Posts archive: June 2003

because almost none of the principles were on hand last night for the 7:00 opening of Breathless, organized by painter Jackie Cooper for a space-in-transition at 608 Folsom. That was okay, as there was a lot of art to see. Sabina Ott’s video projection onto a sculpted, irridescent wall opened the show, a harbinger of the lively film/video program curated by Enid Baxter Blader. Colin Cook’s goofball New Age Hypnotism mesmerized me into sitting down for the program. Micol Hebron and Michael Dee were also represented by engaging shorts; I was too impatient to wait for Patty Chang’s Eels but it sounds promising. Hands down the most “breathless” piece was Joe Mangrum’s installation, a kind of ziggarut surrounded by hanging chains of bright green tribbles made of wheat grass. I never knew wheat grass could stink, but in the hot hot enclosure it was enthusiastically sucking oxygen and replacing it with noxious odors. Even that was okay, since the space featured viewing windows between rooms. I parked next door to contemplate the tribbles and found myself in Julia Gandrud’s film installation Grazing Unicorn, which was both a bonus and a tease. The titular beast appeared briefly around the edges of what otherwise seemed to be a meditation on aging film stock. Gandrud’s best piece, however, was in the back room, a trailing chain of delicate drawings (yes, another chain, mini-themes and cross-references like this cropped up throughout the show) called Home. Breathless is on view for one week, through July 3.

- Meredith Tromble [Friday, June 27th, 2003]

Two works in the generally excellent warum! exhibition at the Martin Gropius Bau stand out. Patrick Tosani’s “Geographie” series is a set of large photos of the mottled tops of snare drums. The marks left from long usage turn each of the drums into a unique moonscape that tells a silent story of years of noise. Dennis Adams’ “Outtake” is one extended shot of the frame-by-frame, hand-to-hand sidewalk distribution of stills from Ulrike Meinhof’s long-suppressed film “Bambule.” The images, which show a chase down a corridor and are fascinating even before you know the history behind them, and the simple method in which they are conveyed to passerby and later to us in the documentation of this act seem both to disrupt the normal methods of cinematic conveyance and the usual reading of the Meinhof’s later, more notorious history. Through August 3rd.

Not quite as unsettling but just as arresting is Ortec’s street-level display of samples of rail track segments in Cologne’s Eigelstein district. Arranged behind a pair of glass doors that once served as the main entrance to the Ortec’s office, the display is intended to show the company wares but lacks the assurance of a normal product showcase or the verve derived from some other intended purpose. Despite such fetching names as “Whisper Rail,” “Acoustical Loadmaster,” and “VIBRALast,” and liberal use of yellows and reds in the samples themselves, the products look less like components of a solid rail network and more like slabs of meat. The overall feeling is one of great unease, as if the sell-by date for those cuts was fast approaching. Open 24 hours a day, more or less indefinitely.

- Ed Osborn [Thursday, June 26th, 2003]

with an edgy new space in an equally edgy ‘hood. Rx Gallery opened its doors last night with an exhibition of video works called Warped and Wrapped : The changing shape of Video Art. Although the work was mixed, the energy of the space (and its directors) was fresh and palpable. The show’s up until July 26th.

- Ella Delaney [Friday, June 20th, 2003]

Ant Farm co-founder Doug Michels died in Australia last week at the age of 59, reports the Houston Chronicle. Michels, who was alone, was climbing to a whale observation point at Eden Bay near Sydney, Australia at the time of his death. An Ant Farm retrospective scheduled for 2004 at the Berkeley Art Museum will acquaint a new generation with Cadillac Ranch, Media Burn, and other exploits of the collective Michels founded with three other artists in 1968.

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, June 19th, 2003]

San Francisco’s CCAC is dropping the final “C”... trustees voted last month to rename the school, which has been known as the “California College of Arts and Crafts” since 1908, the “California College of Art.”

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, June 19th, 2003]

If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for great (free) online content, and these days, it’s getting harder and harder to find. Thanks to the librarians, I just found a peer reviewed journal about the internet that’s been publishing since 1996. First Monday is international in scope and focuses on issues around the internet. Current offerings include an analysis of copyright extension - the law and the recent supreme court ruling, Eldred v. Ashcroft.

- Ella Delaney [Tuesday, June 17th, 2003]

As artists, our sense perceptions are incredibly important to us, although we may take them for granted. For animals they may be even more important: “A deaf whale is a dead whale”, according to one marine scientist. On May 5, 2003 when the Navy tested active sonar in the San Juan Islands, human witnesses on an orca whale watching vessel felt pain in their ears even without being in the water. Find out about what the Navy is doing to strand whales and dolphins on beaches, as their own studies show, with hemorrhaging around the dead whales’ eyes and ears, indicating severe acoustic trauma. Attend a historic hearing at the Federal Building in SF on June 30, or find out about other ways to make a difference at this critical juncture.

