Art Beat

Our critics weigh in on local exhibits

“2×4.” Wallpaper is cool again. Design collective 2×4's first solo museum exhibit is plastered from floor to ceiling with vertical strips of the stuff, each documenting a different design project. Best known for collaborations with star-chitect Rem Koolhaas, 2×4 specializes in the marriage of graphic design and three-dimensional environments. Its designs of wallpaper, signs, logos, and books are based on impeccable research and executed with eye-grabbing moxie. A case in point: the collective's schema for the interior of the Koolhaas-designed campus center at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which weaves history and present-day reality into one elegant, visual statement. The building is swathed in mural-size images of the grave faces of the institute's founders; on closer inspection, they dissolve into thousands of cheeky icons depicting student activities. Elsewhere, a series of custom wallpapers for Prada stores features strikingly anti-consumerist imagery: a stadium crowd holding up cards to form images of Maoist peasants; diagrams detailing the manifestly un-Prada-esque body measurements of the average American; and a patently fake, Edenic landscape populated by eerie, sexless, candy-colored mannequins. It's hardly the typical image of perfection that makes you want to buy, buy, buy, but then again, Prada shoppers might already be beyond all aspiration. The innovative exhibition design successfully embodies the collective's bold aesthetic and is fun to look at, but unfortunately, its small scale and close quarters make it difficult to absorb the details, which is where 2×4's true genius lies. Through Nov. 27 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$12.50; call 357-4000 or visit www.sfmoma.org. (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed June 29.

“International Parks.” Leslie Shows' engaging collaged paintings are surreal landscapes: dystopic, desolate, yet richly textured and often whimsical. Overlapped layers of oily-looking paint and bits of collaged paper congeal to depict abandoned amusement parks, garbage dumps, and desiccated forests. In Detritus Pile, for example, a mountain of trash towers over a gnarled fallen tree and a river of sludge. The titular pile is covered in tiny paper circles and half-moons created by the repetitive use of a hole punch; reminiscent of fingernail clippings and confetti, they make the image feel both festering and festive. Below, swept along in the painted river's murky current, are odd, illustrated paper cutouts: deer antlers, sunglasses, a tiny geodesic dome. Similarly, the clever use of grid and ruled notebook paper creates an impressive white expanse in Salt Field With Attributes. The paper is cut into fine strips and triangles, and augmented with paint and marker, its smeary blue lines delineating the dry hillocks and bleached white sky of a monumental, barren landscape. From across the room, the works seem quite grand; at close range, they dissolve into myriad tiny pieces. Shows works with the skill and precision of a quilt-maker, turning castoff bits of paper and paint into scenes that depict the environmental consequences of indiscriminate consumption. “International Parks” is a subtle reminder that even the smallest wasteful gestures contribute to the despoiling of the natural environment. Through July 9 at the Jack Hanley Gallery, 395 Valencia (at 15th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 522-1623 or visit www.jackhanley.com. (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed June 29.

“Joto.” This group exhibition of queer artists from Latino communities is intended to shock: The name “Joto” itself is the Spanish-language equivalent of “faggot,” and a featured piece, Who Would Jesus Torture? by Clinton Fein, displays a crucified George W. Bush near-nude on the cross sporting an erect “missile,” flanked by Rumsfeld belting Hussein to an electric chair. Other artists take a milder approach, notably the self-taught Tony de Carlo, whose colorful portraits blend the spirituality of Mexican icon art with the soul of urban Los Angeles. Through July 31 at the Amaru Gallery, 510 Valencia (at 16th Street), S.F. Admission is free; call 552-3787 or visit www.amarugallery.com. (Michael Leaverton) Reviewed June 22.

