the uncanny exactitude of his lines, shadows, and sun rays is what makes his landscapes so realistic and inviting. A Bay Area native with an artistic career that spans half a century, the 72-year-old painter is now having his first major retrospective here in town. "Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective" runs through June 5 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $6-10; call 357-4000 or visit "Robert Bechtle Prints" runs through April 29 at Crown Point Press, 20 Hawthorne (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is free; call 974-6273 or visit (Hiya Swanhuyser) Reviewed Feb. 16.

"Weedee Peepo: Portraits, Icons, y Gente." This first in a series of exhibits commemorating Galería de la Raza's 35th anniversary is a tribute to its community. Although its title is somewhat unfortunate -- a phonetic spelling of an accented "We the people" -- the exhibit is smartly curated given the broad topic and time frame. Representative works from the Galería's founders and key artists span three decades but are carefully selected and arranged to show a remarkable continuity of style and purpose. A classic of feminist and Chicana art, Yolanda López's 1978 Self-Portrait as the Virgin of Guadalupedisplays affinities with Ester Hernández's pastel drawings of prominent Latino women; Barbara Carrasco's 2004 portrait of labor organizer Dolores Huerta takes its clean, graphic style from the activist posters of the '70s. Among the contemporary works, Gabriela Hasbun's color photographs of older Mission District businesses that have survived gentrification are quirky documents of a changing cultural and economic landscape. But you don't have to set foot inside to see the show's most exciting work: Installed in the gallery's storefront windows, Pato Herbert's lenticular photographs -- the faceted technology that turns kitschy images of Jesus into Mary and back again -- convert his black-and-white images of youth into interactive portraits of racial harmony. From a series titled "No Haters Here," the large backlit faces change from black to Latino to Asian as you stroll by. Through June 4 at Galería de la Raza, 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Admission is free; call 826-8009 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed April 27.

Also Showing


111 Minna Gallery. "San Francisco Notables": An exhibit of local luminaries' portraits by the artists from Creativity Explored. Thu., April 28, 7 p.m. $40. Ultramega Art Conglomerate: A Sacramento-based collective consisting of artists, graphic designers, musicians, skaters, and graffiti kids has a group show. Through May 4. free. 111 Minna (at Second St.), 974-1719,

Andrea Schwartz Gallery. "Still, Life": Mixed media on panels by Danäe Anderson. Opening reception is April 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through May 25. 333 Bryant (at Second St.) (Suite 180), 495-2090.

Anthony Meier Fine Arts. "Robert Beck": New work including photography, sculpture, painting, and drawing. Opening reception is April 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 13. 1969 California (at Octavia), 351-1400,

Arspace Gallery. "Karina Figueroa": The tattoo artist's washy, painterly portraits with odd pastel hues and broad brushstrokes show a keen eye for figure drawing. Mondays-Wednesdays. Continues through May 14. free. 1286 Folsom (at Ninth St.),

Artemis Gallery. "Bohemian Art Chicks": Group show of art made by women, curated by Dee Dee Russell. Opening reception is April 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. Through May 15. 545 Sutter (at Powell), 788-1866.

Artseal Gallery. "Fifth Anniversary Exhibition": Curator Adam Gendell celebrates the gallery's fifth anniversary with a group exhibition. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through June 30. Free. 1847 Larkin (at Pacific), 567-3523.

Berkeley Public Library/Central Branch. "Overcoming Faceless Labor: Farmworkers Through the Lens of Almudena Ortiz": Ortiz's compelling black and white photographs highlight the Mexican immigrant farmworkers' experience. Through June 15. Free. 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck), Berkeley, 510-981-6100.

Blue Room Gallery. "Patrick Duegaw: Paintings": Large-scale paintings by Patrick Duegaw. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through May 15. "The Spirit of Lady Godiva": Nude photography by Harvey Drouillard. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through May 15. 2331 Mission (at 19th St.), 282-8411.

Bonnafont Gallery. "Horseshoes in the Forest": New paintings by Ann Barth. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Through May 1. 946 Greenwich (at Taylor), 431-7546.

