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.

"Beyond Plastic." To say something is "plastic" usually means it's fake, but this group show turns fake into a virtue. In almost all of the sculptures and wall pieces, plastic and its cousins (vinyl, latex, nylon, etc.) masquerade as other materials, with mixed results. Among the standouts are Julia Latané's vinyl sculptures of lichen and fungus, whose Dr. Seussian shapes and colors cleverly exploit the contradiction between natural forms and man-made materials. Julie Allen's floppy cakes made from assorted balloons are funny and sad, like a deflated birthday party. And Robert Strati's simple wall pieces (each identically titled Fold) are enigmatic and unexpectedly charming. Constructed of clear packing tape stretched in strips over a curving wire form that literally folds over on itself, the works have a rough, handmade quality that evokes line drawing and belies the sterility of their materials. Less impressive are works that rely too heavily on the seductiveness of plastic itself. Benicia Gantner's pretty vinyl cutouts of trees, flowers, and snowflakes are mounted on lushly colored plexiglass, but they're much too pristine; they never transcend the loveliness of their surfaces. Similarly, Connie Harris' Sugar-- cubes of colored glitter encased in square, clear plastic covers -- comprises enticing objects but feels a little too prefab, like something you might find on sale in the home décor section at Target. Sometimes, it seems, plastic is still just plastic. Through Sept. 10 at Limn Gallery, 292 Townsend (at Fourth Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 977-1300 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed Aug. 31.

"New Work: Edgar Arceneaux." Summertime once afforded sun worshippers the opportunity to laze around on white, sandy beaches or swim out in cool, crystal waters -- that is, until they discovered how damaging those darn UV rays were to their skin. Good thing for Los Angeles-based artist Edgar Arceneaux, whose recent exhibit "Borrowed Sun" brought the planetary system's central star indoors, where it could be appreciated from a safer vantage point. Inspired by his passion for language and science and his interest in creating startling connections between words, objects, places, and people, Arceneaux's room-size installation utilizes graphite drawings on vellum, a large-scale concrete sculpture, slides, and film to conjure cosmically inspired free-jazz musician Sun Ra, minimalist artist Sol LeWitt (whose first name means "sun" in Spanish), and 17th-century astronomer Galileo, who proved that the Earth revolves around the sun. Featuring selections from "Borrowed Sun" such as Broken Sol, The Immeasurable Equation, and Cycle a Single Moment, "New Work" runs 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 (Joshua Rotter) Reviewed Aug. 10.

"Power Ties." Photographer Luis Delgado cleverly investigates the physiognomy of leadership in this larger-than-life installation. Like clones of Mount Rushmore, statues of past presidents, captured in giant photographs, gaze impassively from opposite sides of the gallery. Each figure is composed of two images, a face and a bust, and the two halves are mismatched, exquisite-corpse style, so that no portrait appears in its original entirety. Instead, each image is a combination, not only of two personalities, but of two time periods and styles of dress. So a face that looks like Gerald Ford (but could be William McKinley? I admit, I don't know all my presidents by sight) appears atop a cravat more befitting John Adams. These small dissonances bring out similarities among the faces -- Delgado has wisely omitted the most recognizable mugs like Lincoln and Washington -- resulting in an installation that overwhelms and surprises us with sameness. All the craggy, presidential visages start to look alike. The overall effect is a bit like a fun-house hall of mirrors, in which every image is grotesquely distorted, yet familiar. As if in recognition of this effect, Delgado has placed a mirror in an elaborate gilt frame dead center between the rows of presidents so you can add yourself to the pantheon. Perhaps appearing "presidential" is more about the frame than the man. Through Sept. 10 at SF Camerawork, 1246 Folsom (between Eighth and Ninth streets), S.F. Admission is free; call 863-1001 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed Aug. 31.

