When we picture utopia, our version involves baskets of kittens, free-flowing rivers of hot fudge, and endless time to squander on playing Angry Birds. But were not the first to ponder this. The idea of utopia has its roots in the writings of Plato, who proposed a system to end hunger and poverty by installing exceedingly well-educated philosopher-kings who would rule with the best interests of all people at heart. You can guess how well that went over. Since then, many groups have tried to forge their own perfect societies, but as history demonstrates time and again, no utopia stays utopian for long. In the worst cases a corrupt or unsympathetic leader ends up making things worse for all involved. These potentially problematic ideas of utopia and its opposite, dystopia, are explored in the new group show of Bay Area artists Perfect Place/No Place: Re-Imagining Utopia. In Yulia Pinkusevichs epically scaled drawing, Global Utopia of Futures Past, forbiddingly anonymous tower blocks rise against an ominous landscape that dissolves into chaos. Reenie Charriere takes a lighter tack, using her cascadelike sculpture built from found plastic and other materials to query the original purposes of the detritus that ends up in the environment. On opening night, explore Chris Treggiaris Mobile Arts Platform, a kind of moveable gallery and activity space, or take in spoken word by Myron Michael Hardy and live painting by Maja Ruznic. Feel the creative energy, and envision your own personal utopia.
The opening for "Perfect Place/No Place: Re-Imagining Utopia" starts at 7 p.m.
July 9-24, 2011