Braunstein/Quay Gallery. "Judy Pfaff & Jane Rosen": New paintings, sculpture, and installation work. Through April 30. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 278-9850,

Brian Gross Fine Art. "Belonging: Selected Works": Photography by Meridel Rubenstein. Opening reception is March 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through April 30. "Rebecca Bird": New works on paper. Opening reception is April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 7. "Sono Osato: Angels in Dust": New paintings, assemblages, and sculptures by Sono Osato. Opening reception is March 24 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through April 30. "Thad Simerly": New sculpture and drawings. Opening reception is April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 7. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 788-1050.

California College of the Arts/SF. "Capp Street Project 2005: Tariq Alvi": Site-specific installation. Opening reception is April 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Through May 14. "Anthony Burdin: New Work": Video installations and drawings. Opening reception is April 6 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Through May 14. 1111 Eighth St. (at Wisconsin), 703-9500.

Club Six. "I'll Put My Trust in You": Group show; features work from the Hamburger Eyes crew. Opening reception is April 29 at 7 p.m. April 29-May 20. 60 Sixth St. (at Jessie), 863-1221.

Crown Point Press. "Janis Provisor": New color etchings. Through May 30. 20 Hawthorne (at Folsom), 974-6273.

Crucible Steel Gallery. "Haunted": Group show. Reception is April 28 at 7 p.m. April 28-May 2. 2050 Bryant (at 17th St.), 648-7562.

de Young Art Center. "The Magic of Cyanotypes": Exhibition and work in progress of Amy Snyder. Reception is April 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through April 30. 2501 Irving (at 26th Ave.), 750-3638.

Dolby Chadwick Gallery. "Marshall Crossman": New oil paintings. Through April 30. 210 Post (at Grant) (Second Fl.), 956-3560,

Edo Salon. "Spring at Edo": Screenprints by Sante Johnson and Justin Farmer. Opening reception is March 18 from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Through May 23. 601 Haight (at Steiner), 861-0131.

Exploratorium. "Natural Reflections": New work by John Slepian, Claudia Hart, Binh Danh, and Vanessa Renwick. Through May 30. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673,

Fraenkel Gallery. "Peter Hujar: Night": This exhibition includes approximately 35 photographs taken by the author at night in New York City between 1974 and 1985. Through April 30. Free. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 981-2661.

Galería de la Raza. "The James Luna Project": Luna's performative installations pointedly consider what it means to be "Indian" in America. Sat., April 30, 8 p.m. Free-$10. 2857 24th St. (at Bryant), 826-8009.

Gallery 16. "William Laven: War Models": Photography that features in each piece a miniature version of an actual U.S. warplane currently in use over the Middle East at 1/72 the size of the plane it represents. Opening reception is April 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. April 29-June 3. 1616 16th St. (at Rhode Island), 626-7495.

Gallery Paule Anglim. "Wenk Row": Michelle Lopez's exhibit includes drawings and sculptures made from toys, machines, and industrial materials like fiberglass and silicone. Through April 30. "Xanadu": New work by Shirley Shor. Through April 30. 14 Geary (at Kearny), 433-2710.

George Krevsky Fine Art. "More Than a Game: The Art of Baseball": Group exhibit of work concerning the game of baseball. Through April 30. 77 Geary (at Grant), 397-9748.

Gregory Lind Gallery. "Systems of Capture": Paintings by Sarah Walker. Through April 30. 49 Geary (at Kearny), Fifth Fl., 296-9661,

Hackett-Freedman Gallery. "Manuel Neri: Painted Bronzes and Plasters": Recent sculpture. Opening reception is April 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through May 28. 250 Sutter (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 362-7152,

Hang Annex. "Figuratively Speaking": Group show featuring work by Jylian Gustlin, Nicole Hayden, Marianne Kolb, Diane Rollins Feissel, Catherine Ryan, Anne Stryke, and Katherine Valentine. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 2. 567 Sutter (at Mason), 544-0610.

Hang Gallery. "In Cahoots": New paintings by Erik Jacobsen. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 2. 556 Sutter (at Mason), 434-4264.

International Museum of GLBT History. "Sporting Life: GLBT Athletics and Cultural Change From the 1960s to Today": A multimedia exhibit chronicling the participation of gay and lesbian people in a wide variety of sports. Through Dec. 31. 657 Mission St., #300 at New Montgomery,

Jack Hanley Gallery. "Piotr Janas": Solo exhibition of the Warsaw-based painter. Opening reception is April 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through May 7. 395 Valencia (at 15th St.), 522-1623.

