Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

"2x4." Wallpaper is cool again. Design collective 2x4's first solo museum exhibit is plastered from floor to ceiling with vertical strips of the stuff, each documenting a different design project. Best known for collaborations with star-chitect Rem Koolhaas, 2x4's forte is the marriage of graphic design and three-dimensional environments. Its designs of wallpaper, signs, logos, and books are based on impeccable research and executed with eye-grabbing moxie. A case in point: the collective's schema for the interior of the Koolhaas-designed campus center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which weaves history and present-day reality into one elegant, visual statement. The building is swathed in mural-size images of the grave faces of the institute's founders; on closer inspection, they dissolve into thousands of cheeky icons depicting student activities. Elsewhere, a series of custom wallpapers for Prada stores features strikingly anti-consumerist imagery: a stadium crowd holding up cards to form pictures of Maoist peasants; diagrams detailing the manifestly un-Prada-esque body measurements of the average American; and a patently fake, Edenic landscape populated by eerie, sexless, candy-colored mannequins. It's hardly the typical image of perfection that makes you want to buy, buy, buy, but then again, Prada shoppers might already be beyond all aspiration. The innovative exhibition design successfully embodies the collective's bold aesthetic and is fun to look at, but unfortunately, its small scale and close quarters make it difficult to absorb the details, which is where 2x4's true genius lies. Through Nov. 27 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$12.50; call 357-4000 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed June 29.

"Beautiful Debris." Fast foodtype art really isn't so bad, especially for those of us whose attention spans preclude lengthy sprees around the esoterica of gallery walls. And it's nice to have something outrageous (and something that warrants a five-minute look-see) scream out at you. Sculptor David Hevel's It's Official ... Britney's Pregnant! is one of the brash, Baroque pieces in "Beautiful Debris," an exhibition that floridly covers the craft-making theatrics of three different artists who supply viewers with plenty of eye candy. Hevel's piece -- a 6-foot-tall deer squirting plastic milk from multiple breasts and gamboling through a verdant plot of flowers, ribbon, and rhinestones -- combines the kitschy sang-froid of Takashi Murakami's inflatable dolls with the uncultivated aesthetics of a 9-year-old girl. Cristina Lei Rodriguez's pieces are prettified doodads of liquid plastic, foam, and consumer objects that resemble foliage in sexy poses, while Tara Giannini glams it up with her mixed-media paintings, which suggestively project peacock feathers, glass beads, and voluptuous layers of paint. Call it what you will, but it's definitely a lesson in good old excess and pop fun. Through Aug. 20 at the Heather Marx Gallery, 77 Geary (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 627-9111 or visit (Nirmala Nataraj) Reviewed July 20.

"Flip Sides." In this age of mash-ups, remixes, and quick cuts, Lowell Darling's collages of found film seem almost quaint. Mining Hollywood dumpsters, he splices the casualties of the lab and the editing bay into mysterious combinations, then blows them up and digitally prints the results on long paper scrolls. Hollywood Archeology #1 is a column of film leaders -- the frames of numbers or text that precede the movie into the projector. Furiously etched with machine-made scratches, when enlarged they unexpectedly resemble the grand gestures of abstract expressionist painting. Other pieces remix pop culture: Frames from a child's alphabet primer segue into scenes of a woman's naked thigh; bottles of medication float atop a misty mountain landscape. Like artifacts from another era, these discarded moments seem both strange and familiar. Although they're the parts of the movie we never see, they still feel like touchstones in our popular subconscious. Darling's work reminds us that film is itself a kind of archaeology, stringing myriad separate moments into an eternal, seamless present. But in these days of hyperaccelerated pop-culture recycling, his seemingly random collisions leave us wanting more -- a hint of sarcasm, perhaps, or a clearer point of view. Through Aug. 26 at Gallery 16, 1616 16th St. (at Rhode Island), Third Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 626-7495 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed July 27.

"Joto." This group exhibition of queer artists from Latino communities is intended to shock: The name "Joto" itself is the Spanish word for "faggot," and a featured piece, Who Would Jesus Torture? by Clinton Fein, displays a crucified George W. Bush near-nude on the cross sporting an erect "missile," flanked by Rumsfeld belting Hussein to an electric chair. Other artists take a milder approach, notably the self-taught Tony de Carlo, whose colorful portraits blend the spirituality of Mexican icon art with the soul of urban Los Angeles. Through July 31 at the Amaru Gallery, 510 Valencia (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 552-3787 or visit (Michael Leaverton) Reviewed June 22.

