When the ancient Polynesians invented surfing, they often used a paddle to help them navigate. Fast-forward a few millennia, and Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or SUP, finds itself trendy again. Part of its increasing popularity is that standing upright allows surfers to spot waves more easily and thus catch more of them, multiplying the fun factor. Paddling back to the wave becomes less of a strain as well. The ability to cruise along on flat inland water, surveying the sights, is another advantage. Finally, its a good core workout. If youre sold on the idea, schedule an intro SUP lesson, free with board and paddle rental, and you may find yourself riding the waves like a Polynesian king.More
In the past 30 years, light artists have reimagined an art form that has always had the ability to turn the night sky, or a simple window, into luminescence. Last fall, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts turned its southern glass wall into a parade of sound-sensing lights, Lightswarm, that changes with the movements of nearby people and things. Future Cities Lab, the San Francisco design company behind Lightswarm, has originated another notable light sculpture. Located by the YBCA's steps at 701 Mission, Murmur Wall will light up in arresting ways as it incorporates local trending search engine results and social media postings. Onlookers can offer their own contributions, which will feed into the Murmur Wall's data stream and light up the sculpture. What's trending in San Francisco? If you're walking by the YBCA, you can see firsthand — at least through light patterns that reflect the city's volatile internet habits.
Murmur Wall debuts Thursday at 6 p.m. and continues through May 31, 2017, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Free; 415-978-2700 or ybca.org. More
Asian art is hot, selling at unprecedented highs and eclipsing Western art. San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, one of the largest in the world dedicated to Asian art and culture, taps into that energy with the exhibition “Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past.” Last fall after the museum went through financial hard times, director Jay Xu announced it was reinventing itself to appeal to a broader audience and would start showing more contemporary work. “Our focus has shifted from presenting stunning artworks to delivering captivating art experiences centered around stunning artworks,” Xu wrote on the museum’s website. This experience explores Asian cosmology and spirituality; contemporary art curator Allison Harding says it’s big in lots of ways — 31 artists and more than 60 new works, along with 80 from the museum’s collection, and for the first time the entire museum will be used to display the exhibit. Harding says that seeing the traditional work alongside the new changes the way viewers relate to it. For example, there’s Korean artist Bae Young-whan, whose installation of small ceramic mountain ranges echo the shape of graphs of his brain waves. Some people at the museum might feel uncomfortable with shaking things up. But Harding says exhibiting the work of these Asian artists for the first time in the U.S. is a gift to the city, and having living artists who can speak for themselves has brought a new energy to the museum.
May 18-Sept. 2, 10 a.m., 2012