Jack Kerouac Alley. Art in the Alley: Group show and sale. Sun., May 1, noon. 362-3370. Between Columbus and Grant.

Jenkins Johnson Gallery. "Contemporary Photography": Group photography show including work by Allen Ginsberg, Eikoh Hosoe, Stephen Hughes, Mark Klett, and many others. Through April 30. 464 Sutter (at Powell), 677-0770,

John Berggruen Gallery. "Richard McLean": Recent paintings. Through April 30. "Boy in the Landscape": Recent paintings by Enrique Martinez Celaya. Through April 30. 228 Grant (at Post), 781-4629,

John Pence Gallery. "Juliette Aristides": Recent oil paintings and drawings. Through April 30. 750 Post (at Jones), 441-1138.

Kala Art Institute. "North by NorthWest": Group show of work on paper by members of Seattle Print Arts. Through May 21. 1060 Heinz (at San Pablo), Berkeley, 510-549-2977.

La Peña Cultural Center. "Siempre La Lucha: The Struggle of Small Farmers in the 21st Century": A documentary photography exhibit on Honduran farmers by Jennifer Tong. Through April 29. 3105 Shattuck (at Prince), Berkeley, 510-849-2568.

Mezzanine Gallery. "Hot Off the Press": Group show of prints by artists including Sylvia and Richard Bolingbroke. Opening reception is March 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. Through May 4. 342 Grant (at Bush), 673-3080.

Micaela Gallery. "Pacific Rim": Gilded paintings by Joel Hoyer. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 10 p.m. Through May 31. 333 Hayes (at Franklin), 551-8118,

Mills College. "The Bookworks of Flying Fish Press": An exhibition of artists' books. Through May 30. 5000 MacArthur at Seminary, Oakland, 510-430-2255.

Mission Dolores. " Ohlone Portraits": An exhibit that features life-size depictions of the Ohlone people, a Native American tribe. Through Oct. 1. $2-$3. 3321 16th St. (at Dolores), 621-8203.

MixedUSE Gallery. "Peeing in the Sandbox": The show's artists are inspired by those whimsical years, using materials in their works that are reminiscent of such kiddie supplies as crayons and paste. Through May 1. free. 2917 24th St. (at Florida), 970-0560.

Newmark Gallery. "Essentialism": New paintings by Krzysztofa Zwierz-Ciok. Opening reception is April 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through May 28. 251 Post (at Stockton), No. 412, 392-3692,

Nob Hill Masonic Center. "The Universe Within: The Human Body Revealed": A science-educational exhibit featuring 200 former human bodies, preserved through the process of plastination. Daily, 11 a.m. $10-$17. 1111 California (at Taylor), 776-4702.

Octavia's Haze Gallery. "Dana Kawano & Remarque Loy": New paintings. Through May 29. 498 Hayes (at Octavia), 255-6818.

Pasquale Iannetti Art Galleries. "Les Petits Maîtres": Exhibition of paintings and art objects from 1880-1945. Through May 14. 531 Sutter (at Powell), 433-2771,

Paul Thiebaud Gallery. "Jeffrey Hester: Delta Paintings": New oil paintings. Through May 14. 718 Columbus (at Filbert), 434-3055.

Pigman Gallery. "Art for the Rest of Us": New work by Joe Sam. Opening reception is April 7 from 6 to 11 p.m. Through April 29. 72 Tehama (at Fifth St.), 546-7441,

Ratio 3. "Lollipop (In 200 Days I'll Be 11)": 6 1/2 seconds of a seamless film loop set to ominous music, featuring artist Maria Marshall's son's face as he sucks a lollipop -- while wearing hyperrealistic stubble makeup and gazing intently into the distance. Shot in a widescreen format with a brownish color wash, the 10-year-old becomes a tribute to Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood. The result is a somewhat creepy and totally brilliant endless film. Through May 15. 903 Guerrero (at 21st St.), 646-732-2767.

Rena Bransten Gallery. "Henry Turmon": New sculptures and drawings. Through May 7. "John Bankston": Exhibition of oil paintings. Through May 7. 77 Geary (at Grant), 982-3292,

Robert Koch Gallery. "Bill Owens: Leisure": Solo photography show. Through April 30. "Nathan Baker: People at Work": Solo photography show. Through April 30. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 421-0122.