"Looking for Ixtlan." Jose Alvarez's austerely beautiful installation turns out to be pretty heady stuff. His "paintings" and works on paper are made of shards of opalescent crystal and porcupine quills -- materials inspired by Carlos Castaneda's "objects of power" in his book Journey to Ixtlan (a dubious account of his search for enlightenment through hallucinogenic mushrooms and a Mexican shaman named Don Juan). Alvarez blends Castaneda's New Age tenets with the languages of space exploration and high art, arranging the quills in the installation's title piece to form a graph of a transmission from outer space, and layering flakes of crystal to simulate abstract paintings (purportedly "pure" art without reference to the outside world). His mixing of these disparate systems of thought -- neo-shamanism, outer space exploration, and abstract art -- reveals how all three are ways in which people seek transcendence. By comparing Castaneda's untrustworthy account with scientific and artistic pursuits, he casts doubt on the ways in which we understand truth, suggesting that the very notion is a fiction. Of course, you have to do a little reading (or talk with the artist, as I did) to get all of the subtleties, but Alvarez's works are beguiling enough on their own to inspire more questions. Through Aug. 21 at Ratio 3, 903 Guerrero (at 21st Street), S.F. Admission is free; call (646) 732-2767 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed July 27.

Also Showing


Academy of Art University. "Spring Show": Group show of work by students in all departments of the university. Through Aug. 13. 79 New Montgomery (at Mission),

Andrea Schwartz Gallery. "Mixed Messages": New drawings by Gwen Manfrin. Through July 29. "Homey": New work by Terry Hoff. Through July 29. 525 Second Street (South Park Street), 496-2090,

Anthony Meier Fine Arts. "Overpainted Photographs": Small works by Gerhard Richter. Through Aug. 19. 1969 California (at Octavia), 351-1400,

ARTé Gallery. "Philippine Center Arts": Group show of work by contemporary Filipino artists. Daily. 447 Sutter (at Stockton), Fourth Fl., 650-274-2617.

Bank of America. "Trinkets": Heather Marx Gallery presents an exhibition of indoor and outdoor sculpture by Matt Gil. Through Aug. 13. 555 California (at Kearny).

Blue Gallery. "Here and Now": Group show of paintings and sculpture. Through July 31. 731 Polk (at Willow), 606-7170,

Blue Room Gallery. "California Art Metal Now!": Group show of metal art. Through Aug. 14. 2331 Mission (at 19th St.), 282-8411,

Braunstein/Quay Gallery. "Paul Pratchenko": New paintings and studies. Through July 30. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 278-9850,

Brian Gross Fine Art. "(re)collections": New work by Michelle Pred. Through Aug. 20. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 788-1050.

The Canvas Cafe and Gallery. "I Heart SF": San Franciscorelated group show featuring work by Nicole Frelier, Niana Liu, Adam Wier, Ursula Young, and others. Opening reception is July 28 at 7 p.m. July 28-Aug. 22. 1200 Ninth Ave. (at Lincoln), 504-0060,

Chinese Historical Society of America. "Trading on Fear: Chinese Images in American Trade Cards": Exhibition of historical advertising trade cards common in the 19th century. Through July 31. 965 Clay (at Stockton), 391-1188.

Creative Growth Art Center Gallery. "Dialogues": Group show of collaborations between professional artists and the center's artists with disabilities. Through Aug. 26. 355 24th St. (at Broadway), Oakland, 510-836-2340, ext. 15.

Dolby Chadwick Gallery. "In the Abstract: 2004-2005": Ink drawings by Kim Frohsin. Through Aug. 2. free. 210 Post (at Grant) (Second Fl.), 956-3560,

Fort Mason, Bldg. A. "Jo Farrell": Photography show of images from Tibet. Through Aug. 19. Marina & Buchanan, 751-9548.

Fraenkel Gallery. "John Guttman at 100": Paintings, drawings, and photographs from the artists' long career. Through Aug. 20. "Several Exceptionally Good Recently Acquired Photographs": A hodgepodge show including anything from historic treasures to flea market finds. Through Aug. 20. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 981-2661.

