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
Llewelynn Fletcher's immersive sculptures beguile the senses. Sasha Petrenko's site-specific installations and performances strive to capture a dynamic, living planet. Austin Thomas hides heady themes in seemingly austere drawings, photos, and sculptures. She also cobbles together site-specific social spaces which she calls "perches," but which are obviously kick-ass treehouses, minus the trees. These and other artists are contributing super-sized works for "Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" at the University of San Francisco's Rooftop Sculpture Terrace. "Just Passing Through" promises to challenge notions about how we inhabit or pass through space, or at least provide a lovely respite in a busy city.
"Just Passing Through: Sculptures and Installations" is open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and runs through Dec. 11 at Kalmanovitz Hall, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton St., S.F. Free; 422-5178 or usfca.edu. More
Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Dec. 11
Weird little marvels are the works of Ron Nagle, the ceramicist whose work has helped prove that a sculptor who works in clay can be a serious presence in the art world. Nagle has been making vessels and intimate-sized sculptures since the 1960s, when he was associated with the norm-busting California ceramics movement and studied with one of its prime forces, fellow abstract-expressionist Peter Voulkos. A species of one, Nagle has continued to create compelling and painstakingly crafted pieces that are elegant yet unsettling. His sculptures contain puckered surfaces, unusual textural juxtapositions, amorphous shapes, and a surreal look. His cups, some of which have been overglazed and repeatedly fired, appear to have come from a tea party on Mars. With diverse influeneces, including ceramicist Ken Price, abstractionist Cy Twombly, still-life painter Giorgio Morandi, and California cool-car culture, Nagle is a distinctive artist and a San Francisco spirit. To learn more, come hear his lecture at the San Francisco Art Institute — his first appearance there since his 1978 Adaline Kent Award exhibition.More
BayTaper.com, an online multimedia documentary featuring live audio recordings, videos, and photography has been tirelessly capturing live jazz and acoustic music in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005.
A 9B pencil is the softest pencil available: It's almost liquid. If it weren't made of lead it would make great eyeliner. An artist can choose to use a light touch with it, of course, but Francesca Pastine doesn't. At "Alterations," she shows three series, two of which involve the heavy application of graphite to newsprint, and one she made by slicing and curling Artforum magazines. She's interested in print publications, clearly. Back to the 9Bs: "Invisible Women" and "Iraqi Casualty" find Pastine layering their lead over pages of the New York Times in order to highlight certain images. The result reminds us of John Lennon's FBI file; the artist thinks it looks like "graphite leaf." Either way, her chosen photos stand out in a sea of darkest black while the paper's uncovered, datestamped edges remind the viewer of their official status. In the third series, "Artforum Excavations," exploded versions of the ultra-glossy last word in creative trends show an attitudinal, literal stab back at a publication that probably irritates a lot of artists.
May 29-June 14, 2008