"Recent Paintings: Ada Sadler." In Ada Sadler's "Bathtubbie" series, she photographed and then painted, in exquisite detail, small, square portraits of simple tub toys (duckies and froggies) perched on the lips of sinks. It was whimsical, but perhaps too whimsical? Problem solved in "Recent Paintings," her current solo show, in which she photographs and then paints, in exquisite detail, small, square portraits of ... chairs. And not even interesting chairs, like an electric or a Barcelona, but the ordinary metal and plastic jobs found in university hallways. UC Davis Chair #6 is, in fact, a chair from UC Davis, much like what you would sit on outside a professor's office. Ditto for UC Davis Chair #5 and UCLA Chair #2. But it doesn't matter what Sadler paints. The shafts of sunlight piercing the darkened rooms, the drifting shadows, the unique angles -- it is all stunning, nearly photorealistic, as if you were looming over said chairs, contemplating a moment of repose. Through Oct. 1 at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post (at Grant), Second Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 956-3560 or visit (Michael Leaverton) Reviewed Aug. 31.

Also Showing


111 Minna Gallery. "Fecal Face Dot Com 5 1/2 Year Anniversary Show": The art Web site celebrates with a show featuring work from more than 35 site regulars. Opening reception is Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. Sept. 1-30. 111 Minna (at Second St.), 974-1719,

33 Grand. "Marking Traces": Group show including the work of Joe Enos, Dustin Fosnot, Josh Keyes, Andrew Mills, Joey Piziali, Brad Silverstein, Molly Springfield, Robin Ward, Melissa Vandenberg, and Jeong-Im Yi. Through Sept. 4. 33 Grand (at Broadway), Oakland, 510-866-9501,

Amaru Gallery. "Ink": Cartoon art by Andrice Arp, Fredo, Renee French, Justin Hall, Lark Pien, and Jesse Reklaw. Curated by Justin Hall. Through Sept. 17. 510 Valencia (at 16th St.), 552-3787,

Andrea Schwartz Gallery. "Recent Paintings": New work by Griff Williams. Opening reception is Aug. 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 30. 525 Second St. (at South Park), 496-2090,

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

ARTworkSF. "One Night Stand": A single evening of art celebrating sexuality. Wed., Aug. 31, 5 p.m. $5-$10. 69 Green (at Front), 673-3080,

California Modern Gallery. "One Year Anniversary Exhibit": Group show. Through Sept. 30. 1035 Market (at Sixth St.), 716-8661.

City Hall. "Heroes All": Tom Graves' photographs of WWII vets. Opening reception is Aug. 31 at 5:30 p.m. Through Oct. 28. "Mohammad Hourian": Paintings. Through Sept. 19. "Insights 2005": New work by legally blind artists including Lois Ann Barnett, Ida Berkowitz, Sujit Kumar Bhattacharjee, James Cadiz, Martha B. Cowden, Prosper Davies, Elizabeth Dilbeck, Pete Eckert, John Ednoff, Rosemarie Fortney, Carmelo C. Gannello, Jack Gelman, Bobbie Gray, Bruce P. Hall, Pedro Hidalgo, Bobby Hightower, Tara Arlene Innmon, Lacee King, Laura Landry, Annie Leist, Emilio Manzanares, Mari S. Newman, Pearl Palmer, Michael Richard, Barbara Romain, Ken Rossi, Keith Rosson, Velma Stiers, Takashi Tanemori, John Theiss, Alison Ulman, Elva Vergari, and Kurt Weston. Reception is Aug. 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through Oct. 28. 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl. (at Fulton), 554-5184.

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

Gallery 555. Bean Finneran: The Oakland Museum of California presents "Up/Down/Around." Through Nov. 11. free. 555 City Center (near 12th St. and Clay), Oakland, 510-238-2200.

Gallery Paule Anglim. Louise Bourgeois: Drawings, hand-colored prints, and artist's books. Sept. 1-Oct. 15. free. 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.

Giant Robot. "Some Total": Paintings produced collaboratively by Craig Dransfield, Maya Hayuk, and Brian Holderman. Opening reception is Sept. 3 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Sept. 3-Oct. 3. 622 Shrader (at Haight), 876-4773,

Glama-Rama. Katie Bush: Featuring work from "More! More! More!" Through Sept. 24. free. 417 South Van Ness (at 15th St.), 861-4526,

Hang Annex. "Laugh Out Loud": Group show featuring the work of David Fullarton, Josh Keyes, David Lippenberger, Mark Soderstrom, and DAVe Warnke. Opening reception is Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. Sept. 1-30. 567 Sutter (at Mason), 544-0610.