“Marking Time.” Ever wondered how many strokes it takes to make a painting? Ask Robert Sagerman. Applying dollops of paint with a palette knife, he keeps track of every color and stroke of each of his dense, multicolored, abstract paintings. Inspired by complex cabalistic readings of Jewish scripture — in which each letter can also be read as a number — the works have cryptic titles like 49:7,171 and 37:6,702, where the first number refers to the number of colors in the painting and the second documents the number of strokes. For Sagerman, painting is a ritualistic, meditative practice in which the obsessive recording of each decision and gesture is a way to focus and clear the mind. The resulting paintings are suitably contemplative squares or rectangles covered with overlapping layers of hue applied with machinelike regularity. This evenness is disrupted by the irregular edges of the paint and the eye-bending optical sensation created by intense, vibrating color. The chunks of paint are so thick they cast deep shadows, giving the works not only a sense of depth, but also an almost sculptural presence. The effect is something like gazing at a wall covered in ivy: At first it seems mundane, but on closer inspection it reveals subtly seductive patterns. Through July 2 at Brian Gross Fine Art, 49 Geary (between Kearny and Grant), Fifth Floor, S.F. Admission is free; call 788-1050 or visit www.briangrossfineart.com. (Sharon Mizota) Reviewed May 25.

“New Work: Marilyn Minter.” A single ice-blue eye looks uninterestedly into the distance, surrounded by a thick layer of cosmetic lacquer somewhere between the colors of blood and flamingo. It's a beautiful image, but not a happy one: Has the eye been made up to look injured? The photorealist painting in question, LA to NYC, leaves the viewer confused, but unable to look away. It and a slew of other glittering, color-drenched, large-scale photographs and paintings comprise this show, which will probably net the New York artist a raging horde of devoted S.F. fans. Through July 24 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is free-$12.50; call 357-4000 or visit www.sfmoma.org. (Hiya Swanhuyser) Reviewed April 13. [page]

Also Showing

Galleries

Andrea Schwartz Gallery. “Vacancy”: Multimedia installation by John Nelson. Opening reception is June 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through June 30. 525 Second Street (South Park Street), 496-2090, www.asgallery.com.

Anthony Meier Fine Arts. “Overpainted Photographs”: Small work by Gerhard Richter. Through Aug. 19. 1969 California (at Octavia), 351-1400, www.anthonymeierfinearts.com.

Arspace Gallery. “Instinctual Distractions”: Group show of work on the theme of animal parallels with human behavior. Through July 1. 1286 Folsom (at Ninth St.), www.arspace.org.

Artseal Gallery. “Fifth Anniversary Exhibition”: Curator Adam Gendell celebrates the gallery's fifth anniversary with a group exhibition. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Continues through June 30. Free. www.artseal.citysearch.com. 1847 Larkin (at Pacific), 567-3523.

Atrium Gallery. “Strange Days”: Group show by the Pacific Rim Sculptors Group. Through July 22. 600 Townsend (at Seventh St.), 490-4877.

Bank of America. “Trinkets”: Heather Marx Gallery presents an exhibition of indoor and outdoor sculpture by Matt Gil. Through Aug. 13. www.heathermarxgallery.com. 555 California (at Kearny).

Blue Gallery. “Here and Now”: Group show of paintings and sculpture. Through July 31. 731 Polk (at Willow), 606-7170, www.bluegallerysf.com.

Braunstein/Quay Gallery. “Robert Brady”: New ceramic works. Through July 2. 430 Clementina (at Fifth St.), 278-9850, www.bquayartgallery.com.

Brian Gross Fine Art. “Robert Sagerman: Marking Time”: New abstract paintings. Through July 2. “Domestic Scenes”: New work by Stephen Sollins. Through July 2. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 788-1050.

California Historical Society Museum. “Eadweard Muybridge: San Francisco in Panorama”: The photographer famous for motion studies also made panoramic images; here, see a room-sized picture of the city circa 1877. Through Oct. 8. free-$3. 678 Mission (at Third St.), 357-1848.

Catharine Clark Gallery. “Smiling So Much It Hurts”: New drawings by Philip Knoll. Through July 16. “Indexision”: Sculpture and installation work by Scott Roberts. Through July 16. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Second Fl.), 399-1439.

Chinese Historical Society of America. “Trading on Fear: Chinese Images in American Trade Cards”: Exhibition of historical advertising trade cards common in the 19th century. Through July 31. 965 Clay (at Stockton), 391-1188.

