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“Get Together!” Smart and modest at the same time, “Get Together!” ditches the pretensions of typical gallery art and puts together some good old-fashioned fun — with an edge. Sarah Applebaum's installation of rainbow-colored afghans in the storefront windows sets the tone. Viewers can shed their shoes and climb into the cozy setting, even talk to each other through the lengths of plastic dryer hose connecting the windows and the balcony above. Alex Clausen raises a flagpole (or two, or three) — random broomsticks, painters' poles, and pillow cases — lashed together in the best Eagle Scout tradition. A nearby table offers materials and instructions so that we can do it ourselves. Jonn Herschend brings romantic literature into Chuck E. Cheese's, as the winds begin to blow and the words flash by in an up-tempo PowerPoint narration titled Why This Is Not Going to Work So Well. Videos by Sean McFarland and Lindsay White strip the medium to its bare essentials, capturing time in a way that takes us back to when we were children. In the diaristic accordion book Israel 2005, Ashley Neese shares her emotional reunion with her Naval Academy brother, who took the blurry and evocative photos that color our experience of the trip. And perhaps the most modest yet kinkiest stars of the show are Keri Oldham's small-scale sculptures; by turns endearing and ugly, they're sea creatures you've never seen before, made from cast aluminum and plaster, leather and stuffed fabric. It's a heartwarming hoot in a welcoming place. Through Jan. 13, 2007, at the Hardware Store Gallery, 3824 Mission (at Richland), S.F. Admission is free; call 839-6404 or visit (Lea Feinstein) Reviewed Nov. 29.

“A Flight.” Birds of every feather transform this tiny gallery into a cabinet of curiosities that would make surrealist Max Ernst and shy fabulist Joseph Cornell feel right at home. The 32 small works evoke fluttering wings, soft coos, and high-pitched calls in this remarkable silent show. Caleb Duarte, an artist/carpenter, presents tiny flocks of airborne geese on broken drywall fragments. Like pentimenti (the ghostly preparatory drawings for frescoes), his lyrical flocks are almost shadows. Matt Furie, toy sorter at the Mission District's Community Thrift Store, employs his stuffed-animal finds as models for his meticulous, incised drawings. Miranda Maher depicts the distribution patterns of pigeons on the wing and gives her prints pseudo-scientific titles. Gina Pearlin's realist oil painting transforms a battered metal shelf into a delicate blue sky and a trompe l'oeil window. A hint of bird — all beak and wing — escapes at upper left. Lucy Gaylord-Lindholm alters her astonishing copy of a somber Velasquez portrait as a thrush emerges from his ear, its open beak emitting a silent cry. In a tour de force, Gaylord-Lindholm turns the sitter's hair into stylized, pink-tipped pin feathers. Other standouts are Deborah Barrett's pair of earthbound velvet collage chicks, Vahakn Arslanian's Japanese Love Birds, and Sindy Lutz's quartet of bird/man fusions. What is a bird — symbol of the soul or the holy spirit? Why do angels have wings? What is “A Flight”? Magic, and another top-notch (and affordable) selection from the aerie on Geary. Through Dec. 31 at Jack Fischer Gallery, 49 Geary (at Grant), Suite 440, S.F. Admission is free; call 956-1178 or visit (Lea Feinstein) Reviewed Dec. 27.

“How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later” and “Radical Software.” The most stringent social criticism today seems to be coming from artists, and this pair of thought-provoking exhibitions showcases some prime examples. Solmaz Shabazi's film Tehran 1380, part of “Universe,” is a must-see. A documentary critique of urban planning in modern Tehran, it highlights the Navvab Housing Project, 100,000 inhabitants on a site 5 kilometers long and 100 meters wide. What goes wrong when structures are built disregarding local customs and traditions — and human needs — is exemplified in tragicomic interviews with ordinary citizens and government architects (“That is the role of the architect … forcing people to get used to new living conditions”). Expanding on the theme of social space and its creation are drawings by Shaun O'Dell, William Scott, Andreas Dalen, Toby Paterson, and Rick Guidice, and videos and photos by Gitte Villesen, Jakob Kolding, Bonnie Ora Sherk, and Nate Boyce. Improved labeling would make this display easier to navigate. In an adjoining room, Michael Stevenson's Capp Street Project recreates The Moniac, a humorous Rube Goldberg-esque watermill — a metaphor for cash flow at the Central Bank of Guatemala. “Radical Software,” in the upstairs gallery, reopens a chapter of history from the '60s and '70s, charting the beginnings of anti-corporate free/open-source culture, especially in the Bay Area. A series of contemporary videos shot by a 6-year-old Danish girl encourages the empowerment of kids and raises questions about who has access to the media. The accompanying catalog expands the history and the inquiry. Through March 24, 2007, at California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth St. (at 16th St.), S.F. Admission is free; call 703-9548 or visit (Lea Feinstein) Reviewed Dec. 27.