San Francisco Art Institute. "Offices of The Anti Advertising Agency": Performance art project by the Anti Advertising Agency. Through May 7. "": Interactive art by the Finishing School collective. Through May 7. 800 Chestnut (at Jones), 771-7020,

San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. "Wedding Portraits": Poster exhibit celebrating the first anniversary of the controversial same-sex weddings at City Hall. Through May 12. 401 Van Ness (at Larkin), 554-6080,

San Francisco Center for the Book. "Journey to the Source: Handmade Books From Cuba": Book art from Ediciones Vigía. Through May 6. 300 De Haro (at 16th St.), 565-0545,

Sargent Claude Johnson Gallery. "Paul Robeson -- Revolutionary Artist": Group exhibition of art and artifacts honoring the life of Paul Robeson. Opening reception is April 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through July 22. 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-0623.

Schurman Fine Art Gallery. "Paul Jacoulet": Woodblock prints by the late artist. Through May 30. 1659 San Pablo (at Virginia), Berkeley, 510- 524-0623.

SF Black and White Gallery. "Two Year Tour -- A Travelogue": Black and white and color photography by Angelo Di Pietrantonio. Opening reception is April 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Through May 7. 619 Post (at Taylor), 929-9424,

Shooting Gallery. "Beyond the Pale": Former punk singer Niagara exhibits her latest series, dedicated to opium and absinthe. Through May 6. free. 839 Larkin (at O'Farrell), 931-8035,

Southern Exposure. Spring Fundraiser & Art Auction: Huge art sale. Sat., April 30, 7 p.m. Free. 401 Alabama (at 17th St.), 863-2141,

Steel Gallery. "Spring Fling": New work by Eric Michael Corrigan and Tina Lauren Vietmeier. Through May 28. 3524 Sacramento (at Laurel), 885-1655,

Swallowtail. "Aspects of Nature": Paintings by Bella Bigsby. Opening reception is April 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through May 15. 2217 Polk (at Vallejo), 567-1555,

Takada Gallery. "Meditations": New work by Sue Dirksen. May 3-28. 251 Post (at Grant),

Tart Contemporary. "The Major Something in Doing Nothing": Duncan Campbell's Falls Burns Malone Fiddles and a slide show by Mark Orange. Opening reception is April 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through May 14. 47 Lusk (at Townsend), 606-3158,

Toomey Tourell. "Secret Garden": New work by Philip Willem Badenhorst. Through April 30. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 989-6444.

Urbis Artium Gallery. "A World of Influence": An exhibit by the Los Angeles art group Workhorse Collective spotlighting the urban art form of graffiti. Opening reception is March 17 from 6 to 10 p.m. Through April 30. 140 Second St. (at Minna), 369-9404,

Valencia Street (between 20th and 22nd). "Double Take: A Billboard Project": Art billboards by Felipe Dulzaides in various locations; currently there is one at Valencia and 22nd Street. Daily. 626-5416. Valencia Street between 20th and 22nd.

Varnish Fine Art. "Yoohoo and Donuts": A show dedicated to Martha Stewart, including Jonathan Wayshak's Francis Bacon-inspired pen-and-ink drawings and Alex Pardee's twisted watercolors. Though the art isn't exactly reminiscent of the domestic diva, the exhibit is definitely, as Martha would say, "a good thing." Through April 30. free. 222-6131. 77 Natoma (at Second St.), 222-6131,

Weinstein Gallery/Geary Street. "The Great Spaces of the Mind": Solo exhibtion of paintings by Gordon Onslow Ford. Daily. 383 Geary (at Mason), 362-8151.

Museums African American Museum and Library at Oakland. "Trouble Man": In Soul Salon 10's show, 14 visual artists consider the legacy of the much-loved singer. Through May 28. Free. (510) 637-0200. 659 14th St. (at Landers), Oakland, 510-637-0200,

