Friday night was the member’s party for SFMOMA’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. Plus the opening of the SECA awards show. I met some friends downtown after they got off work and we hung out at Stacy’s and Mel’s until the lower-level members were allowed in the door. Outside, it was quite festive. Inside, it was too crowded for my taste, but the mob was mostly confined to the lobby. It reminded me of when I used to go backpacking in Yosemite or King’s Canyon… the valley is hot, and jammed with people, but as soon as you start climbing, the air cools, the crowds thin, and it gets much quieter. Upstairs at SFMOMA, surprisingly few people were looking at the art. I spent a little time in the room that holds Jackson Pollock’s “Guardians of the Secret”, flanked by a couple of Philip Guston paintings: “White Painting I” on the left and “The Tormenters” on the right.

Travelling is a great experience for each and every one from children to adults. We will become so thrilled when we think of it. Travelling will educate us with many things like the climate changes, famous things about the place, history of the place, etc.… As we love travelling, we will be enthusiastic to know about the places. Likewise, trading also develops an interest in it among the traders when they yield profits at least once. To know more about trading, just click Crypto VIP Club.

These paintings are really growing on me. I’ve been coming back here, since SFMOMA reorganized the permanent collection, and I’ve become very fond of them. Before this encounter, I never liked any of Guston’s work and only a few early Pollocks. But I think I may be finding a way into their other work through these three paintings. (More about the SECA show in a day or two.)
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January 21, 2005 (Friday)

All day Thursday I worked on this painting, and I think it’s just about done. It’s a good description of my state of mind these days… heavy clouds lifting, light on the horizon (but sun is setting.) Anyway, I’m still trying to decide whether to paint in the power lines or not. Unfortunately this is not one of those times where you can just say, “What the heck, paint it – if you don’t like it, paint over it.” No, in this case, if I screw up the lines, or just don’t like the way they look, it would mean practically repainting the entire thing. Hence my hesitation. So, I’ll just set it to the side and work on one of the other paintings that are in progress. Sooner or later I’ll know which way to go with this one.

Tonight is the member’s party for SFMOMA’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration. Plus the opening of the SECA Awards show. Depending on how the painting is going, I might go downtown for that.

I got an email from local artist David Holmes about the SF International Art Expo, which I’m sharing with his permission:

Just wanted to say great job for your blog review of the SFIAE. It’s nice to hear an artist’s perspective.

I too was at the show Friday. Two of my pieces were on display at the Larry Evans booth. I agree that the show had some nice work, but overall it felt a bit half-hearted. One point worth mentioning is that fewer people attended the opening night gala because it was the same night as Michael Tilson Thomas’s big birthday bash. That apparently was the social event of the season, and siphoned off many of the art lovers and well-to-do.

I have one small correction for your review: The Sandow Birk painting was titled “The mocking of Jesus”, not Christ. I believe that makes a big difference though, since it’s meant to be a joke on the name of the wheelchair victim.

In other news, I went to New York in December for my first show there, at the DFN Gallery. It was a lot of fun, and I got a good response to my new painting “Broadway Hustle” (see attached). It is my biggest painting to date, 80″ x 32″.

My next scheduled show is in LA at the Keller Green Gallery (April-May). I’m trying to finish a new painting in time.

Keep up the good work!

David Holmes

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January 20, 2005 (Thursday)

For some reason, I couldn’t get online yesterday morning, and had to leave early, so I’m posting both Wed. & Thurs. entries now.

Today I’ll be in the studio painting all day. This means I turn the phone off, don’t answer the door, don’t turn on the computer. This is partly because I didn’t get to paint yesterday and I’m trying to make up that time. But mostly it’s because I have a constant sense of urgency about not “wasting” whatever time I have left. Last March I started a “reverse calendar” to remind myself of life’s brevity. I marked off a canvas with a grid of tiny boxes, each one representing one day, with enough “days” to last 20 years, which is about how long the insurance company thinks I’ll live. Each day, I paint in a box. The act of painting that box forces me to think about the best use of my time and/or energy… about what’s really important. Here’s what it looks like so far:

Hope you spend time on what’s important to you today, and I’ll be back tomorrow.

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January 19, 2005 (Wednesday)

Got two new paintings started, got a gallery that wants to see my work (taking a few pieces down today,) and suddenly people are buying my paintings… things are definitely looking up.

I have to leave the house today before the sun gets up (way before I’m usually moving) and go pick up some paintings from a coffee shop venue, take them to the gallery venue, and then take some paintings out of storage over to the coffee shop. Then I have to go see a guy about making a packing crate for shipping a painting back east. All on public transportation. So who knows when I’ll get back to the studio, but I’ll probably be too tired to paint. So I’ll paint twice as long tomorrow.

’till then, remember this:

“Ars longa, vita brevis.”