Adobe Book Shop. “Where We Have Been Where We Are and Where We Are Going”: New work by Joe Armin, Nicholas Mohanna, Brian Bellot, Donal Mosher, Chris Corales, Mat O'Brien, Mark DeLong, Kelly Ording, Chris Duncan, James Orlando, Sacha Eckes, Kottie Paloma, Amanda Eicher, Amy Rathbone, Joseph Hart, Kyle Ranson, Kira Inglis, Dave Schubert, Kyle Knobel, Christine Shields, Paula Malesardi, Johanna St. Clair, Sean McFarland, Judd Vetrone, and Jason McLean. Through Dec. 30. 3166 16th St. (at Valencia), 864-3936,

Art Engine. “Opposite Order”: New work by Joey Piziali. Through Jan. 14, 2007. 1035 Mission (at Sixth St.), 713-8669.

Artists' Television Access. “Folk Saint”: New video work by Rebecca Frediani. Through Dec. 30. 992 Valencia (at 21st St.), 824-3890,

California College of the Arts Playspace Gallery. “23 Years of Hernia Milk and Ergot Dreams: A Retrospective of Caroliner”: Ephemera from the band Caroliner, curated by Sarrita Hunn, Marcella Faustini, and the Museum of Viral Memory. Through Jan. 13, 2007. 111 Eighth St. (at Mission), 703-9500, [page]

Gallery 16. Alex Zecca: Daily. 501 Third St. (at Bryant), 626-7495.

Giant Robot. “Printed Matter”: Through Jan. 17, 2007. 618 Shrader (at Haight), 876-4773,

Gray Area Gallery. “Sugar Sugar”: New work by Katja Ollendorff, Hannah Stouffer, Scott Barry, Manuel “Gonzo” Gonzalez, Stephanie Choo, Kylea Borges, Steven MacDonald, and Relax 3:30. Through Jan. 14, 2007. 371 11th St. (at Harrison),

Hosfelt Gallery. “Recent Sculptures & Related Paintings”: New work by Emil Lukas. Through Jan. 20, 2007. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 495-5454,

Intersection for the Arts. “Free Chocolate”: Through Feb. 17, 2007. 446 Valencia (at 15th St.), 626-3311,

Little Tree Gallery. “I Believe in the Power of the Absurd”: Through Dec. 28. Free. 3412 22nd St. (at Guerrero), 643-4929,

Lost Art Salon. “The Fall Fashion Show”: Original fashion illustrations from the 1900s-1960s by Marian Epack, Joe Thomas, Gladys Semon, Gregory Fox, Karen Lenz, and others. Through Dec. 30. 245 S. Van Ness (at 13th St.), 861-1530,

The Luggage Store. “Where We Are Is Always Miles Away”: Through Jan. 6, 2007. free. 1007 Market (at Sixth St.), 255-5971,

Mission 17. “Mission 17”: New work by Victor Babieri, Deer Fang, Peter Foucault, Justin Hoover and Patricia Maloney, Jesse Houlding, Bradley Hyppa, Eileen Starr Moderbacher, Moshe Quinn, Kathrine Worel, Edmund Wyss, and Paul Zografakis. Through Jan. 7, 2007. 2111 Mission (at 17th St.), Suite 401, 336-2349,

Modernism. “Caprichos”: Through Jan. 6, 2007. 685 Market (at Kearny), 541-0461,

Mollusk Surf Shop. “Group Show”: New work by Johanna St.Clair, Jeff Canham, Alex Kopps, Orion Shepherd, Laura Flippen, Thomas Campbell, Jay Nelson, John McCambridge, Dave Mueller, Nick Allen, Jeff Manson, Tyler Manson, and Nat Russell. Through Jan. 15, 2007. 4500 Irving (at 46th Ave.), 317-2562,

Monadnock Building. “Kellyann Gilson Lyman”: Solo exhibition and “Young at Art, What is Art?” Through Dec. 30. 685 Market (at Third St.).

Needles & Pens. “The Dispossessed”: New work by Monica Canilao. Through Jan. 31, 2007. 483 14th St. (at Guerrero), 255-1534,

Octavia's Haze Gallery. “James Michalopoulos”: New paintings. Through Jan. 7, 2007. 498 Hayes (at Octavia), 255-6818.