Asian Art Museum. "In a New Light: The Asian Art Museum Collection": A display of more than 2,500 objects from the museum's permanent collection explores the major cultures of Asia. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Shadows, Masks and Music: Aspects of the Performing Arts in Asia": The museum displays a diverse collection of musical instruments, set designs, costumes, and masks that are used in Asian performances. Tuesdays-Sundays. free-$10. Gallery Tours: Trained museum docents offer both general introductions to the museum's collections as well as tours that highlight special exhibitions. Tuesdays-Sundays, 11, 11:30 a.m., 1 & 2 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. Architectural Tours: Learn about the transformation of the old San Francisco main public library into the Asian Art Museum's new quarters with this regular tour. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 12 & 2:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 12, 2:30 & 6:30 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "AsiaAlive: Classical Arts of Thailand": Watch traditional Thai painting techniques demonstrated, make your own Thai-inspired jewelry, and see Thai performing arts videos at this supplement to "The Kingdom of Siam." Thursdays-Sundays, noon. Continues through May 1. "Arts of Asia Spring 2005": Learn about the arts of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas in 15 weeks of lectures. Fridays, 10 a.m. Continues through April 29. $100-125 for series; $10 per lecture. Asian Art Museum Storytelling: Each weekend the museum leads a family-oriented tour through a particular exhibit, followed up by a retelling of stories related to the exhibits. Sundays, 1 p.m.; First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Family Art Encounter": Drop in to make arts and crafts pieces related to the museum's current exhibits. First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m.; First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free. Target Tuesday Family Program: Each month this special family program presents an activity connected with Asian art and customs. First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$10. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500,

Berkeley Art Museum. "Blind at the Museum": An exhibition that investigates the nature of blindness, optical phenomena, and enjoying the visual arts despite vision problems. Through July 24. Free-$8. "Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens": The traveling exhibition spotlights Rubens' tremendous output of oil sketches with 35 sketches from the 17th century. Through May 15. Free-$10. First Impressions: Free First Thursdays: Check out a world of art and film with free entry to the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive each month. Thursdays, 11 a.m. Free. 2626 Bancroft (at Telegraph), Berkeley, 510-642-0808.

Cable Car Museum. Permanent Exhibit: Located in a historic cable car powerhouse, the museum displays a variety of cable car gear, historic photographs, installations explaining how the cars work, and several antique vehicles. Daily. Free. 1201 Mason (at Washington), 474-1887.

California Academy of Sciences. "Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme": A permanent exhibition that explores the types of environments in the universe that could support life. Daily. 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145,

California State Building Auditorium. "Sacred Lands, Sacred Traditions: The Arts of Southeast Asia and the Himalayas": Discover the vibrant arts of Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Himalayas in this lecture series with the Asian Art Museum's curator. Fridays, 10 a.m. Continues through April 29. $100-125 for series; $11 per lecture. 350 McAllister (at Larkin), 581-3701.

Cartoon Art Museum. "Small Press Spotlight Featuring Graham Annable": Voted Best Unknown Local Cartoonist by SF Weekly, the self-published comic's exhibit includes his Grickle booklets. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24. free-$6. "Contemporary Literary Comics: Selections From McSweeney's #13": An exhibition of comics work from 25 artists whose illustrations have appeared in the pages of the quarterly. Through May 22. Monthly Cartooning Classes for Adults: An intensive monthly workshop for aspiring comic artists, writers, and fans of the medium, taught by a professional cartoonist focusing on an area of his or her expertise. Fourth Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. $40-50. Cartooning Workshop with Jon "Bean" Hastings: The mastermind behind Smith Brown Jones: Alien Accountant teaches "Design 101," which includes instruction on character, layout, and printing prep for comic books. Sat., April 30, 1 p.m. $40-$50. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666,

Chabot Space & Science Center. "Astronomy in California 1850-1950: Telescope Makers, Telescopes, and Artifacts": Take a look at California's rich history in astronomy with this display of telescopes, astronomy history documents, and other ephemera. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Skywise -- Astronomy Cartoon Exhibit": Help your child understand that vastness and majesty of space with this exhibit of astronomy comic strips. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Mirror Mirror": Thirty-plus interactive exhibits from the Swiss science museum Technorama explore the properties of the looking glass. Through June 6. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Destination Universe": Take a virtual journey from the sun to the end of the cosmos with exhibits on nebulae, space travel, black holes, and moving galaxies. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "Mars Encounter": The National Aeuronautics and Space Administration sponsors this exhibit on travel to Mars, which includes data on current and past missions, a giant tactile Mars globe, and martian meteorites. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. "One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey": Take a simulated moon-walk, try on a space helmet, climb into a space capsule, and virtually land a lunar module in this exhibit. Daily. Free with museum admission, $9-13. 10000 Skyline (at Joaquin Miller) (Joaquin Miller Park), Oakland, 510-336-7300.

