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As Kuzmich puts it, he's "painting all 4.3 million characters of the King James Bible," including "consonants, vowels, spaces, symbols and numbers," as dots onto 66 plastic panels. Framed this way, the Bible is morphed into an abstract belief system, to be studied like any other system. Kuzmich has also applied his critical dot-art to the history of capitalism. He says that his "Logos" project doesn't try to explicitly blame or praise religion. Still, the San Francisco resident proclaims, "I always had many doubts.... I'm very much interested in delusion and the mechanics of mass delusion, and I'm very interested in how as human beings we can be ensnared by the very system and structure that we create."
jonkuzmich.com

The Photographer Who Paints Herself:
Lisa Alonzo
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White Russian by Lisa Alonzo

The swirls, curves, and patchwork of dots that comprise Lisa Alonzo's The Amuse Bouche 2.0 turn Alonzo's body into an illuminating road map of art history. Alonzo's arms, calves, and thighs — intensely speckled with burgundies, reds, and magentas — harken back to the pointillism of Georges Seurat. Her side is replete with sharp spirals that would easily fit into the psychedelic poster art of the 1960s. And the title? That's straight from the 21st century, a nod to the artistic ethos that says you can borrow from across disciplines — in this case food and technology — to create your own new language. It's art as a melting pot of ideas. It's art that comments on the artist and society at large. And it's art whose composition — it started as a photographic self-portrait, then was manipulated by photo software, then was painted with acrylic — prompts you to ask, "Who else is doing work like this?"

The Amuse Bouche 2.0 isn't a one-off. All of Alonzo's pieces from "The Narcissist" series, which include The Amuse Bouche 2.0, incorporate that same fresh synthesis, with Alonzo in different poses, covered in different states of paint. To get the specks just right, she squeezes the acrylic with a pastry tip, so that the surface resembles delectable cake frosting. In images that include her face, Alonzo avoids smiling. There's nothing "come hither" or effervescent in her manner, which disconnects these images from the kind of smiley "Facebook Narcissism" that Alonzo is partly digging at. "I'm poking fun at the number of people who are flaunting what's going on in their lives and turning a blind eye to what else is going on in the world," says Alonzo, 27, who graduated with a BFA in painting from San Francisco's Academy of Art University in 2008 and now lives in Alameda. "It's certainly different from 10 years ago."
www.lisaalonzoart.com


The Eclectic Singer:
Meklit Hadero
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Meklit Hadero

It's not just the voice, which is both soothing and rapturous. It's not just the guitar-playing, which can veer from folksy to swingy to everything in between. It's also the sentiment and the lyrics that pour out of Meklit Hadero's songs — words that narrate gorgeously transportive thoughts like this from her tune "Walk Up": "And you suddenly think of the kings/ And the poets in the past/ And how they must have felt just like this/ On a day like this." "Walk Up" comes from her 2010 release, On a Day Like This ..., an album that ascended many critics' music lists, including those at NPR and the Huffington Post.

Hearing it for the first time, some people will swear they hear echoes of Joni Mitchell in Hadero's voice. Others will swear they hear the vocal stylings of Beth Orton. And still others will swear they hear the legacy of Nina Simone. All these references bear some truth, as Hadero's influences include jazz, soul, hip-hop, art-rock, folk, and music from her native Ethiopia. "Multiplicity is at the core of everything you hear," says the 31-year-old Hadero. "When you look at anyone's iPod and iTunes, it's not just the one era that's crossing. We're not the generation that's listening to one thing. We shouldn't be the generation that makes one thing."

Hadero came to San Francisco by way of New York, Iowa, and Florida (where she was raised); New Haven, Conn. (where she attended Yale); and Ethiopia (where she was born). The last three years have been dizzying for her. In 2009, Hadero was named a TED Global Fellow and an artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum. Last year, she was named an artist-in-residence at New York University and a TED Senior Fellow for 2012. Touring is now a regular part of her life, along with releasing more albums. Her next one — a collaboration with other Ethiopian-American artists — is scheduled for later this year, and this one is much more groove-oriented, showing yet another side of her musical abilities.
www.meklithadero.com


The Outdoor Dance Troupe:
detour dance
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detour dance’s Pedestrian Crossing

Some people stare in disbelief. Whether it's the beginning of the dance, the middle, or the end, they just keep staring, amazed that two young dancers — Eric Garcia and Kat Cole — are performing on the streets of San Francisco. Cole says staring is as great a reaction as applause. "People usually just stop and watch and wonder what the heck is going on," she says. "That's the reaction you want to elicit."

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2 comments
gwynno1
gwynno1

It is hard to compare these artists, given the difference in their media. The most exciting, as far as I can tell from these photos, are performancers Doho Lee, the dancers, one of which is a wheelchair and the singer/guitarist Hadero. But I am influenced by the beauty of the photographs: that of those two dancers - Wow!, and the photo and description of the performance of Doho Lee is great. And the singer/guitarist Hadero looks like she is terrific.

Elaine Starkman
Elaine Starkman

Grand. Despite all the difficulties of our time, here is guy who has done somethingwith himself. Thanks for running this. Elaine

 
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