Off-Market Theater. “Bi-Coastal Perspective Search”: New photography by Stacy Marshall. Through Dec. 31. 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 896-6477,

Southern Exposure. “COMMONspace”: Through June 29, 2007. “Lottery Tickets”: Through Jan. 18, 2007. 2901 Mission (at 25th St.), 863-2141,

Varnish Fine Art. “Decker Studios Bronze”: Through Jan. 27, 2007. 77 Natoma (at Second St.), 222-6131,

White Walls Gallery. “Water Under the Bridge”: Through Jan. 6, 2007. 835 Larkin (at Alice B. Toklas), 931-1500,

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “Underplayed: A Mix-Tape of Music-Based Videos”: New work by Mexico City-based artists Miguel Calderon and Juan-Luna Avin and others from around the world including Josh Lazcano, Jeroen Offerman and Eamon Ore-Giron. Through March 4, 2007. 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “Sensacional!”: Through March 4, 2007. $12-$15. 701 Mission (at Third St.), 978-2787,

Asian Art Museum. “Pioneers of Philippine Art: Luna, Amorsolo, Zobel”: Collectively, the works of these groundbreaking artists — among the Philippines' finest — span the country's Spanish colonization, World War II, and independence. Through Jan. 7, 2007. “Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art”: Learn about symbols revealed through Ming and Qing dynasty porcelains and jades. Through Dec. 31. “Shadows, Masks and Music: Aspects of the Performing Arts in Asia”: The museum displays a diverse collection of musical instruments, set designs, costumes, and masks that are used in Asian performances. Tuesdays-Sundays. Free with museum admission. “In a New Light: The Asian Art Museum Collection”: A display of more than 2,500 objects from the museum's permanent collection explores the major cultures of Asia. Daily. Free with museum admission. Gallery Tours: Trained museum docents offer both general introductions to the museum's collections as well as tours that highlight special exhibitions. Tuesdays-Sundays, 11, 11:30 a.m., 1 & 2 p.m. Free with museum admission. Architectural Tours: Learn about the transformation of the old San Francisco Main Public Library into the Asian Art Museum's new quarters with this regular tour. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays-Sundays, 12 & 2:30 p.m.; Thursdays, 12, 2:30 & 6:30 p.m. Free with museum admission. “Asian Art Museum Storytelling”: Each weekend the museum leads a family-oriented tour through a particular exhibit, followed up by a retelling of stories related to the exhibits. Sundays, 1 p.m.; First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m. Free with museum admission. Target Tuesday Family Program: Each month this special family program presents an activity connected with Asian art and customs. First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free with museum admission. “Family Art Encounter”: Drop in to make arts and crafts pieces related to the museum's current exhibits. First Saturday of every month, 1 p.m.; First Tuesday of every month, 11 a.m. Free with museum admission. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500,

Cartoon Art Museum. “The Rejection Collection: Not in The New Yorker Cartoons”: Through March 18, 2007. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666,

de Young Museum. “The Sculpture of Ruth Asawa: Contours in the Air”: This exhibition of approximately 54 sculptures and 45 works on paper, with additional documentary source materials including notebooks and vintage photographs by Imogen Cunningham, constitutes the first complete retrospective of the Ruth Asawa's enduring and richly varied career. Through Jan. 28, 2007. “Since 2001: Recent Prints by Ed Ruscha”: The approximately 25 prints featured in this exhibition are recent additions to the Edward Ruscha Graphic Arts Archive, a body of work that was acquired by the Fine Arts Museums in 2000. Through March 4, 2007. “The Quilts of Gee's Bend”: The quilts of Gee's Bend make San Francisco the final stop in their widely acclaimed nationwide tour. Through Dec. 31. California Impressions Featuring Landscapes from the Wendy Willrich Collection”: This exhibition features thirty beautiful California landscape paintings from the collection of Bay Area art collector Wendy Willrich. Through Jan. 28, 2007. “Highlights of the Art and Architecture of the New de Young”: Enjoy a 50-minute, docent-led tour. Through Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m. “Introduction to the Masterworks of the New de Young Collections”: Enjoy a 50-minute, docent-led tour. Through Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. “Friday Nights at the de Young”: An art-focused happy hour, with special performances and hands-on activities plus cheap admission. Fridays, 5 p.m. $5. 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden (at JFK), 863-3330, [page]

Exploratorium. “Traits of Life”: A major exhibition area with 30 biology exhibits and demonstrations that help visitors understand the fundamental elements common to all living things from humans to amoebas. Daily. Free with museum admission. 3601 Lyon (at Marina), 397-5673,