- Cheryl Meeker [Thursday, June 12th, 2003]

If you haven’t already seen it, better head on over to Manolo Garcia Gallery and check out Libby Black’s amazing Louis Vuitton store while you still can. Informed sources tell Stretcher that soon after the show’s spectacular opening, the Gallery and Black were paid a visit from representatives of Louis Vuitton— who had heard the buzz about the show and were not amused with Black’s handiwork. After threatening legal action to shut the show down immediately for copyright violation, a compromise was apparently struck whereby the show will be allowed its full run, but the work will never be allowed to be shown again. One wonders what the Vuitton brand police might think of this artist’s work?

Libby Black, Manolo Garcia Gallery, 136 Fillmore; 863-6380. Call for hours. Through June 15.

- David Lawrence [Wednesday, June 11th, 2003]

Writer and international art world figure Pierre Restany, who contributed to Domus and ran Ars for many years, has died. Enrico Pedrini, writing for New York Arts Magazine, says “Pierre Restany will be recalled in the art history as the founder of the group of Nouveaux Realistes in Milan and Paris in 1960.”

- Jeannine McDonald [Wednesday, June 11th, 2003]

An arts professional from a prominent organization brought a friend to (Stretcher blogger) Tucker Nichols’ show at Linc. Her friend told me, “I like this art… and I hate art!” Last call for these intelligent conceptual drawings with a humorous bent. Through June 15 - at Linc Real Art.

- Cheryl Meeker [Tuesday, June 10th, 2003]

Self Portrait in an Ant Heap, a performance by Swiss artist Yann Marussich in which he spends up to five hours a day with 2,000 ants crawling over his body, has been yanked from the Custard Factory Gallery in Birmingham, England after viewers complained that 20,000 ants were not enough to cover Marussich’s genitals. “In Paris, this is considered normal,” the artist told a Swiss Info reporter.

- Jeannine McDonald [Friday, June 6th, 2003]

Creative Capital, one of the few foundations that supports actual artists instead of other institutions, has posted an online showcase for the fruits of their money. Among the highlights: Chicano/Chicana, Latino/Latina, Hispanic/Hispana, Tech TV by Los Cybrids.

- Meredith Tromble [Friday, June 6th, 2003]

Willful Infringement, a new documentary about fair use and copyright law. The producer, Jed Horovitz created the film after he was sued by Disney for $110 million for distributing material created to promote Disney movies(!) The 60 minute documentary is available for purchase and preview on the site.

- Ella Delaney [Thursday, June 5th, 2003]

Those of you who’ve weathered the dot com and dot bomb will remember Blasthaus’ SOMA space and the events they held there. After much bureaucratic haggling and a long stint of virtual operation, they’ve opened a new venue in the T-loin. On June 19th Rx Gallery will debut their inaugural show, a month-long video exhibition called Warped and Wrapped : The Changing Shape of Video Art.

- Ella Delaney [Wednesday, June 4th, 2003]

In case you missed it last week, you still have one more chance to catch Cremaster 3, the fifth and final installment of Matthew Barney’s epic Cremaster Cycle. There seems to be no middle ground between admirers and detractors of Barney’s work. But whether or not you agree with New York Times chief art critic Michael Kimmelman’s assessment of Barney’s importance, for sheer over-the-top spectacle, Cremaster 3 is hard to beat. Chuck Stephens of the SF Bay Guardian captures it best in this clever review. Screening this Thursday at the ornate Castro Theater, you’ll feel like you’re sitting in a living extension of the baroque world of Barney’s film. Cremaster 3, Thursday June 5, Castro Theater.

- David Lawrence [Wednesday, June 4th, 2003]

Then sign this petition calling for congress to draft legislation protecting and expanding the public domain.

- Ella Delaney [Wednesday, June 4th, 2003]

The brand-new Manolo Garcia Gallery began life with a blockbuster opening exhibition. The debut show will be hard to top: Libby Black replicated a Louis Vuitton store, complete with finely crafted vitrines showcasing replica Vuitton accessories, all of which are made of painted paper. The champagne reception was impeccable and was presided over by the equivalent of Louis Vuitton sales girls and security staff. From a distance the merchandise looks like the real thing, but seen up close, the handbags, shoes, and pocketbooks create that woozy frisson of questioning-the-moment experience I look for in viewing artworks. And of course, letting the air out of the balloon of the class status of the designer items makes it that much more enjoyable. Manolo Garcia Gallery, 136 Fillmore; 863-6380. Call for hours. Through June 15.

- Cheryl Meeker [Wednesday, June 4th, 2003]

The Chapman Brothers, Willie Doherty, Anya Gallacio, and Grayson Perry get the nod from this year’s Turner Prize committee. The winner of the prestigious (some would say infamous) award will be announced in December.

- Jeannine McDonald [Monday, June 2nd, 2003]

Today, the FCC (headed by Colin Powell’s son Michael) voted to loosen regulations regarding ownership of media outlets. Expect major “media con” - consolidation of the information you see and hear into fewer and fewer voices.

- Ella Delaney [Monday, June 2nd, 2003]

From the editors