Left Coast Leaning @ YBCA [Review]

The Left Coast Leaning performing arts festival, organized by the YBCA in conjunction with Youth Speaks’ Living Word Project, kind of oscillated between the two poles of pure visual enjoyment and entertainment, and perplexing uncomfortableness. On the one hand there was the dazzling spectacle of virtuosic tap dancing by Jason Samuels Smith, on the other there was a strange and brain-taxing performance piece by Anna Martine Whitehead. Between were the three remaining works, which attempted both to entertain the viewers as well as elicit an emotional response. Interestingly enough, all three were about love.

What? Love, you say? The prominence of that theme was a little bit surprising. In the current moment, with the country electrified by Occupy, you might expect to see things that are more political than romantic. But that is not to say that Left Coast Leaning strayed far from the zeitgeist. At least two of the pieces explicitly dealt with love in the contemporary world, and one was a response to fairly recent events–namely, Proposition 8.

Alexandro Segade, Replicant VS Separatist, Pictured: Colin Martin and Justin Streichman. Credit: Scott Groller.

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Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze – Is a Naked Man Enough? [Review]

Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze | Friday, November 4 to Wednesday, November 30 | SOMArts Cultural Center |San Francisco

I’ve diligently walked through the “Man as Object” show, but I still don’t think I fully understood what the curators meant by “objectifying men.” Male artists have created sexualized depictions of women’s bodies for centuries, and now, as the statement goes, it’s time for ladies to do the same with men. And indeed, images of naked dudes (and just male sex organs) abound in the exhibition, so as to overwhelm everything else.

Janice Nesser. Climbing Out of the White. 2008. Inkjet print, plexiglass. 4.5 x 6 feet. Provided by SOMArts.

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Art Top 5: Exhibitions Opening November 2011

Francesca Woodman, SFMOMA, November 5, 2011 – February 20, 2012

One of the strengths of the SFMOMA is its photography program. This season the museum will host an exhibition of photographs by Francesca Woodman, which will be the first major show of her work in the United States (it will later travel to the Guggenheim). Woodman died in 1981, at the age of just 22, but she left behind a huge body of work, amounting to more than 800 pieces. She created highly enigmatic and haunting images, in which the body (often her own) is placed in evocative settings.

Francesca Woodman, Self-portrait talking to Vince, Providence, Rhode Island, 1975–78; gelatin silver print; 5 1/8 x 5 1/16 in. (13 x 12.9 cm); courtesy George and Betty Woodman; © George and Betty Woodman. Photo provided by SFMOMA.

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ARTSEEKR Events November 1 – November 7, 2011

Urbanized, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, November 4-10. You have probably seen (or at least heard about) Helvetica, a popular documentary by Gary Hustwit about typography and its relationship to how we see things. Now, the YBCA will be screening Urbanized, Hustwit’s new movie which focuses primarily on urban design. You can check the detailed schedule of screenings here.

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ARTSEEKR Events October 25 – October 31, 2011

This wonderful song is a blatant and unimaginative way to attract attention.


And now, about art. So, what should we expect from the glorious week starting October 25 (yes, my weeks start on Tuesday!!) and ending October 31?

Geof Oppenheimer, Ratio 3, October 28 – December 11. People usually associate “anarchy” with “chaos,” but an anarchist would tell you that authority-free cooperation actually results in a more perfect order, whereas an authoritarian system is what breeds chaos. That’s what I recalled when I came upon this article featuring Geof Oppenheimer’s video, Washington Color Field School, which seems to explore that kind of “authoritarian chaos” by presenting a Congressional hearing as a “theater of the absurd.” In his practice, which also embraces sculpture and photography, the artist studies violence and power. Here is an interview about Oppenheimer’s new exhibition at Ratio 3, in which he talks about the sexiness of sculpture, the aesthetics of violence, the relationships between avant-garde and politics, etc.

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