Legion of Honor. The Reverend Howard Finster (1916Ð2001) joins a long tradition of visionary American artists who worked outside the structure of the fine arts establishment. Through April 6, 2007. “Transparent Reflections: Richard Pousette-Dart Works on Paper 19401992”: This exhibition and catalogue of 52 works bring together a substantial body of Pousette-Dart's drawings, which might more accurately be called paintings on paper, as well as several of his ethereal hand-colored etchings. Through Jan. 14, 2007. “Claude Lorrain: The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum”: The French 17th-century landscape artist is featured in this exhibition showcasing his unique response to the topography and atmospheric effects characteristic of the Roman countryside. Through Jan. 14, 2007. “Big Kids/Little Kids”: Children aged 3 1/2 to 6 years and their parents take a gallery tour and then participate in a related hands-on art activity. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum admission, free-$8. “Doing and Viewing Art”: Kids aged 7-12 and their families tour the Legion of Honor's galleries before taking part in a hands-on creative workshop led by a professional artist. Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. Free with museum entrance fee, free-$8. Organ Concert: Weekly organ concerts. Saturdays, Sundays, 4 p.m. free. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday, thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Co. Tuesdays. Free. 100 34th Ave. (near Clement), 863-3330,

Museum of the African Diaspora. “Painting Ethiopia: The Life and Work of Qes Adamu Tesfaw”: At the age of 70, Ethiopian artist Qes Adamu Tesfaw is regarded by many as Ethiopia's finest living artist. Through March 5, 2007. “Beaded Blessings”: The exhibition is comprised of over 4,000 beaded prayers inspired by African amulet traditions. Through Jan. 15, 2007. St. Regis Hotel, 685 Mission (at Third St.), 358-7200,

SF Museum of Modern Art. “Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection”: The ongoing exhibition presents works from SFMOMA's own collections, with special installations on artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Robert Gober, Eva Hesse, Anish Kapoor, Sherrie Levine, Brice Marden, Gordon Matta-Clark, Barry McGee, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kara Walker. Daily. Tina in Mexico: A film by Brenda Longfellow. Through Jan. 2, 2007. “Architecture & Design Permanent Collection”: An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. “Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth”: Through Jan. 21, 2007. “SFMOMA Collection Highlights”: In addition to spotlighting photographs, paintings, and sculptures in the SFMOMA collection, this audio guide includes a musical tour. Daily. $3. “Picturing Modernity: Selections From the SFMOMA Collection”: An exhibition of photographs from SFMOMA's own collection that illustrate a wide range of photographic styles. Daily. “New Work: Phil Collins”: Collins' video installation dünya dinlemiyor (the world won't listen) features young people in Istanbul, performing karaoke versions of tracks from the eponymous album by the Smiths, recorded with musicians in Bogot. Through Jan. 1, 2007. “The Art of Design”: A permanent exhibition of works in the museum's architecture and design collection, including works of graphic and industrial design (such as the famous Fillmore rock posters by Bonnie MacLean, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse). Daily. “Charged Space: Jane and Louise Wilson/Fikret Atay”: “Charged Space” features two video installations that allude to the loaded histories of specific sites. Through Jan. 21, 2007. “Paul Klee: Innocence and Insanity”: This selection of works on paper examines Klee's interest in the playfulness, ornamentation, and compulsive patterning characteristic of the art of the innocent and the insane. Through April 1, 2007. “Mexico as Muse: Tina Modotti and Edward Weston”: An exhibit of the most significant photographs that Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, two of the major figures in 20th-century photography, made during their time in Mexico. Through Jan. 2, 2007. “Alexander Girard: Vibrant Modern”: A selection of Girard's lively, bold designs from the SFMOMA collection, including textiles designed for Herman Miller in the 1960s and works created for La Fonda del Sol Restaurant in New York. Through Feb. 25, 2007. “Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection”: Magnificent works of painting and sculpture culled from SFMOMA's own collections provide a quick tour of modern art from Fauvism to Minimalism. Daily. “Imposing Order: Contemporary Photography and the Archive”: This exhibition highlights contemporary critiques of the notion of the archive, presenting artworks that explore the documentary nature of photography as well as the human compulsion to create order. Through Jan. 2, 2007. Daily Tours: Topics change daily for these free tours led by SFMOMA docents. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays-Sundays, 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 & 2:30 p.m. Spotlight Tours: These innovative tours bring artists' voices directly to visitors, beginning with a short video clip of a featured artist, then moving into the galleries for viewing and discussion. Fridays-Sundays, noon. Werner Herzog Retrospective: Through Jan. 27, 2007. $8-$10. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000,

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