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The glitterati and art world powerful were in evidence Wednesday night at the SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) reception at SFMOMA, celebrating the biennial award for local talent. The museum honored this year’s choices with a more high profile exhibition presentation than usual, and the artwork was correspondingly slicker, more framed up, and made a great first impression. The artists chosen are among our best and brightest: Trevor Paglen, Tauba AuerbachJordan Kantor, and Desiree Holman. As someone who has been especially interested in Paglen’s work, I was pleased to find that I can delve into more about what interests me most about it, as he has a new book that expands on some of what inspires his visual art: “Blank Spots on the Map, the Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World”


As one gallerist at the SECA reception said, there was nothing on the floor, no mess, nothing to sweep up, and nothing to make anybody upset. In what is almost an alternative universe, at the same time, over in Oakland at Mills College we were missing a lecture by Keith Bowdwee, who may be an example of an artist not quite “safe” enough for SECA. I like his blog a lot, and you can get a good idea of his interests and find a link to his artwork there. He and his practice remind me of this quote attributed to Marcel Duchamp: “I don’t believe in art. I believe in artists.”

- Cheryl Meeker [Friday, February 13th, 2009]

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