City Art Cooperative Gallery. “Queer Art”: An exhibit in celebration of Pride Month. Through June 29. 828 Valencia (at 19th St.), 970-9900.

Creative Growth Art Center Gallery. “Home”: Group show of work by artists with disabilities. Through July 8. 355 24th St. (at Broadway), Oakland, 510-836-2340, ext. 15.

Creativity Explored. “Wear to Go”: An exhibit of one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing, like a fire-engine red corset made from electrical tape. Through July 14. free. 3245 16th St. (at Dolores), 863-2108, www.creativityexplored.org.

Dolby Chadwick Gallery. “Sequence”: New oil paintings by Lance Morrison. Through July 2. 210 Post (at Grant) (Second Fl.), 956-3560, www.dolbychadwickgallery.com.

Fraenkel Gallery. “Obsessions of the Oculist”: Curator Sheri Sheridan exhibits a collection of objects and oddities like eye charts, glass eyes, and signs with eyes on them from the first half of the 20th century. Included is a survey of the work of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, a Kentucky optometrist/ photographer. Through July 1. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 981-2661.

Frey Norris Gallery. “David Mellen”: Exhibition of five new sculptures. Through Sept. 23. 456 Geary (at Taylor), 346-7812, www.freynorris.com.

Future Primitive Sound. “Old Soul”: Kelly Tunstall's whimsical, seductive paintings brings to life some of the most prominent female singers of soul music, like Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin. Through Aug. 10. free. 597 Haight (at Steiner), 551-2328, www.futureprimitivesound.com.

Gallery 16. “Recent Editions”: Featuring work by artists Elliot Anderson, Libby Black, Harrell Fletcher, William Laven, Kara Maria, Martin McMurray, Deborah Oropallo, Gay Outlaw, Rex Ray, and Inez Storer. Through July 1. 1616 16th St. (at Rhode Island), 626-7495.

Gallery at Thoreau. “Ecovisions: WEAD at Thoreau”: Group exhibit of work exploring sustainability from the Women Environmental Artists Directory. Through Aug. 12. 1016 Lincoln (at Torney), 561-7823, www.thoreau.org/ gallery.html.

Gallery Paule Anglim. “John Zurier”: New abstract paintings. Through July 2. “Wiegenlied”: Work by Bull.Miletic. Through July 2. “New Paintings”: Work by John Zurier. Through July 2. 14 Geary (at Kearny), 433-2710.

George Krevsky Fine Art. “Contemporary Artists”: Group show featuring work by John Dobbs, Anthony Dubovsky, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Maury Lapp, Glenna Putt, Mary Robertson, William Wheeler, and Debra Walker. Through July 9. 77 Geary (at Grant), 397-9748.

Giant Robot. “I'm Glad We Met”: Miniature installations by Saelee Oh and Souther Salazar. Through June 30. 622 Shrader (at Haight), 876-4773, www.gr-sf.com.

Giorgi Gallery. “Alvarado Artists Group Show”: Mixed media exhibit featuring the work of Barbara K. Werner, Marilyn MacGregor, MJ Orcutt, Carla Dole, and Joan Mikkelsen. Through July 3. 2911 Claremont Ave. (at Claremont Blvd.), Berkeley, 510-848-1228, www.giorgigallery.com.

Glama-Rama. “Berlin London Paris Pigeon Forge”: New work by Jim Winters. Through July 30. 417 South Van Ness (at 15th St.), 861-4526, www.glamarama.com.

Gregory Lind Gallery. “Associative Realms”: Jonathan Laib's mixed-media collages, Leslie Baum's delicate paintings, Ruby Sky Stiler's sculpture, and canvases by locals Jon-Paul Villegas and Jim Gaylord. Through July 2. Free. 49 Geary (at Kearny), Fifth Fl., 296-9661, www.gregorylindgallery.com.

