Posts archive: November 2004

Paintings and drawings by Jeremiah Maddock, and sculpture by Noah Lang, are currently on view at the Stay Gold Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. There is a raw beauty to Maddock’s work. Lyrical forms, many vaguely figurative, emerge from the surface of the paper and canvas with the emotive complexity and ambiguity of a dream. Radio and microwave towers, so ubiquitous they fade into the periphery of our awareness, are brought to our attention by Lang’s humorous, sculptural works. Meticulously carving toothpicks and bamboo skewers, he creates delightfully low-tech miniatures of these high-tech structures.

—Susan Magnus

- Meredith Tromble [Monday, November 29th, 2004]

In a group show at the smaller Deitch space, Misaki Kawai shows an inventive new installation. She built a cutaway mountain where there is a group of alien/human/animal creatures searching for the reclusive Yeti. There are five of the creatures flying away from the mountain on hoverbikes leaving trails of smoke curving through the gallery. This is all rendered in a variety of materials, in a minature fashion. The little documents in their lab that say things like “Wanted, Yeti” are the size of a postage stamp. The work has a kind of Disney/science museum feel, but this first response is undercut, the situation made more complicated, by the ramshackle construction and underlying narrative. There has been a lot of talk of escapism in the post-election world, and this is the kind of work that for better or worse provides it.

- Asha Schechter [Wednesday, November 24th, 2004]

Ten years of cutting-edge exhibitions is something to celebrate. Gallery 16 observes this important milestone with a filled to the brim exhibition featuring many the artists shown over the last decade. Also commemorating this event are two new releases from Gallery 16 editions—a portfolio by Libby Black and Glen Helfand and a suite of prints by Harrell Fletcher.
Opening reception is Friday, November 19 from 6-9 pm with live music by Virgil Shaw. More info.

- amy berk [Thursday, November 18th, 2004]

Screened Saturday at the Exploratorium was Anastomosis, a 1982 experimental film about the human hand by Andrej Zdravic. With the cooperation of surgeons at Ralph K. Davies Medical Center in San Francisco and five of their patients, Zdravic filmed reconstructive microsurgery on damaged hands, then intercut the surgery footage with interviews with the hands’ owners. I happened to see Anastomosis a few days after screening Stan Brakhage’s 1971 morgue masterpiece, The Art of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes for my students, several of whom departed rather hastily.  But Anastomosis beat out The Art of Seeing by many points on my personal gross-out scale. It wasn’t the accident stories (a water-skiing fall that took off a thumb, a buzz saw that ate four fingers, an explosion that blasted away half a hand and, perhaps scariest of all, a baggage conveyer belt that crushed every digit.) And it wasn’t the microsurgery close-ups. It was when surgeons sliced off perfect toes that I flinched. (The toes were transplanted to a hand as replacement thumbs or fingers.)

Formally the two films are similar, with many lingering close-ups of human interiors framed as colorful, semi-abstract compositions. But the emotions stirred by The Art of Seeing fall in the “sublime” category—awesome, overpowering, relentless. Anastomosis feels, in comparison, almost cozy. As I was considering why this might be, I realized the effect of the interviews, which place the surgical scenes in personal narratives. This reduces the terror aroused by the blood, fat and ripped muscles on view. Brakhage gives us no story to accompany the bodies we see being autopsied in the morgue, simply allowing us to watch without an explanation for our minds to latch on to.

This afternoon at 2:00 the Exploratorium will screen another medically-related experimental film, Barbara Hammer’s Sanctus, a re-working of scientific x-ray films from the 1950s. For more information, call (415) 563-7337.

- Meredith Tromble [Saturday, November 13th, 2004]

This Saturday, November 13th, Visual Aid hosts it’s 11th annual Big Deal Art Sale featuring over 650 artworks selling for $110 to benefit artists with life-threatening illnesses.  A silent auction featuring works by many Bay Area luminaries and a raffle of goodies round out this great event for a worthy cause.

People have been known to camp out overnight for this first come first served event, so get there early. Ticket sales start at 3 pm and doors open at 4 pm.  The sale runs from 5-8 pm at SOMArts Gallery at 934 Brannan Street in San Francisco. Admission is $25 and that includes hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and beverages.

See Visual Aid for more info, or call (415) 777-8242.

- amy berk [Wednesday, November 10th, 2004]

Countering the mainstream media’s ongoing distortion of reality are these quotes from a letter from MoveOn:

The Wall Street Journal points out, Bush’s victory was “the narrowest win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.”

All of the media hullabaloo about the “missing youth vote” is false, too, by the way. More people between 18 and 30 turned out this year than ever before, even though the total percentage of young people in the population is smaller than it was in previous races. And the youth age bracket voted emphatically for Kerry—a good sign that future generations are more progressive, that history continues to move in our direction.

And there’s a historical precedent for believing this is a beginning, not an end. In 1972, Richard Nixon ran against George McGovern, a progressive populist with a great message about stopping the Vietnam War. McGovern lost in a landslide, winning literally only one state even though the Watergate scandal was swirling around Nixon. But a year and a
half later, Nixon resigned; two years later, reformist Democrats won back control of both legislative chambers.

- Cheryl Meeker [Friday, November 5th, 2004]

Eminem’s new video, Mosh. Download it, watch it, no matter what your musical proclivities. You won’t be sorry.

- Meredith Tromble [Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004]

From the editors