Chinese Culture Center. "Celebrating Spring: The Chinese Folk Art Way": Explore the objects that help Chinese communities welcome spring each year. Through May 1. Free. 750 Kearny (at Washington) (Third Fl.), 986-1822,

Exploratorium. "Traits of Life": A major exhibition area with 30 biology exhibits and demonstrations that help visitors understand the fundamental elements common to all living things from humans to amoebas. Daily. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673,

The Holocaust Center of Northern California. "Holocaust Center of Northern California": The newly opened center's first exhibit showcases its facilities, including a library with more than 15,000 historical volumes, a reading room for screening documentaries and holding educational talks, and ongoing displays of the center's thousands of photographs and artifacts. Tuesdays, Thursdays, 1-6 p.m.; Mondays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. free. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 777-9060,

Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts. "On the Edge: Contemporary Chinese Artists Encounter the West": An exhibit that spotlights the artistic reaction of Chinese artists to Western aesthetics and politics. Through May 1. Free. Lomita and Museum (Stanford campus), Stanford, 650-723-4177.

Judah L. Magnes Museum. "Sephardic Horizons": An exhibition of ephemera collected from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim cultures of the Iberian Peninsula during the 14th through the 18th centuries. Through July 15. "The People and the Book: Paintings and Rare Books From the Museum's Collection": An exhibition of works dating from the 19th to the 20th centuries and depicting people who write, read, or study from books. Through July 3. Free with museum admission, $4-6. 2911 Russell (at Pine), Berkeley, 510-549-6950.

Lawrence Hall of Science. "Forces That Shape the Bay": The museum's permanent science park exhibit explores new ways to understand the bay. Daily. "Prove It -- A ChemMystery": Kids and adults attempt to solve crimes using the basic forensic skills they learn step-by-step at the exhibit. Daily. Free with admission, free-$8.50. Centennial & Grizzly Peak, Berkeley, 510-642-5132.

Legion of Honor. "Windows Facing East: The Japanese Influence on European and American Prints": The exhibit spotlights the explosive affect of the Japanese aesthetic in the West after 1853. Through April 30. Free with museum admission, free-$12. "Doing and Viewing Art": Kids aged 7-12 and their families tour the Legion of Honor's galleries before taking part in a hands-on creative workshop led by a professional artist. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum entrance fee, free-$8. "Big Kids/Little Kids": Children aged 3 1/2 to 6 years and their parents take a gallery tour and then participate in a related hands-on art activity. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$8. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Company. Tuesdays. Free. 100 34th Ave. (at Clement), 863-3330.

Museo ItaloAmericano. "A.G. Rizzoli: Architect of Magnificent Visions": A 60-year retrospective of the work of the San Francisco draftsman who spent a lifetime drawing fantastic imaginary buildings and cities. Through May 8. Free-$3. Fort Mason, Bldg. C (Marina & Buchanan), 673-2200.

Pacific Heritage Museum. "Vision and Virtuosity": Exhibition of contemporary paintings featuring the works of over 30 artists from China. Through June 25. 608 Commercial (at Montgomery), 399-1124.

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. "Tesoros Escondidos: Hidden Treasures From the Mexican Collections": Hundreds of artifacts never before exhibited publicly. Through June 26. Kroeber Hall, UC Berkeley Campus, Berkeley, 510-643-7648,

Pier 45. "Amusing America": The evolution of modern amusement parks and their effects on the American cultural landscape are examined in this conglomeration of photographs, penny-arcade machines, and other ephemera. Daily, 10 a.m. Free. Fisherman's Wharf (Taylor & Jefferson), 552-1266.

Randall Museum. "Drop-In Art and Science Workshops": Each week kids and parents can participate in artistic activities that illuminate some aspect of science. Saturdays, 1 p.m. $3 per person. "Saturdays Are Special": Ongoing weekly drop-in, hands-on art and science workshops. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Free-$3. 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600.

San Francisco Fire Museum. San Francisco Fire Museum Permanent Exhibits: Included among the items on display at this museum are antique fire extinguishers, old uniforms, cast-iron replicas of historic fire engines, hooks, ladders, and other ephemera. Daily. Free. 655 Presidio Avenue (at Bush), 563-4630.