Hackett-Freedman Gallery. “Still Lifes and Narratives”: New paintings by Richard Ryan. Through July 30. “Select Modern Works”: Group show. Through July 30. 250 Sutter (at Kearny) (Fourth Fl.), 362-7152, www.hackettfreedmangallery.com.

Haines Gallery. “Terminal Mirage”: Part of David Maisel's The Black Maps Project. Through July 16. 49 Geary (at Kearny) (Fifth Fl.), 397-8114.

Haley Martin Gallery. “Sprawl”: The exhibit's coordinators — Robert Gutierrez, Amanda Hughen, and Jennifer Starkweather, all artists themselves — have put the show together to showcase the wide range of creative visions on the theme of suburban and urban landscapes. Through July 8. free. 101 Townsend (at Second St.), 543-1550, www.haleymartin.com. [page]

Hang Annex. “Contrapsychosymmetry”: New work by Dana Martin McCutcheon. Through July 3. 567 Sutter (at Mason), 544-0610.

Hang Gallery. “Seventh Anniversary Celebration”: Group show of Bay Area artists. Through July 3. 556 Sutter (at Mason), 434-4264.

In Color 2. “Outside and Inside America”: New photographs by Bill Dane. Through June 30. 2475 Third St. (at 22nd St.), 861-3997, www.incolor2.com.

International Museum of GLBT History. “Sporting Life: GLBT Athletics and Cultural Change From the 1960s to Today”: A multimedia exhibit chronicling the participation of gay and lesbian people in a wide variety of sports. Through Dec. 31. 657 Mission, No. 300 (at New Montgomery), www.glbthistory.org.

Istituto Italiano di Cultura. “Sandro Sanna”: New abstract paintings. Through July 15. 425 Washington (at Battery), 788-7142, www.sfiic.org.

Jack Hanley Gallery. “Katy Dove, Kevin Hutchinson, & Duncan Marquiss”: Group show of photographic work. Through July 9. 395 Valencia (at 15th St.), 522-1623.

Jenkins Johnson Gallery. “Seventh Annual Realism Invitational”: Large group show. Opening reception is June 2 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Through July 16. 464 Sutter (at Powell), 677-0770, www.jenkinsjohnsongallery.com.

John Pence Gallery. “Joseph McGurl, Jim McVicker, & Dorothy Morgan”: Group show of new paintings. Through July 2. 750 Post (at Jones), 441-1138.

Kala Art Institute. “The Real World”: Exhibit of replica work by Libby Black and Justin Walsh. Through July 16. 1060 Heinz (at San Pablo), Berkeley, 510-549-2977, www.kala.org.

Lake Merritt. “The Unknown Island”: Sonja Meller's art installation is a small, partially anchored boat, home to a single oak tree and some flowers, that floats around Lake Merritt. Through June 30. Free. Grand Ave. off 580, Oakland.

Lola Gallery. “Spiritus Mundi”: Group exhibit of work having to do with nature. Through July 9. 2517 Mission (at 21st St.), 401-6800.

Meridian Gallery. “Works in Ink and Light”: Miniature etchings by David Avery, video installation by Ruth Eckland, and sound design by Matt DiFonzo. Through July 2. 545 Sutter (at Powell), 398-7229.

Micaela Gallery. “Pamina Traylor”: Exhibition of sculpture; also featuring work by other artists. Through July 31. 333 Hayes (at Franklin), 551-8118, www.micaela.com.

Mills College Art Museum. Improving the Bow Tie”: The art of African-American quilt-makers based on the popular bow-tie pattern. Through Aug. 7. free. “Second to the Gods”: Three exhibitions of African art: “Royal Regalia of the Yoruba,” “The Seat of Power,” and “Fertility.” Through Aug. 7. free. “Oakland Picture Lady: Traci Bartlow”: Bartlow creates an installation with photographs of the 98th Avenue area of East Oakland. Through Aug. 7. 5000 MacArthur (at Buell), Oakland, 510-430-2164, www.mills.edu/MCAM.

