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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Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective at SF MOMA [Preview]

One of the first times I saw the work of Richard Serra in person was on a warm San Francisco afternoon, when I took a walk from the China Basin neighborhood to Mission Bay. China Basin, with its newly built condominiums, neat cafes, and picturesque floating homes, projects the air of inconspicuous, self-satisfied affluence; this is what you may call an urban Arcadia. Take the 3rd Street Bridge to Mission Bay, and you will get into a massive construction zone, which neighbors various facilities for biomedical research. Some of the buildings don logos of huge corporations such as Bayer. Turn onto a slumberous plaza with cafes and benches, and this is what you will encounter: two giant rectangular slabs made of rusty steel, tilting and facing each other from a 100-foot-plus distance.

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San Francisco Electronic Music Festival 9/8/2011-9/11/2011 [Preview]

Let me start off topic: On Land Festival, I love you. You’re awesome. Please come back. That said, even though On Land is sorely missed, it is far from the only great event for San Francisco’s experimental music fans. For starters, we have our own Electronic Music Festival, which has been getting the city acquainted with serious avant-garde music practitioners since 2000. This year it runs from Thursday, September 8th to Sunday, September 11th at the SF MOMA and the Brava Theater Center.

The big draw of this edition is perhaps Christian Marclay, the legendary artist who recently got honored with a Venice Biennale Golden Lion and a Whitney Museum exhibition. The work that made a lot of buzz was The Clock, a mind-boggling 24-hour video collage composed entirely of film clips, each of which tells you what time it is. He has created similar videos before: Video Quartet features fragments of movies where characters play music or sing, and The Phone is woven out of episodes where people pick up the phone. Marclay has been a seminal figure for the contemporary aesthetic, which relies heavily on wholesale appropriation of cultural material and sampling. He has employed those methods not only in his video art but also in his work with sound. In fact, when he started at the end of the 1970s, he wanted to be a musician, not an artist. Marclay has been hailed as one of the fathers of turntablism, which is creating sound compositions with the record player as the main instrument. Oh, the many vinyl records he has tortured to death in his long career. Here is a short film where you can see turntablism in all its glory.

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The Steins Collect at SF MOMA – [Review]

This year’s big summer exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art zooms in on the collections of the writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) and her brothers Leo and Michael. Having spent a large chunk of their lives in France, the American-born siblings are counted among the earliest supporters of Parisian avant-garde art. At the SF MOMA’s “The Steins Collect,” the Parisian avant-garde is exactly what you’re going to see.

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