Art Top 5: Exhibitions & Events December 2011

Beat by the Bay, San Francisco Visual Artists of the Fifties and Their Galleries, Ever Gold, December 8, 2011 – January 6, 2012

Everybody’s heard of the literary works produced by the great writers of the Beat generation, like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. But that legendary countercultural movement also included visual artists, who without a doubt deserve the same recognition. Recall, for example, the staggering paintings of Jay DeFeo, such as “The Rose” (now in the collection of the Whitney Museum).  By organizing “Beat by the Bay” the Ever Gold gallery aims to reconnect the Bay Area with its own cultural heritage. It will show experimental pieces by artists who lived and worked here in the 1950s, as well as tell the stories of the alternative gallery spaces where those artists presented their output.

Jay Defeo, Courtesy Jerry Burchard Estate, c. 1957

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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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Art Top 5: Fall 2011 Photography Exhibitions

We hereby present our new column–the Art Top 5. Every month we will publish a list of exhibitions or art events in the SF Bay Area that we find the most interesting. Our first column will be dedicated to photography, since this fall is going to be rich with good photo exhibits.

More American Photographs, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, October 4 – December 17, 2011

The CCA Wattis seems hell-bent on exploring America’s psyche. In the recent past it staged a series of shows focusing on particular states (“Americana: 50 States, 50 Months, 50 Exhibitions”) as well as exhibits dedicated to American literary classics such as Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn. “More American Photographs” is a no less ambitious undertaking: the CCA Wattis asked twelve contemporary artists to follow the footsteps of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange and others who documented rural poverty as part of the Farm Security Administration’s Depression-era photography program. The “lineup” of those who were chosen to picture the precariousness of 21st-century American life varies wildly: from Martha Rosler, whose name is associated with razor-sharp social critique, to Larry Clark, who is famous for his sleazy photos of youngsters on the loose. The contributors’ list is indeed a “who’s who” of contemporary US photography, featuring also Catherine Opie, Stephen Shore, Katy Grannan, and Alec Soth. I am particularly interested in what the latter came up with, knowing his gift for spotting madness in seemingly insignificant stuff. A number of works by the FSA photographers will also be presented.

Catherine Opie, Bravo, 2011. 15 x 20 inches. Inkjet print. Courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles

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