Friday, June 27, 2014

YCBA // Pier 24 // Cult // Asian // SFMOMA

I have been seeing just a ton of art lately. So much so, in fact, that I find it necessitates a kind of grab-bag Art Friday post today to encompass it all, or else I'd still be telling you in August about the stuff I've seen in the past couple of weeks.

So, here's the scoop--

Above: my favorite piece from the show Public Intimacy: And Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa at the Yerba Beuna Center for the Arts (where you get a discount on your ticket if you're a public transit rider or library card holder!) was this one by Terry Kurgan.

Erica Deeman's solo show at Pier 24 (the first solo show they've ever had there) was stunningly beautiful.

I'm a big fan of Michelle Blade's artwork (full disclosure, she's also working on a book for me--yay!) and her recent show at Cult Exhibitions was a pure delight.

And the Gorgous show that the Asian Art Museum has put up in partnership with the SFMOMA gave me a chance to see some favorite SFMOMA pieces I've been missing since they closed down for construction a year ago, engaged in interesting dialogs with some favorite peices from the Asian's collection. Here are a few of my favorite moments in the show:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Poem Series About the Spring of 2006 Continues Today on Poetry Thursday

April 13, 2006
Today when I went out to lunch

it was not only sunny
brightly abundantly gloriously ridiculously goldenly sunny
but also


so warm that I took off my coat
rolled it up in a ball
stuffed it in my purse
and walked away down the street
with only the sunshine on my skin

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yet Another Launch

Looking back, I see that I have talked here many times before about that grand old publishing institution known as Launch (and it emerges that, somewhat embarrassingly, frivolous soul that I am, what I've talked about most often is what I was wearing for Launch. Ah well). But I don't think I've ever mentioned before the great joy of being done with Launch--of symbolically divesting yourself of the task of launching, along with actually divesting yourself of your fancy shoes and changing into your dorky sneaks along with your nice dress to walk home in. But now I have.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A House Divided

We've been working, chez nous, on ways to modify our small space to best accommodate the fastest-growing member of our family. So imagine my awe and voyeuristic delight upon discovering Vlad Mishin's design for "The Transformer Apartment" on Design Milk. Clocking in at just 645 square feet, this pad has various moving elements that divide the space for different uses as needed. Pure genius. Floor-plan is at the bottom of the post for the floor-plan-inclined among you (you know who you are).

Monday, June 23, 2014


Mabel calls her paternal grandmother her "Nooe" (pronounced No-ee, like the street Noe in San Francisco). Here they enjoy a snuggle on the porch in North Carolina.

Friday, June 20, 2014


A while back I went with a pal on our own little self-guided art walk of some of the newer galleries in the Tenderloin. And then my notes got buried under a pile of other stuff and I never did my usual reportage about the jaunt here on Art Friday. So am making up for that now. Of course this means that all of these shows closed quite some time ago, but hey. It still feels relevant to record what was seen.

Above: Matt Lipps at Jessica Silverman

Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold

David Soukup at White Walls Project Space

Morgan Slade at Shooting Gallery Project Space

Sergio Garcia at White Walls

Peter Gronquist at Shooting Gallery

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Story of the Spring of 2006 as Told in Poems Continues Today on Poetry Thursday

April 12, 2006
This week it’s

getting warmer

though the gray rain
continues unabated

Long-sleeved tee-shirts
boots with socks
and skirts without tights
are proving sufficient