Hang Gallery. "City or Nature: Reverence and Esteem": New paintings by Brian Ida. Opening reception is Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. Sept. 1-30. 556 Sutter (at Mason), 434-4264,

In Color 2. "Flags": Photography by Joe Brook, the editor of Slap magazine. Through Oct. 28. 2475 Third St. (at 22nd St.), 861-3997,

Inferno Gallery. "Being Raised Nancy": New work by Lorely Bunoan and Mimi Vitteta. Through Sept. 13. 4401 San Leandro (at High), Oakland, 510-435-4843,

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),

Istituto Italiano di Cultura. "Senso": Photographs by Paul Ronald. Through Aug. 31. 425 Washington (at Battery), 788-7142,

Jack Hanley Gallery. "Dear New Girl or Whatever Your Name Is": Group show of work inspired by confiscated student notes. Through Sept. 3. 395 Valencia (at 15th St.), 522-1623.

The Lee Gallery. "The Trees of Angkor": Photographs of Cambodia by Eric Alan Pritchard. Through Sept. 5. 577 Geary (at Jones), 674-9500.

Madrone Lounge. "Tesseract": The seven women 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,

Michelle O'Connor Gallery. "100 Ft. Whale": New Work by Sarah Applebaum, Alex Clausen, Sherry Koyama, Julia Petho, and Allen Stickel. Opening reception is Sept. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 2-24. 2111 Mission (at 17th St.), 314-8396.

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.

National Product. "Bad Taste": Andrew DeWitt's tableware. Aug. 31-Sept. 17. 1845 Market (at Guerrero), 255-1920.

Newmark Gallery. "San Francisco Cityscapes": Group show of paintings. Through Oct. 1. 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.

Oakland Art Gallery. "Photoo: The Subvention and Subversion of Photography": New work by Lisa Blatt, John Collins, Francesca Pastine, Roy Tomlinson, Pamela Wilson, Nina Zurier. Co-curated by Pamela Wilson and Nina Zurier. Through Sept. 24. 199 Kahn's Alley (at 14th St.), Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, 510-637-0395,

One Taste. "Durwood Zedd: Nudes": New photographs. Through Sept. 12. 1074 Folsom (at Seventh St.), 503-1100,

Paul Thiebaud Gallery. "Twenty-Five Treasures": Group show. Opening reception is Sept. 6 at 5:30pm. Sept. 6-Oct. 29. free. 718 Columbus (at Filbert), 434-3055.

Pigman Gallery. "Paper! Awesome!": The show features more than 450 2-D works on sheets of paper from 150 artists around the country, all strung together in a quilt. Through Aug. 31. free. 72 Tehama (at Fifth St.), 546-7441,

Polarity Post Production. "Source and Inspiration": Group show featuring the work of AnneKarin Glass, Deborah Tash, Diane Holland, Heather Hanan, Holly Calica, Jamie Erfurdt, Jennifer Mack, John Wilson, Judith Miller, Maurice Edelstein, Mike Kendall, Muffin Hyche, Lisette Lugo, Pat Koenigsberg, Pauline Crowther Scott, Sherri Cavan, Sylvia Buettner, and Tom Hyman. Through Oct. 15. 69 Green (at Front), 421-6622.

Purple Skunk Boardshop. "Skate OR Die Skateboard Show": Skateboard art by Andrew Pommier, Andy Jenkins, Andy Mueller, Brian Barneclo, Greg Galinksy, Joe Kral, N8 Van Dyke, Ferris Plock, Porous Walker, Sirron Norris, and others. Through Sept. 2. 5820 Geary (at 22nd Ave.), 668-7905.

Red Ink Studios. "Open Portfolio Nights Take Two": Monthly portfolio night from 7 to 10 p.m. Fourth Wednesday of every month. $5. "The Ultimate Altered Barbie Show": A multimedia exhibit of more than 60 artists' interpretations of the Mattel icon. Through Aug. 31. free. 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.