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January 18, 2005 (Tuesday)
Rupert Garcia (painter, printmaker):

“I went to San Francisco to become ‘an artiste’. I say it that way because that’s the image I had. You’re supposed to make drawings, somehow get discovered, have a show, and become rich and famous. Well, that was certainly a myth. I went to San Francisco, and I became a dishwasher at a restaurant in the Mission District. My roommates were going to San Francisco State. They had money to do that. I didn’t have any money whatsoever, so going to school was out of the question. I made drawings in our apartment, and I had no idea what you’re supposed to do to get representation. I didn’t even know you’re supposed to get representation. I just thought you go to San Francisco and things fall from the sky. I wound up joining the air force to get a job. I spent four years in the military, a year in Southeast Asia, and got out in May of ’66. When I got to San Francisco State, the anti war movement was developing, and no one knew I was a vet from the Vietnam war. I kept my mouth shut. When the strike occurred we had a big meeting with faculty and students to discuss what we could do to support the strike, which was going on as we were meeting. Posters seemed to be the answer for us. If the strike hadn’t occurred, I would not have made silkscreens. I stopped making easel paintings, because it didn’t feel connected to what was happening on and off campus. I became a full-time screen printer.”

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January 17, 2005 (Monday)
On Friday I spent about 5 hours at the San Francisco International Art Exposition. There didn’t seem to be as many art viewers as last year, but it maybe it’s just me. If the numbers are actually down, it might have something to do with the fact that some of the advertising (for instance, the ad in Gallery Guide) did NOT list the location of this show. Also, I noticed that when we entered the Ft. Mason complex, there were signs for the big print show, the book sale, and other events, but no banners or signs for the art expo, which was located in a building way, way in the back (not visible from the entrance or parking lot.) If I had been an out-of-towner, it seems unlikely that I would have found my way there. Luckily I live here, assumed it was the same building as last year, and knew how to get there.

Other than attendance, my general impressions of the show, as a whole:

Way more representational work, and I know I said that last year, but it seems to be increasing each year, which probably makes Kenneth Baker very unhappy (here’s his review of the show.)
I’m noticing a trend in figure painting toward fleshy nudes, choppily painted with square brushes, creating a pixilated effect, and I’m tired of it already.
Glossy color photos on the business cards are out – letter press business cards are in.
I didn’t notice too many out-and-out bad paintings, but there were too many third-rate Dali, Picasso, Warhol, and Toulouse-Lautrec prints.
What was the deal with that strange booth full of “antiquities” (terracotta stuff from archeological digs?)
I don’t usually see a lot of artists attending this show, but I did notice Guy Diehl, Chester Arnold, and Brian Goggin strolling the aisles.
There were a significant number of craft-like items, made from buttons, bows, embroidery, textile arts, painted furniture and the like (see button portrait below.)
Name/materials connections were popular. For instance, the Forum Gallery’s David Mach used matches to make animal head sculptures (“Golden Rhino” above right) and the Maxwell Davidson Gallery’s Darren Lago used Legos to make “paintings” (Mondrian series below.).

The local galleries looked great – Charles Campbell, Hackett Freedman, Catherine Clark, Paul Thiebaud, and Edith Caldwell collectively had an impressive collection of work by Bay Area artists from 1950 to 2004. That alone was worth the price of admission. (Photo of Charles Campbell booth at left and Edith Caldwell at right – click on either to see bigger image.)

Catherine Clark had a huge new painting by Chester Arnold – a self portrait of the artist working in his studio. It reminded me of the self-portrait series he did about a year ago, a wall full of tiny little jewels, each painting no bigger than 3″ square. I wanted to buy one of them, but had no money then, and no sign of any on the horizon. Remembering those paintings now, and feeling a little better funded these days, I asked the gallery staff if any of those little portraits were left, but no such luck.

Catherine Clark was also showing a Lisa Kokin portrait of a man and woman made from buttons and dental floss. (Photo at left – click for larger image.)
Julie Baker Fine Art, from Grass Valley, CA had some of the most amazing encaustics I’ve ever seen. Matt Duffin uses mostly black encaustic wax on a white board, with a modified scratchboard technique to make funny, eerie images. (Photo at right.)

Renee Bott (at left) from Paulson Press, in Berkeley, CA showed Chris Ballantyne’s prints (far left) as well as work by John Cage, Richard Diebenkorn, Judy Pfaff, Pat Steir, and Wayne Thiebaud Trillium Press was here, too. These places allow the artist to just do the drawing and they handle the technical and craft aspects of the printing.
Koplin Del Rio gallery from, West Hollywood, CA had a Sandow Birk painting, “The Mocking of Christ” (image at left.) He’s still working on his big Divine Comedy series, but took time out to for this painting. A traveling exhibition of Birk’s Divine Comedy will begin its run at the San Jose Museum of Art later this year.

Tim lowly is another Koplin Del Rio artist, a painter with dark, repressed tone that reminds me a bit of Andrew Wyeth. (Images at left, below Birk.)a
Steve Albert (also Koplin Del Rio) painted a beautiful refrigerator interior that looked like stained glass (image at right.)

