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The imminence of death is said to concentrate the mind; perhaps the aura of mortality that hangs around the Slaughterhouse Space (which features floor drains marked “blood” and “water”) infuses artists with the courage to do the things they’d like to do that they haven’t done yet. At least two of the artists in The Seduction of Duchamp: Bay Area Artists’ Response, which opened last night, showed firsts. Richard Berger, a sculptor who first came to prominence in the 1960s, contributed his first video piece, and Rebecca Goldfarb, a new generation sculptor, showed her first outdoor work. Of course, the inspiration might be that this Healdsburg space, a former abbatoir, is just offbeat and off-the-beaten-track enough to make artists feel experimental, while close enough to the central Bay Area to attract a rich mix of established and emerging artists. The exhibition, which was curated by Hanna Regev, continues through November 8. November 7 will find the gallery hosting another first, a performance auction conducted by Rodney Austin and Justin Hoover.

Disintegrations, at Johansson Projects has another highlight of October’s exhibitions. Andrew Benson shows two videos in which the original footage is reprocessed by a system he calls “Slorp.” The result is remarkably like watching a fire or a waterfall, with constant movement forming and reforming images that flicker out before the eye can rest on them.

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, October 4th, 2009]

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