Once upon a time, long ago, before artists had much use of the internet, Jack Hanley Gallery was one of the only places we could go in San Francisco to see cutting edge contemporary art made by our colleagues in other parts of the world… well, in europe, mostly. Although I am sorry to see the gallery close, I am so grateful for the 20 years of Jack Hanley’s work both in bringing wonderful artwork to us and in exposing a handful of San Francisco artists to a wider audience. The last opening reception will be April 3, 2010, from 6-9. The final show features Tauba Auerbach, Carter, Ajit Chauhan, Chris Johanson, Ed Loftus, Alicia McCarthy, Shaun O’Dell, Leslie Shows, and Kal Spelletich.
Wall Drawing, which opened at the Hosfelt Gallery Saturday, is a winner, and a confluence of several improbable events. Improbable event # 1: Gerhard Mayer, known for his small ink drawings, scaled one up and executed it as a large-scale, commercially fabricated vinyl transfer applied directly to the wall. The allure of the drawing not only survived this translation, it dialed up, too. Improbability # 2: Marietta Hoferer, who generally works with soft, neutral colors decided to experiment and turned in an eye-popping wall of red and blue stripes. And Improbability # 3, the most unlikely of all, unknown Wendy Hough showed up at the gallery as the show was being installed asserting that her work should be included—and to the gallery’s credit, they took a look and agreed. Hough’s disturbingly restless waves counterbalance the cool, delicate structure of Sol Lewitt’s composition and an evanescent contribution by Jim Campbell. While you’re at Hosfelt, check out Richard Shaw|New Works at the Braunstein/Quay Gallery across the way. The solid crush of well-wishers at Shaw’s opening made contemplation of the works challenging, but all those well-wishers were there for good reason. Shaw continues to deliver assemblages that have tender feelings for everyday life shining through the witty surfaces.
Wallace Berman, the quintessential “Beat” artist, conducted his career by never getting his work out, according to his son Tosh Berman. Speaking to the L@ te Friday Night partiers at Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives (BAMPFA), Tosh told stories about his father and screened his movie Aleph twice, once silent as it was made, and once with a soundtrack by John Zorn. During his lifetime Berman showed the funky 8mm movie to only a few friends, projecting it on the refrigerator. The footage is rhythmically punctuated by Berman’s most famous image: a hand holding a transistor radio, infilled with an image from popular culture. The moving image infilling the refrigerator door surely echoed in the minds of the people who saw it. Last night’s screening was part of Issue 4 of the Skank Bloc Bologna series organized by Anne Colvin.
Superb curation energized the program of short films at SFMOMA’s first “Now Playing” event last night. Even viewers familiar with the works, which were drawn from the museum’s collection, found fresh excitement in viewing them together. A trio of experiments with scrambled signals set the pace, sparks flying as Bruce Conner’s Breakaway (1966) rubbed up against Pipilotti Rist’s I’m Not The Girl Who Misses Much (1986), which segued into the Vasulka’s Violin Power (1970-78). Smart juxtapositions kept the program moving right up to the climactic debut of a new work by Kota Ezawa, Beatles Ŭber California (2010), in which Ezawa made the Beatles play the Dead Kennedy’s anthem California Ŭber Alles.