Mission 17. “The Diorama Show”: Group show of miniature 3-D scenarios. Opening reception is June 24 at 6 p.m. Through July 16. 2111 Mission (at 17th St.), Suite 401, 336-2349.

Mission Dolores. “Ohlone Portraits”: An exhibit that features life-size depictions of the Ohlone people, a Native American tribe. Through Oct. 1. $2-$3. 3321 16th St. (at Dolores), 621-8203.

Newmark Gallery. “Apparent Opposites”: Contemporary abstract paintings by Ilan Laks, Theo den Boon, and Hans Vanhorck. Through July 30. 251 Post (at Stockton), No. 412, 392-3692, www.newmarkgallery.com.

Nob Hill Masonic Center. “The Universe Within: The Human Body Revealed”: A science-educational exhibit featuring 200 former human bodies, preserved through the process of plastination. Daily, 11 a.m. $10-$17. www.theuniversewithin.org. 1111 California (at Taylor), 776-4702.

Oakland Art Gallery. “Bay Area Currents”: Group show featuring the work of Kent Alexander, Laura Ball, Kathleen Henderson, Jason Mortara, Laura Paulini, Chris Peterson, Joshua Pieper, Chris Thorson, Marie Van Elder, and Hyewon Yoon. Through June 30. 199 Kahn's Alley (at 14th St.), Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, 510-637-0395, www.oaklandartgallery.org.

Patricia Sweetow Gallery. “Peter Tollens and Michael Toenges”: Works on paper and drawings by two German artists. Through July 2. 49 Geary at Kearny, 788-5126.

Polarity Post Production. “Road Trip”: Group show featuring the work of Andres Le Roux, AnneKarin Glass, Jack Freeman, Jamie Erfurdt, Jo Farrell, John McCarthy, Latino Torelli, Laura Lengyel, Lynn Friedman, Mary Lou D'Auray, and Nick Wightman. Through July 16. 69 Green (at Front).

Presidio Officers' Club. “From Above: A Robert Cameron Retrospective; A Life's Work in Aerial Photography”: Exhibition of large-format photography. Through July 31. 50 Moraga (at Arguello), 561-5500, www.presidio.gov.

Ratio 3. “The Wedge”: New abstract sculpture and video work by Ara Peterson. Through July 3. 903 Guerrero (at 21st St.), 646-732-2767.

RayKo Photo Center. “Lori Nix”: Solo exhibition of photographic work. Opening reception is June 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. Through July 24. 428 Third St. (at Harrison), 495-3773, www.raykophoto.com.

Red Ink Studios. Open Portfolio Night: Artists are welcome to sign up a week in advance of this first come, first served event. Last Thursday of every month. 1035 Market (at Sixth St.), 596-4810, www.redinkstudios.com.

Richmond Art Center. Add Your Voice to “Richmond Stories”: Contribute to this ongoing art and oral history project by e-mailing answers to the following questions to connection@therac.org: How did you or your family come to Richmond in the first place? What are your happiest memories here? What have you liked most about your community? What historic events stand out most in your memory and your family stories? What stories seem to capture Richmond's essence? What issues and challenges have you faced here? What are your dreams for Richmond's next 100 years? Daily. 22540 Barrett (Civic Center Plaza), Richmond, 510-620-6772. [page]

Robert Koch Gallery. “Paris During the Second Empire”: Group photography show featuring the work of Edouard-Denis Baldus, Gustave Le Gray, Julien Villeneuve, and others. Through July 2. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 421-0122.

Ruby's Clay Studio & Gallery. Open Studios: Clay studio celebrates Pride 2005 with a juried show and open studios. Through July 5. Free. 552A Noe (at 19th St.), 558-9819.

San Francisco Art Institute. “Chris Ballantyne & Scott Williams”: Two-person exhibit of works on paper. Through July 30. 800 Chestnut (at Jones), 771-7020, www.sfai.edu.

San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. “Stories of the City”: Photography from the Sixth Street Photography Workshop. Through July 22. 401 Van Ness (at Larkin), 554-6080, www.sfacgallery.org.