Frey Norris Gallery. "David Mellen": Exhibition of five new sculptures. Through Sept. 23. 456 Geary (at Taylor), 346-7812,

Future Primitive Sound. "Old Soul": Kelly Tunstall's whimsical, seductive paintings brings to life some of the most prominent female singers of soul music, like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. Through Aug. 10. Free. 597 Haight (at Steiner), 551-2328,

Gallery at Thoreau. "Ecovisions: WEAD at Thoreau": Group exhibit of work exploring sustainability from the Women Environmental Artists Directory. Through Aug. 12. 1016 Lincoln (at Torney), 561-7823,

Gallery Paule Anglim. "Laura Dufort": New paintings. Through July 30. 14 Geary (at Kearny), 433-2710.

George Krevsky Fine Art. "Back in the Day": Solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Raphael Soyer. Through Sept. 10. 77 Geary (at Grant), 397-9748.

Glama-Rama. "Berlin London Paris Pigeon Forge": New work by Jim Winters. Through July 30. 417 South Van Ness (at 15th St.), 861-4526,

Gregory Lind Gallery. "Traumhaus": "ArchiSculpture" by Randy Dixon. Through Aug. 13. "It Takes Ice to Cut Ice": Gouache paintings by Will Yackulic. Through Aug. 13. 49 Geary (at Kearny), Fifth Fl., 296-9661,

Hackett-Freedman Gallery. "Select Modern Works": Group show. Through July 30. "Still Lifes and Narratives": New paintings by Richard Ryan. Through July 30. 250 Sutter (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 362-7152,

Hang Annex. "Up & Coming": Mixed media exhibit featuring the work of emerging artists. Through Aug. 1. "Group Exhibition": Drawings, monoprints, and paintings on paper. Through July 31. 567 Sutter (at Mason), 544-0610.

Hang Gallery. "Jenny E. Balisle": New paintings. Opening reception is July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. Through July 31. 556 Sutter (at Mason), 434-4264,

Hosfelt Gallery. "Catherine McCarthy": New paintings. Through July 30. "Susan Marie Dopp": New work on mulberry paper. Through July 30. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 495-5454.

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, No. 300 (at New Montgomery),

Jack Hanley Gallery. "Vicious": Group show of video art curated by Liz Mulholland featuring work by Virginia Kleker, Alex McQuilkin, Tracey Moffat, and Laurel Nakadate. Through Aug. 6. 395 Valencia (at 15th St.), 522-1623.

John Pence Gallery. "Introductions 2003": New drawings and oil paintings by Nicholas Raynolds. Through July 30. 750 Post (at Jones), 441-1138.

The Lab. "Bayennale Bay Area International Art Exhibition": Lowell Darling's answer to the Berlin and New York biennials brings together a wide range of local and international artists in different venues in San Francisco and the East Bay. Through Aug. 7. 510-635-6930. 2948 16th St. (at Capp), 864-8855.

Lucky Juju Pinball/Art Gallery. "Cars and Characters": New photographic work by Scott Schroeder. Through Aug. 3. 713 Santa Clara (at Webster), Alameda, 510-205-9793,

Madrone Lounge. "Tesseract": The seven female artists in the esoterically titled exhibition "Tesseract" explore childhood fantasy's creepy uncharted terrain (with detours through mythology, bondage, and fashion). Highlights include the eerie, diaphanous photography of Kimberly Verde and Summer-Jane Bell's whimsical mixed media sculptures. Through Aug. 31. free. 500 Divisadero (at Fell), 241-0202,

Mechanics' Institute Library. "Flowers & English Gardens": Photography by Margaretta K. Mitchell. Through Oct. 1. 57 Post (at Market), 393-0101,

Meridian Gallery. "Stitches and Other Connections": Sewn and knittted work by Susan Field. Through Aug. 13. 545 Sutter (at Powell), 398-7229.

Micaela Gallery. "Pamina Traylor": Exhibition of sculpture; also featuring work by other artists. Through July 31. 333 Hayes (at Franklin), 551-8118,

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. "Imagine the Mission": Group show of both professional and community images of the Mission District over the past 35 years, presented as a celebration of local newspaper El Tecolote. Through Aug. 22. 2868 Mission (at 25th St.), 821-1155,

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.

