Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

"Rachel Weeks." Rachel Weeks is a big girl. Her photographic self-portraits feature her nude, zaftig body in poses by turns classical, coy, and self-conscious, at times hardly distinguishable from the Victorian erotica they mimic. Weeks uses a vintage photographic process to make her pictures look tarnished and milky, with aged, wavy edges. Reclining on a bed, kneeling with her back to us on a sofa, or seated, draped in fabric, her body is presented for our delectation. The gallery's notes state that by virtue of being self-portraits, "the inclination to see women as victims and the object of the male gaze is challenged." While they might make us reevaluate our stick-figure notions of beauty and sexiness, the photos don't go far enough to make us uncomfortable as voyeurs. If anything, their small size (4 by 5 inches) and antique processing make looking at them feel intimate and private, rather than exposed. They'd make a stronger statement without the Victorian veneer, which softens the challenge that Weeks' Rubenesque body poses to standard notions of desirability. Still, their matter-of-fact quality wavers between porn and fine art and something else -- something more personal, like looking at oneself in the mirror. Through Feb. 11 at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, 49 Geary (at Market), Third Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 433-6879 or visit (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed Jan. 25.

1751 Social Club. "Art Soiree and Open Mic Night": A new exhibit each month; meet the artists and enjoy an open mic and drink specials. Fourth Monday of every month, 5 p.m. 1751 Fulton (at Masonic), 441-1751,

33 Grand. "Virtual Intervention": New work by David Hamill and Shawn Smith. Through Jan. 29. 33 Grand (at Broadway), Oakland, 510-866-9501,

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.

Precita Eyes Mural Center. "Adult Free-Play Art Time": Ongoing drop-in workshop with instructor Kristin Olsen; no experience necessary and no one turned away for lack of funds. Wednesdays, 7 p.m. $12. 348 Precita, 285-2287.

AfterModern. "Out of Doors": Through Jan. 28. 445 Bryant (at Second St.), 512-7678,

The Ames Gallery. "Jim Bauer: Whimsical Illuminated Sculpture": New work made from recycled kitchenware. Through Feb. 18. 2661 Cedar (at La Loma), Berkeley, 510-845-4949,

Ampersand International. "Spring": New drawings and installation work by Megan Wilson. Through Feb. 17. "Wonderland": New mixed-media work by Albert Reyes. Through Feb. 17. 1001 Tennessee (at 20th St.), 285-0170,

Arspace Gallery. "The Landscape of Pleasure": Recent work by Julia Petho. Closing reception is Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. "The Landscape of Pleasure": New paintings by Julia Petho. Through Jan. 29. 1286 Folsom (at Ninth St.),

Aspect Gallery. "A Rare Look at San Francisco: Interpretations Through Current Photographic Media": Group show of new work. Through Feb. 16. 731 Polk (at Willow), 606-7170,

Baxter Chang Patri Fine Art. "The Contemporary Landscape": Group show featuring work by Lisa Blatt, Matthias Geiger, Bill Jacobson, Stephen Joseph, Kim Keever, Richard Lohmann, Chris McCaw, and Denny Moers. Through Feb. 2. Hotel Nikko 222 Mason (at O'Farrell), 397-2000.

Brian Gross Fine Art. "Andrea Way": New drawings. Through Jan. 28. "Ricochet: New Paintings": Recent work by Amy Trachtenberg. Through March 31. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 788-1050.

California Academy of Sciences. "Hotspot: California on the Edge": Through Aug. 31. 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145,

Southern Exposure. Call For Proposals: SoEx Offsite: The gallery is moving outdoors temporarily while its building is retrofitted; submit proposals for an outdoor show. Application forms are available on the Southern Exposure Web site. Through Feb. 28. 401 Alabama (at 17th St.), 863-2141,

City Art Gallery. "Affordable Art": Exhibit of art priced at $150 or less. Through Jan. 29. 828 Valencia (at 19th St.), 970-9900,

City Hall. "Saint Francis Memorial Hospital: 100 Years of Caring for San Francisco": Photographs, artifacts and memorabilia from the hospital, collected over the past 100 years and curated by Gladys Hansen. Through March 31. 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Pl. (at Fulton), 554-5184.

Creativity Explored. "Drawing the Line": Exhibition of works in charcoal, pencil and graphite by artists with developmental disabilities. Through March 2. 3245 16th St. (at Dolores), 863-2108,

Gallery 16. "13 Big Western Landscapes": Photography by Rudy VanderLans. Through Feb. 17. 1616 16th St. (at Rhode Island), 626-7495.

Hackett-Freedman Gallery. "The Seven Laughters of God": Through Feb. 25. 250 Sutter (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 362-7152,

Heather Marx Gallery. "Histories": Through Jan. 28. 77 Geary (at Grant) (Second Fl.), 627-9111,

Jack Hanley Gallery. "Saskia Leek: Points of Vanishing": New paintings. Through Jan. 28. 395 Valencia (at 15th St.), 522-1623.

The Lab. "Fabulandia: Fauna": New work by Donelle Estey, Mandy Greer, Tim Jag, Daniel Ross, and Tara Tucker. Curated by Lauren Davies. Through Feb. 11. 2948 16th St. (at Capp), 864-8855.

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