San Francisco Center for the Book. “Swiss Impressions: Romano Hänni and the Art of Metal Type”: Letterpress work by the Basel-based designer. Through Aug. 5. 300 De Haro (at 16th St.), 565-0545, www.sfcb.org.

San Francisco Women Artists Gallery. “Abstractions”: Group show of work in various media. Through July 5. 3489 Sacramento (at Laurel), 440-7392.

Sargent Claude Johnson Gallery. “Paul Robeson — Revolutionary Artist”: Group exhibition of art and artifacts honoring the life of Paul Robeson. Through July 22. 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-0623.

Steel Gallery. “Summer Reading II”: Group exhibition featuring work by Sofia Harrison, Wendy Robushi, and Judith Williams. Through July 30. 3524 Sacramento (at Laurel), 885-1655, www.steelgalleryinc.com.

Steven Wolf Fine Arts. “Sociedad de Vida: A 15-year Retrospective of the Norcal Artist Residency at the Dump”: A retrospective of work by artists who have been in residence at SF Recycling & Disposal Inc. Through July 2. 49 Geary (at Kearny), 263-3677.

Tinhorn Press/Gallery. “Group Exhibition”: Work by John Gruenwald, Terry Chastain, Klauz Zylla, Carol Summers, James Groleau, Jill Storthz, Seiko Tachibana, Endi Poskovic, and Susan Belau. Through July 17. 528 Laguna (at Fell), 626-1508.

USF Campus: Thatcher Gallery. “Sense the Raw”: The sixth annual student showcase. Through July 17. 2130 Fulton (at Cole), 422-2044.

Valencia Street (between 20th and 22nd sts.). “Double Take: A Billboard Project”: Art billboards by Felipe Dulzaides in various locations; currently there is one at Valencia and 22nd Street. Daily. 626-5416. www.newlangtonarts.org. Valencia Street between 20th and 22nd sts..

Varnish Fine Art. “Son of Pop: Ron English”: Billboard bandit English's indoor art. Opening reception is June 2 at 7 p.m. Through July 2. 77 Natoma (at Second St.), 222-6131, www.varnishfineart.com.

Weinstein Gallery/Geary Street. “The Great Spaces of the Mind”: Paintings by Gordon Onslow Ford. Daily. 383 Geary (at Mason), 362-8151.

Museums

Asian Art Museum. “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, free-$10. “Tibet: Treasures From the Roof of the World”: More than 200 Buddhist art pieces, including sculptures, paintings, and jewelry used by the Dalai Lamas and their courts. Through Sept. 11. Free-$10. “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-$10. 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, free-$10. 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, free-$10. 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, free-$10. “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. 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, free-$10. 200 Larkin (at McAllister), 581-3500, www.asianart.org.

Bay Area Discovery Museum. “Think Tank”: Subtitled “an enigmatic exhibition,” the fun features interactive hands-on exhibits such as brain games, mind teasers, and puzzles. Through Sept. 15. Free-$8.50. 339-3900. 557 McReynolds (at Murray), Sausalito, 339-3944, www.baykidsmuseum.org.

Berkeley Art Museum. “Blind at the Museum”: An exhibition that investigates the nature of blindness, optical phenomena, and enjoying the visual arts despite vision problems. Through July 24. Free-$8. First Impressions: Free First Thursdays: Check out a world of art and film with free entry to the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive each month. Thursdays, 11 a.m. Free. 2626 Bancroft (at Telegraph), Berkeley, 510-642-0808.

Cable Car Museum. Permanent Exhibit: Located in a historic cable car powerhouse, the museum displays a variety of cable car gear, historic photographs, installations explaining how the cars work, and several antique vehicles. Daily. Free. 1201 Mason (at Washington), 474-1887.

California Academy of Sciences. “Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme”: A permanent exhibition that explores the types of environments in the universe that could support life. Daily. 875 Howard (at Fifth St.), 750-7145, www.calacademy.org.