Multiple locations. "Who Is an Outsider?": Work by four artists with disabilities, displayed in BART trains and stations. Through July 31. Multiple addresses within San Francisco.

New Langton Arts. "Psyche Wall": New installation art by Jacob Hartman. Through Aug. 6. "Django Chapel": New installation art by Jarrett Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough. Through Aug. 6. 1246 Folsom (at Eighth St.), 626-5416,

Newmark Gallery. "Apparent Opposites": Contemporary abstract paintings by Ilan Laks, Theo den Boon, and Hans Vanhorck. Through July 30. 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. $10-$17. 1111 California (at Taylor), 776-4702.

Paul Thiebaud Gallery. "Paul Stempens": Paintings from the artists' estate. Through Aug. 20. 718 Columbus (at Filbert), 434-3055.

Polanco Gallery. "Sins & Demons": Recent prints by Artemio Rodriguez. Through Aug. 7. 393 Hayes (at Gough), 252-5753,

Presidio Officers' Club. "From Above: A Robert Cameron Retrospective; A Life's Work in Aerial Photography": Exhibition of large-format photography. Through July 31. 50 Moraga (at Arguello), 561-5500,

Red Ink Studios. Open Portfolio Night: Artists are welcome to sign up a week in advance of this first come, first served event. Last Thursday of every month. 1035 Market (at Sixth St.), 596-4810,

Richmond Art Center. Add Your Voice to "Richmond Stories": Contribute to this ongoing art and oral history project by e-mailing answers to the following questions to How did you or your family come to Richmond in the first place? What are your happiest memories here? What have you liked most about your community? What historic events stand out most in your memory and your family stories? What stories seem to capture Richmond's essence? What issues and challenges have you faced here? What are your dreams for Richmond's next 100 years? Daily. 22540 Barrett (Civic Center Plaza), Richmond, 510-620-6772.

Robert Koch Gallery. "Homeland, USA": Photography by Elliott Erwitt. Through Aug. 27. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 421-0122.

San Francisco Art Institute. "Chris Ballantyne & Scott Williams": Two-person exhibit of works on paper. Through July 30. 800 Chestnut (at Jones), 771-7020,

San Francisco Center for the Book. "Swiss Impressions: Romano Hänni and the Art of Metal Type": Letterpress work by the Basel-based designer. Through Aug. 5. 300 De Haro (at 16th St.), 565-0545,

SomArts Cultural Center. "Braided Lives": Group show in which visual artists and spoken-wordsmiths collaborate. Through July 28. 934 Brannan (at Eighth St.), 863-1414,

Steel Gallery. "Summer Reading II": Group exhibition featuring work by Sofia Harrison, Wendy Robushi, and Judith Williams. Through July 30. 3524 Sacramento (at Laurel), 885-1655,

Tart Contemporary. "Transformations: Stephen Sutcliffe": New video work based on the poetry of Thomas Hardy. Through Aug. 6. 47 Lusk (at Townsend), 606-3158,

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

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.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. "Bay Area Now": A group show of challenging and experimental work by local artists. Through Nov. 6. "Bay Area Now 4: The Film/Video Program": Commissioned new work by Sam Green, Ellen Bruno, Bill Daniel, and Caveh Zahedi. Through Sept. 25, 3 p.m. Free-$6. 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787,

Museums Asian Art Museum. "Tibet: Treasures From the Roof of the World": More than 200 Buddhist art pieces, including sculptures, paintings, and jewelry used by the Dalai Lamas and their courts. Through Sept. 11. Free with museum admission. "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. "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 with museum admission. 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. 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. 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. "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 with museum admission. 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. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500,

Bay Area Discovery Museum. "Think Tank": Subtitled "an enigmatic exhibition," the fun features interactive hands-on exhibits such as brain games, mind teasers, and puzzles. Through Sept. 15. Free-$8.50. 339-3900. 557 McReynolds (at Murray), Sausalito, 339-3944,

Berkeley Art Museum. 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 Historical Society Museum. "Eadweard Muybridge: San Francisco in Panorama": The photographer famous for motion studies also made panoramic images; here, see a room-sized picture of the city circa 1877. Through Oct. 8. free-$3. 678 Mission (at Third St.), 357-1848.

