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Friday, July 24, 2015

NBD: Oakland Artist Swampy's Exhibit Shows the Romance of Dropping Out

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Vinnie Well - SWAMPY
  • Swampy
  • Vinnie Well

Less than a year-and-a-half after many longtime galleries were expelled from 77 Geary Street, it’s good to know that new ones are still popping back up. Chandran Gallery, which opened in 2013 to exhibit contemporary artists at all career levels, will find its way into a permanent space near Union Square this September.

We Ride for Free - SWAMPY
  • Swampy
  • We Ride for Free

But before that, Chandran is staging a solo show and book release by Swampy, a mysterious Oakland graffiti artist with a penchant for long-term disappearances and who operates anonymously. Having developed a cult following after his sold-out 2011 debut at FIFTY24SF, he has re-emerged four years later with NBD, a switch from his earlier street art into photographic work about life off the grid.

Estupido Policia - SWAMPY
  • Swampy
  • Estupido Policia

The images in NBD, of transients riding the rails, hooded figures staring off the stern of a rusting ship at sea, punks with blue mohawks and anti-authoritarian jackets, and people grabbing some z’s in uncomfortable transit. America’s fortunes may have largely rebounded from the dark days of 2008, but millions of Americans have dropped out of the labor force and into a gray economy, with one foot on solid ground and another dangling over a cliff. Is Swampy’s vision of outsiders liberating, an incredible freedom from credit scores, password resets, and Obamacare tax penalties? Or does it show utter desperation, a hardscrabble existence as a stowaway on a train full of fracked gas that could derail in a fireball?

Like Okies and hobos in the 1930s, escaping destitution with their worldly possessions in a bindle, the romance of dropping out is inexorable. Swampy captures its 21st-century equivalent with enough grace and humor to get even the most comfortable bourgeois to reconsider his or her life choices. Find out tomorrow (July 25), at NBD’s opening reception from 7-10 p.m., or else check out Swampy’s latest work in the weeks to come.

NBD, July 25-Aug. 8, at Chandran Gallery, 459 Geary.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

San Francisco Beautiful Chooses Winners of First Muni Art Project Contest

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 10:30 AM

  • "SWAY" by Ariel Dunitz-Johnson

Rising rents have priced out many galleries and SFMOMA doesn't reopen until spring, but at least you can see some art on your daily commute. By the end of September, 50 Muni buses will feature the artwork of the five winners of the San Francisco Beautiful Muni Art Contest. The contest began May 1 and received over 130 submissions from Bay Area artists challenged to capture the spirit of San Francisco. A committee of seven members of the arts community narrowed it down to ten finalists which were then voted on by the public.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Plastic Fantastic: Amazing 3-D Printed Art at Compound Gallery

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:00 PM

  • Nathaniel Williams

The Compound Gallery
in Oakland is housed in what looks to be a whitewashed Spanish Mission. The interior is warm with natural light that streams in from skylights, open doorways, and high-placed windows. The inside walls, too, are white, and the combined effect of whiteness and sunshine highlights the colorful artwork on display and the bodies commingling and wandering around.

The space is large — 12,000 square feet — and unexpectedly comforting. Artist studios (in various phases of disarray and production) line the back half of the building in what might have once been stables for horses. Park benches abut a bubbling cement fountain, a placement that inspired one woman to concentrate on her knitting. Sturdy, papier-mâché globes and moons hang from the rafters. Bric-a-brac oddities populate every corner, in cabinets and cubbyholes.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

NSFW: Trina Merry Is Painting Nudes at Famous S.F. Landmarks

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

Trina Merry is standing in front of a mural in the middle of Clarion Alley, daubing paint on a topless woman’s torso with the help of her assistant. A few young children and their mothers pay close attention, the occasional mural tourists smile and ask a polite question, and some drunks in stuporous violation of the sit/lie ordinance look on from 40 feet away. At one point, a Smart Car passes and we all step aside like suburban kids playing street hockey, but otherwise, Merry works unmolested.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Tale of Two LGBT Murals

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 7:00 AM

"Love Is Law," outside 1AM Gallery on Howard and Sixth Streets. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • "Love Is Law," outside 1AM Gallery on Howard and Sixth Streets.

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday with a proposition that has long been axiomatic in San Francisco: that LGBT people deserve equality. However, a gay-and-trans mural outside Galeria de La Raza at 2857 24th Street, Miguel Paul’s “Por Vida,” has now been vandalized for the fourth time.

In first three incidents, it was spraypainted over, but now it’s been set on fire. According to Mission Local, "Por Vida" cost $3,000.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Artist Qinmin Liu Painted a 328-Foot-Long Line of Code at Twitter

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 3:36 PM

  • Qinmin Liu

Qinmin Liu
, the biting Dadaist artist known for trading her kidneys for Apple watches and walking across San Francisco in the hopes of establishing some interpersonal connection, is back. Her Coding Project is a roundabout attempt to address the inequities of tech and the mysterious alchemy by which long strings of ones and zeroes become the architecture for modernity (and, by extension, the basis for widening inequality here in San Francisco).

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Friday, June 19, 2015

TONIGHT: Listen to Dinosaur Toothaches at Raw Shack at the de Young

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 1:01 PM

  • Shawn Feeney

If you're free tonight and feeling playful (or in need of playfulness), head over to the de Young Museum to see artist-in-residence Shawn Feeney lead a group of local musicians in his game Raw Shack. A sort of aural Rorschach test where musicians are cued by cards sporting words and phrases such as “DINOSAUR TOOTHACHE,” Raw Shack asks musicians to respond on the spot. There are rules, but no score, so the piece is propelled by improvisational energy and is different each time it’s performed.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bizarre Puppetry Is Back at the Shadow Circus Show! - With Special Guest Kat Robichaud

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Dave Haaz-Baroque

Do you appreciate absurdity? Parody? Weird caricatures? Do you appreciate puppets? Of course you do! Who doesn't like puppets?

If a hilarious show featuring bizarre puppetry that parodies local stereotypes sounds like your kind of night, and it includes an insanely talented special musical guest, with a big, raspy voice; then Viracocha is where you want to be this Friday, June 20!

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Talk to Ghosts at Incline Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Fernando Orellana, His Light - INCLINE GALLERY
  • Incline Gallery
  • Fernando Orellana, His Light

The fascination with the prospect of life after death had motivated artists since time immemorial, from outright hucksters like Todd Burpo (Heaven is For Real) to cerebral auteurs like Stanley Kubrick. The Mission’s Incline Gallery and guest curator Valerie Leavy have put together a two-person exhibit that examines the hereafter, through the lens of artists Fernando Orellana (based in Troy, N.Y.) and Al Honig (who lives and works in San Francisco).

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Some New American Paintings: A Surprising Take On Tech In Art

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Matthew Palladino, courtesy Ever Gold Gallery

The stigma attached to the word "technology" is probably felt harder in the Bay Area than anywhere else in the world. And if you're concerned about the rapidly changing local arts scene, you might argue that this town is just too small for the worlds of technology and art to coincide.

But historically, that's backwards. 

The two feed each other. The first tools used to create amulets and sculptures in ancient cultures shaped the face of art just as much as the prevalence of the photography altered the use of depth and space in paintings at the turn of the century, or the use of photoshop changed the look of the late '80s and early '90s. Even in San Francisco in 2015, the technology of the day isn't an enemy to art — it's arguably the biggest support to art aside from mankind's inherent need to create. The two simply don't exist without each other. And with the overwhelming possibilities that the internet offers in terms of easily accessible artistic platforms, the line between tech and craft becomes thinner and thinner. 

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