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. "150 Years of Dance in California": The exhibit spotlights over a century of dance in the Golden State with photographs, programs, and other ephemera. Daily. "Maestro!: Photographic Portraits by Tom Zimberoff": The artist captures a generation of national and international conductors in his portraits. Daily. "Painted Men: Chinese Opera Backstage": A behind-the-scenes look at Chinese opera through artifacts such as props, costumes, scripts, photographs, and musical instruments. Through June 4. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 255-4800,

San Francisco's Maritime National Historical Park. "Sparks, Waves, & Wizards: Communication at Sea": The permanent exhibit presents artifacts and ephemera exploring the means of maritime communications. Daily. Free-$6. Hyde Street Pier (foot of Hyde near Jefferson), 561-6662.

San Jose Museum of Art. "Inside Out: Selections From the Permanent Collection": Highlights of the museum's 35th-anniversary exhibition include Mildred Howard's Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r), a chamber built of blue glass bottles, and Brian Goggin's Desire for the Other, a couch stuffed with household appliances. Daily. Free. 110 South Market (at San Fernando), San Jose, 408-271-6840.

SF Maritime Museum. Permanent Collection of Ship Models: A big collection of figureheads, maritime paintings, photos, and artifacts. Daily. Free-$3. Fisherman's Wharf (at Polk), 556-3002.

SF Museum of Modern Art. "Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection": The ongoing exhibition presents works from SFMOMA's own collections, with special installations on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Anish Kapoor, Sherrie Levine, Brice Marden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Barry McGee, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kara Walker. Daily. "Architecture & Design Permanent Collection": An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. "Picturing Modernity: Selections From the SFMOMA Collection": An exhibition of photographs from SFMOMA's own collection that illustrate a wide range of photographic styles. Daily. "The Art of Design": A permanent exhibition of works in the museum's architecture and design collection, including works of graphic and industrial design (such as the famous Fillmore rock posters by Bonnie MacLean, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse). Daily. "2004 SECA Art Award": The exhibition features work by Bay Area artists Rosana Castrillo Diaz, Simon Evans, Shaun O'Dell, and Josephine Taylor, and was curated by a museum society organized to encourage exceptional emerging artists. Through May 15. Free with museum admission, free-$10. "Image, Body, Text: Selected Works by Gary Hill": The media artist presents works that comment on body image and optical illusions using performance, sculpture, and video. Through May 30. $6-$10. "Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection": Magnificent works of painting and sculpture culled from SFMOMA's own collections provide a quick tour of modern art from Fauvism to Minimalism. Daily. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000,

Stanford University, Cantor Arts Center. "Shini-e: The Performance of Death in Japanese Kabuki Actor Prints": Portraits of the dead explore the wide range of Japanese thought regarding life and the afterlife. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24. free. 328 Lomita (at Museum), Stanford, 650-723-4177.

UC Berkeley Art Museum. " MATRIX 216/Slater Bradley: The Year of the Doppelganger": A video installation featuring the artist's doppelganger Benjamin Brock playing Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" on drums in the Cal Berkeley Memorial Stadium while the football team practices. Through June 26. free-$5. 510-642-0808. 2626 Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-643-4542.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Galleries. "Perfect Spaces: Pictures and Films by Oliver Boberg": A survey of the German's artist work, in which he photographs his equisitely detailed scale models of industrial spaces, such as loading docks and highways. Through June 26. free-$6. "Visual Aid at Sixteen With David Cannon Dashiell's Queer Mysteries": A retrospective of the work created by artists involved with Visual Aid, a nonprofit that helps artists with terminal illnesses. Its most ambitious work is David Cannon Dashiell's Queer Mysteries, a huge erotic painting that nods to a Pompeiian mural. Through June 26. free-$6. "The Museum of the Last Artwork: New Work by Robert Kusmirowski": A genre-breaking artist from Poland is best known for "falsification" of ordinary objects. Yerba Buena has commissioned its very own "false" site-specific installation for this exhibit. Through June 26. free-$6. 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787.

Zeum. "Toyz": Hands-on activities teach kids about the latest in tech toys. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$7. "Reality Check": Young people get inspired to question their preconceptions about the world with this slate of arts, media, and technology tools. Through May 8. Free with museum admission. 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 777-2800.

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