Cartoon Art Museum. “Garfield: Meow and Then”: A look back at 27 years' worth of comics about the fat, lazy, cynical orange cat. Through Sept. 25. Free-$6. “Small Press Spotlight Featuring Graham Annable”: Voted Best Unknown Local Cartoonist by the SF Weekly, the self-published comic's exhibit includes his Grickle booklets. Through July 24. Free-$6. “Play Ball”: Over 40 baseball cartoons from 1945-1965 by legendary cartoonist Willard Mullin. Through Oct. 30. 655 Mission (at New Montgomery), 227-8666, www.cartoonart.org. [page]

Chabot Space & Science Center. “Mars Encounter”: The National Aeuronautics and Space Administration sponsors this exhibit on travel to Mars, which includes data on current and past missions, a giant tactile Mars globe, and Martian meteorites. “One Giant Leap: A Moon Odyssey”: Take a simulated moonwalk, try on a space helmet, climb into a space capsule, and virtually land a lunar module in this exhibit. “Astronomy in California 1850-1950: Telescope Makers, Telescopes, and Artifacts”: Take a look at California's rich history in astronomy with this display of telescopes, astronomy history documents, and other ephemera. “Skywise — Astronomy Cartoon Exhibit”: Help your child understand that vastness and majesty of space with this exhibit of astronomy comic strips. “Destination Universe”: Take a virtual journey from the sun to the end of the cosmos with exhibits on nebulae, space travel, black holes, and moving galaxies. All exhibits daily. Free with museum admission, $9-$13. 10000 Skyline (at Joaquin Miller) (Joaquin Miller Park), Oakland, 510-336-7300.

Contemporary Jewish Museum. “Scents of Purpose”: The museum showcases more than 90 artists' interpretations on the spice box, an item that's used in the havdalah, a Sabbath prayer service. Through Sept. 5. Free-$5. 344-8800. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 591-8800, www.thecjm.org.

Exploratorium. “Sculptural Information”: Sculptural works spotlighting the icons of the information age — books, print, X-rays, and typewriters. Through Sept. 11. Free with museum admission. “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, www.exploratorium.edu.

The Holocaust Center of Northern California. “Holocaust Center of Northern California”: The newly opened center's first exhibit showcases its facilities, including a library with more than 15,000 historical volumes, a reading room for screening documentaries and holding educational talks, and ongoing displays of the center's thousands of photographs and artifacts. Tuesdays, Thursdays, 1-6 p.m.; Mondays, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. 121 Steuart (at Mission), 777-9060, www.holocaust-sf.org.

Judah L. Magnes Museum. “The People and the Book: Paintings and Rare Books From the Museum's Collection”: An exhibition of works dating from the 19th and 20th centuries and depicting people who write, read, or study from books. Through July 3. “Shtetl”: Multimedia exhibit by Naomie Kremer. Through July 31. “Sephardic Horizons”: An exhibition of ephemera collected from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim cultures of the Iberian Peninsula during the 14th through the 18th centuries. Through July 15. Free with museum admission, $4-$6. 2911 Russell (at Pine), Berkeley, 510-549-6950.

Lawrence Hall of Science. “Forces That Shape the Bay”: The museum's permanent science park exhibit explores new ways to understand the bay. Daily. “Prove It — A ChemMystery”: Kids and adults attempt to solve crimes using the basic forensic skills they learn step-by-step at the exhibit. Daily. Free with admission, free-$8.50. Centennial & Grizzly Peak, Berkeley, 510-642-5132.

Legion of Honor. “Artwear: Fashion and Anti-fashion”: A retrospective of wearable art spanning 35 years and more than 100 pieces. The show begins its study with crocheted garments worn by 1960s fashionistas and moves through the decades to modern-day haute couture. Through Oct. 30. $2-$12. 750-3614. www.legionofhonor.org. “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. Ford Free Tuesdays: Get in free to the Legion of Honor every Tuesday thanks to a grant from the Ford Motor Company. Tuesdays. Free. 100 34th Ave. (at Clement), 863-3330.