which they certainly
wouldn’t have
not so long ago

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Novel Fact

There are two big stories in publishing at the moment. The first is amazon's holding preorders for books published by Hachette hostage until Hachette agrees to sell amazon their books for even less money. About which I have nothing to say but: bleh. And maybe: double bleh. The second is the recent invention of Book Con. At the tail end of the annual publishing trade show BEA this year they invited the general public in for an extravaganza that treated books like pop-culture items (ala Comic Con, I gather, but without so many costumes). The publishing industry types who still thought they were at the last day of BEA seem to have been quite poleaxed, and in some cases annoyed, when thousands of screaming teenage girls showed up for appearances by John Green and other YA writers. But somehow the chatter about this happening, thus far, seems to be almost entirely missing what strikes me as the main--and wonderful, fantastic--point: teenagers read books! Let's just say that again, shall we? TEENAGERS READ BOOKS! Counter to all predictions about this generation and how they would do nothing all their lives but stare at little screens--these guys are out their reading fiction and getting hyped-up to almost boy-band levels about fiction writers. Why are we not dancing in the street about this fact, people? Seriously. And I, for one, don't care one whit what they read, as long as they read. But I was curious and so just read The Fault in Our Stars and it was good. Not as good as Rainbow Rowell. But good.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Astonishing Flax Paper Sale

The other day I went with my father to venerable San Francisco art supply store Flax to shop their unprecedented basement paper sale. As we understand it, this is the first time they've ever opened their subterranean storeroom to the public--where shelf upon shelf of huge beautiful sheets of paper, many of them handmade, awaited us, and every one was selling for the bargain price of a dollar a sheet. Did you catch that? $1! And if you bought 100 or more sheets (which believe you me, we did) then the price went down to 85 cents a sheet. What the heck!? It was a seriously amazing creative shopping wonderland down there. We were kind of loosing our minds, and we weren't the only ones. People were scurrying all over the place, gasping and exclaiming and sharing each new discovery with any random strangers who happened to be nearby, and stacking up sheet after sheet of paper to buy. My papers, so far, remain ensconced in their role-shaped brown paper package--inspiration is percolating in the back of my brain, and when it comes to fruition I will unwrap. But my more diligent parent has been laying out and photographing many of the sheets he bought. I've lifted a few of his photos here--ones he brought home that (if memory serves correctly and I really hope it does) I also brought home as well.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wearing a Mask

In this photo Mabel is holding up to her face an oval she had crafted from a pipe-cleaner and designated, for that moment at least, as a mask. All day long she does this sort of thing, imaginatively assigning objects to play the roles of other objects--the teddy bear is an ice skate, the Duplo block is a medicine dispenser, the pillow is a pair of robot space wings for flying to space--but it's all so fast and fluid that I rarely get a photo of these antics. This is the exception.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Michelle Grabner's Floor of the Whitney Biennial

I was so excited to go see the Whitney Biennial when I was in New York last month. I've never been, and it's the last one they'll be having in the old museum before relocating the whole Whitney shebang downtown next year. The way it was set up--and I gather this was new for this exhibition--was that there were three curators and each one got a floor (plus additional spaces like stairwells, elevators, courtyards, etc.). So I went through the first floor and it was...fine. Lots of good art of course, but nothing that particularly struck my fancy. I went up to the next floor and...same thing. Naturally all very accomplished work, but nothing was really speaking to me. Gosh, I thought, am I just not in a good looking-at-art frame-of-mind today? What's wrong with me that I'm not enjoying this more? And then I got to the third floor and--whoa mama! suddenly everything changed. This floor was spectacular. Full of color and bold shapes and abstract paintings and intriguing three-dimensional pieces. I quite literally loved almost every single work of art on display. Everything was just the right shape for the art receptors in my personal weird brain. So I went and read some wall text (something I generally try to avoid doing) and discovered that this was the area curated by Michelle Grabner. Was it a coincidence that the collection I adored was the one assembled by the only woman curator of the three? And that nearly all my favorite pieces there were by women artists? I think maybe I'll just leave those questions open.

(Do note that my phone photography is not remotely doing justice to the brightness of the color palette in many of these works. Alas.)

Above, my favorite piece of all (I think! It's so hard to choose!) by Amy Sillman

Shio Kusaka

Joel Otterson

Sheila Hicks

 John Mason

  Louise Fishman

Suzanne McClelland

Dona Nelson