San Francisco Center for the Book. "Multiplicity for Millions": The art and history of the rubber stamp. Through Oct. 28. free. 300 De Haro (at 16th St.), 565-0545,

Sargent Claude Johnson Gallery. "And They Were Fruitful: A Dedication to the African Diaspora.": One-woman show by sculptor Nena St. Louis, as part of the AfroSolo Arts Festival. Through Sept. 17. 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-0623.

Sculpturesite Gallery. "Vernissage": Features selections by more than 20 artists, including large-scale pieces by Bruce Beasley, Jeffery Laudenslager, and Clement Meadmore. Through Oct. 8. free. 201 Third Street, Suite 102 (at Howard), 495-6400,

SF Black and White Gallery. "Fifth Anniversary Limited Edition Prints": Twenty-five popular images of San Francisco. Through Oct. 31. 619 Post (at Taylor), 929-9424,

SF Camerawork at New Langton Arts. "Solos": Work by Tracey Snelling, Luis Delgado, and Cynthia Greig. Through Sept. 10. free. 1246 Folsom (at Eighth St.), 863-1001,

Steel Gallery. "Fine Things": New work by Steven Skollar, Gordon Smedt, and Kazaan Viveiros. Through Sept. 24. 3524 Sacramento (at Laurel), 885-1655,

Steven Wolf Fine Arts. "Pop Spelled Backwards Is Pop": Work by artists such as John Clem Clarke, Bob Stanley, and Archigram. Through Sept. 24. Free. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 263-3677.

Traywick Contemporary. "Photo-Based": Group show by eight artists. Sept. 1-Dec. 1. free. 895 Colusa (at Solano), Berkeley, 510-527-1214,

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

War Memorial and Performing Arts Center's Green Room. "Show Business: Irving Berlin's Broadway: Visual exhibition of the songwriter's work. Through Dec. 17. free. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 674-4764.

Warehouse 1310. "Come Clean": New work by Ye Rin Mok, Txu Txo Perez, Ramses, and others. Through Sept. 4. 1310 Potrero Ave. (at 25th St.),

Weinstein Gallery/Geary Street. "Museum Tour 2005": Work by Leonor Fini. Through Sept. 12. "Leonor Fini": Select works by one of the few women associated with the surrealist movement. Through Sept. 12. 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. Film Readings by Margaret Tedesco: The artist narrates feature-length movies before a live audience. Thursdays, 5:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Continues through Sept. 25. 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. Autumn Moon Festival: Enjoy the traditions of the harvest festival. Tue., Sept. 6, 11 a.m. Free with museum admission. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500, Dr. Patricia Berger: Lecture on Tibetan art. Thu., Sept. 1, 6:30 p.m. Free with museum admission. Mandalas: A Movement Workshop: Dance with the Murray Spalding dance company. Sun., Sept. 4, 2 p.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. 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. "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. "Sculptural Information": Sculptural works spotlighting the icons of the information age -- books, print, X-rays, and typewriters. Through Sept. 11. 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. "The Danube Exodus": Show by Peter Forgacs. Artist talk on Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Through Dec. 31. "Houses and Housing": Group show on portability in Jewish art. Through May 15, 2006. "Case Study: Emanu-El Sisterhood": Group show reflecting the history of changing social roles of California women in the 20th century. Through Feb. 5, 2006. Free. 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.

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.

Pacific Heritage Museum. "Rustic Splendors": Ceramics from China. Through March 25, 2006. free. 608 Commercial (at Montgomery), 399-1124.

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. "The Art of Richard Tuttle": More than 300 works comprise this retrospective exhibit. Through Oct. 16. "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. "Taking Place": Photographs from the Prentice and Paul Sack Collection. Through Sept. 6. "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. "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. Free-$12.50. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000,

USF Lone Mountain Campus. Terese Tse Bartholomew: A curator at the Asain Art Museum talks about the "Tibetan Treasures" exhibition. Tue., Sept. 6, 5:45 p.m. free. 2800 Turk (at Masonic), 422-6166.

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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