Museum of Craft & Folk Art. “Puppets From Around the World”: Over 100 puppets from around the world are showcased in this exhibit, including hand puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppets, and marionettes. Through July 24. “Sanctuary in an Age of Commodity: The Art of Tobi Kahn”: The artist's work for this exhibit is inspired by memorial roadside shrines to accident victims around the world. Through July 24. Free-$4. www.mocfa.org. Fort Mason, Bldg. A (Marina & Buchanan), 775-0991.

Oakland Museum of California. “Sculpture by Bruce Beasley: A 45-Year Retrospective”: Work by Bay Area abstract sculptor. Through July 31. 1000 Oak (at 10th St.), Oakland, 510-238-2200, www.museumca.org.

Oakland Museum of California Sculpture Court. “The Chess Set”: A mythologically inspired exhibition by sculptor Jane Grimm. Through Aug. 10. 1111 Broadway (at 11th St.), Oakland, 510-238-2200.

Pier 45. “Amusing America”: The evolution of modern amusement parks and their effects on the American cultural landscape are examined in this conglomeration of photographs, penny-arcade machines, and other ephemera. Daily, 10 a.m. Free. Fisherman's Wharf (Taylor & Jefferson), 552-1266.

Randall Museum. “Endless Energy: Power for a Small Planet”: An interactive exhibition exploring renewable energy options. Through Oct. 22. “Saturdays Are Special”: Ongoing weekly drop-in, hands-on art and science workshops. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Free-$3. “Drop-In Art and Science Workshops”: Each week kids and parents can participate in artistic activities that illuminate some aspect of science. Saturdays, 1 p.m. $3 per person. 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), 554-9600.

San Francisco Fire Museum. Permanent Exhibits: Included among the items on display at this museum are antique fire extinguishers, old uniforms, cast-iron replicas of historic fire engines, hooks, ladders, and other ephemera. Daily. Free. 655 Presidio Avenue (at Bush), 563-4630.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. “Sparks, Waves, & Wizards: Communication at Sea”: The permanent exhibit presents artifacts exploring the means of maritime communications. Daily. Free-$6. Fort Mason Building E (Marina & Buchanan), 561-7000. [page]

San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum. “150 Years of Dance in California”: The exhibit spotlights over a century of dance in the Golden State with photographs, programs, and other materials. Daily. “Maestro!: Photographic Portraits by Tom Zimberoff”: The artist captures a generation of national and international conductors in his portraits. Daily. 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), 255-4800, www.sfpalm.org.

San Jose Museum of Art. “Inside Out: Selections From the Permanent Collection”: Highlights of the museum's 35th-anniversary exhibition include Mildred Howard's Abode: Sanctuary for the Familia(r), a chamber built of blue glass bottles, and Brian Goggin's Desire for the Other, a couch stuffed with household appliances. Daily. Free. 110 South Market (at San Fernando), San Jose, 408-271-6840.

SF Maritime Museum. Permanent Collection of Ship Models: A big collection of figureheads, maritime paintings, photos, and artifacts. Daily. Free-$3. Fisherman's Wharf (at Polk), 556-3002.

SF Museum of Modern Art. “2×4/design series 3”: Works from the New Yorkbased graphic design firm 2×4 for clientele including Prada, the Brooklyn Museum, KnollTextiles, Princeton School of Architecture, and Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra. Through Sept. 25. “Taking Place”: Photographs from the Prentice and Paul Sack Collection. Through Sept. 6. “Architecture & Design Permanent Collection”: An ongoing presentation featuring more than 100 works illustrating concepts in design and architecture. Daily. “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. “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. “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. “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. 151 Third St. (at Mission), 357-4000, www.sfmoma.org.

Stanford University, Cantor Arts Center. “Shini-e: The Performance of Death in Japanese Kabuki Actor Prints”: Portraits of the dead explore the wide range of Japanese thought regarding life and the afterlife. Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through July 24. Free. 328 Lomita (at Museum), Stanford, 650-723-4177.

Zeum. “Toyz”: Hands-on activities teach kids about the latest in tech toys. Daily. Free with museum admission, free-$7. 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 777-2800.

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