Cartoon Art Museum. "Garfield: Meow and Then": A look back at 27 years' worth of comics about the fat, lazy, cynical orange cat. Through Sept. 25. Free-$6. "Play Ball": Over 40 baseball cartoons from 1945-1965 by legendary cartoonist Willard Mullin. Through Oct. 30. 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. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666,

Chabot Space & Science Center. "One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey": Take a simulated moonwalk, 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. "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. "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. 10000 Skyline (at Joaquin Miller, in Joaquin Miller Park), Oakland, 510-336-7300.

Contemporary Jewish Museum. "Scents of Purpose": The museum showcases more than 90 artists' interpretations on the spice box, an item that's used in the havdalah, a Sabbath prayer service. Through Sept. 5. Free-$5. 344-8800. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 591-8800,

Exploratorium. "Sculptural Information": Sculptural works spotlighting the icons of the information age -- books, print, X-rays, and typewriters. Through Sept. 11. Free with museum admission. "The Nobel Prize: 100 Years of Creativity": The multimedia exhibit "The Nobel Prize: 100 Years of Creativity" offers a historic overview of the prize and the personal stories of 50 Laureates, including artifacts such as Alexander Fleming's penicillin petri dish, Ernest Hemingway's library ticket, and Linus Pauling's paper cutouts of molecules. Through Oct. 2. free-$12. "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,

Judah L. Magnes Museum. "Shtetl": Multimedia exhibit by Naomie Kremer. Through July 31. 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. "Artwear: Fashion and Anti-Fashion": A retrospective of wearable art spanning 35 years and more than 100 pieces. The show begins its study with crocheted garments worn by 1960s fashionistas and moves through the decades to modern-day haute couture. Through Oct. 30. $2-$12. 750-3614. "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. "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. 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.

Mills College Art Museum. "Improving the Bow Tie": The art of African-American quiltmakers based on the popular bow-tie pattern. Through Aug. 7. free. "Second to the Gods": Three exhibitions of African art: "Royal Regalia of the Yoruba," "The Seat of Power," and "Fertility." Through Aug. 7. Free. "Oakland Picture Lady: Traci Bartlow": Bartlow creates an installation with photographs of the 98th Avenue area of East Oakland. Through Aug. 7. 5000 MacArthur (at Buell), Oakland, 510-430-2164,

Museum of Craft & Folk Art. "Convergence: Crossing the Divide": An exhibition of studio furniture by artists from Tasmania and America. Through Sept. 25. Fort Mason, Bldg. A (Marina & Buchanan), 775-0991.

Oakland Museum of California. "Sculpture by Bruce Beasley: A 45-Year Retrospective": Work by Bay Area abstract sculptor. Through July 31. 1000 Oak (at 10th St.), Oakland, 510-238-2200,

Oakland Museum of California Sculpture Court. "The Chess Set": A mythologically inspired exhibition by sculptor Jane Grimm. Through Aug. 10. 1111 Broadway (at 11th St.), Oakland, 510-238-2200.

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. "Endless Energy: Power for a Small Planet": An interactive exhibition exploring renewable energy options. Through Oct. 22. "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. "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 Maritime National Historical Park. "Sparks, Waves, & Wizards: Communication at Sea": The permanent exhibit presents artifacts exploring the means of maritime communications. Daily. Free-$6. Fort Mason Building E (Marina & Buchanan), 561-7000.

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 and programs. Daily. "Maestro!: Photographic Portraits by Tom Zimberoff": The artist captures a generation of national and international conductors in his portraits. Daily. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 255-4800,

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. "Architecture & Design Permanent Collection": An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. 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. "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. "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. "2x4/design series 3": Works from the New Yorkbased graphic design firm 2x4 for clientele including Prada, the Brooklyn Museum, KnollTextiles, Princeton School of Architecture, and Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra. Through Sept. 25. "Taking Place": Photographs from the Prentice and Paul Sack Collection. Through Sept. 6. "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 Richard Tuttle": More than 300 works comprise this retrospective exhibit. Through Oct. 16. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000,

Zeum. "Toyz": Hands-on activities teach kids about the latest in tech toys. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$7. 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 777-2800.

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