There was actually lots more to write about and pictures to show, but it’s late, I’m tired and I want to start painting early tomorrow, so that’s all you’re getting for now.
ADDENDUM: Excellent coverage and photos of this event by Alan Bamberger at Artbusiness.com

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January 14, 2005 (Friday)
It’s sunny today and I should be painting, but I’m heading over to Ft. Mason to see the SF International Art Expo, which is a puffed up name for a collection of galleries that mostly hail from San Francisco (23), New York (13), and Chicago (5). There are 19 other US galleries. The “International” refers to the 3 galleries from Seoul, 1 from Berlin, and 1 from Calgary. But whatever they call it, I usually have a great time – lots of art, mostly West Coast and Pacific Rim influences, all in one place. Report on Monday.

Meanwhile here are a couple of thoughts for the weekend:

A couple of days ago I heard SF Opera conductor Donald Runnicles say that one of the reasons they had “Marriage of Figaro” on the upcoming schedule is that the musicians needed a regular dose of Mozart. He described it as being “like taking your car in for a tune up.”

I’ve been thinking of Plato’s cave for the last year. And Saramago’s cave. But it occurred to me yesterday, when the sun returned after a long absence, that we can’t look directly at the light. At least not while we inhabit these bodies. It would be physically harmful and cause blindness. The best we can do is focus on reflected light. And I’m wondering…. are reflections all that different from shadows?
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January 13, 2005 (Thursday)
Varnish Gallery was the site of the Laughing Squid party last night. (left – the Doggy Diner heads and art cars parked in front of the gallery.) I ran into a lot of people I know because so many artists host at the Squid. (photos below- yours truly with Bern Rauch, Phil Deal and Pam Heyda — I bumped into Betsy and Jerry from Little Fluffy Clouds on the way in, but didn’t get a good photo of them.) All the big squids and some of burning man was there.

This is a terrific gallery space. It’s a little old brick building on an alley behind SFMOMA – looks like it might have been a firehouse or garage at one time. It has a full bar, lots of seating, big skylights that look out on the taller buildings all around it. It was kinda trippy looking up through the skylights into the office windows of skyscrapers, with people still working … guys in lab coats and silver cowboy hats handed out magnetic flashing light party favors… good food & drink, good music, good conversation, free t-shirts, plus great art – what more could a person want?

The gallery is currently showing new work by Laurenn McCubbin. The opening reception is tomorrow (Friday the 14th) with a reading by Michelle Tea from her book, “Rent Girl,” which McCubbin illustrated. I noticed the book in the window of the Cartoon Art Museum as I was walking to the party. McCubbin’s work is installed in the ground floor main gallery, and the second floor balcony/loft holds work by a selection of other artists. Sculpture is all over the place, and it’s the focus of the gallery, but I tend to notice only the paintings when I’m here. I’ve noticed a high percentage of female artists here, and most of the work is representational, in the comix, graphic, illustration mode. More photos of the party below.
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<– left, above – yours truly with Bern Rauch and Phil Deal; left, below – Phil Deal and Pam Heyda

January 12, 2005 (Wednesday)

There’s an interesting and unique show at the California Historical Society now. “Poetry and its Arts” is a collaboration between the California Historical Society and the Poetry Center at SF State. The show is about collaborations between visual artists, musicians, and poets in San Francisco. There are over a 100 works of art jammed into this space, and as you might expect, many of them are text-rich. The paintings, drawings, photos and prints are hung within inches of each other, plus there are wordy wall-tags squeezed in between them. When I first started looking, I was having trouble telling the difference between the historical annotations, the translations of imbedded poetry, and the art. It was making me a little anxious, so I finally said the heck with it, and just ignored everything but the paintings. After the first go-round, I was able to go through again and check out some of the text, photos, posters, and book art. There are a couple of installations as well, including a messy room full of tapes and papers called “Collective Memory.” Besides the original art, there are posters and photos of cultural events from the 50’s and 60’s. You could spend a good long time here, if you planned to look at everything. Only three bucks admission – includes comfy chairs to sit in when your feet get tired. “Poetry and its Arts” will be up until April 16, 2005 (and it’s across the street from the Cartoon Art Museum.)

“Poetry and its Arts”
December 11, 2004 – April 16, 2005.
at the Poetry Center at the California Historical Society
678 Mission Street, San Francisco, California
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January 11, 2005 (Tuesday)

I finally finished that commission, and got started on a couple of my own paintings, so I’m feeling pretty chipper in spite of the continuing rain (extra lights help.) I managed to slip out during a short break in the deluge to attend a local artists’ meeting. Benny Shaboy, the publisher of studioNOTES and Art Opportunities Monthly was giving a lecture on “Finding and Winning Art Opportunities.” It was all good information, but nothing I hadn’t heard before. It occurred to me that this kind of advice, along with advice on “How to get into a gallery” and “How to make a living as an artist,” is similar to information on how to lose weight… we keep listening to new versions of the same old advice because we keep hoping there will be some easy magic step that make it happen.
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January 10, 2005 (Monday)
Judy Chicago (painter):

“When I was in graduate school, Billy Al Bengston came to teach. I used to follow him around, much to his amusement, and I really learned from him about what it means to be a serious artist. I went to his studio and I saw the seriousness with which he approached his work and the integrity: nothing else is important except art. Making money didn’t figure in at all. Being takens seriously as an artist was what it was all about. He taught me the “something is going to happen” philosophy. How do you live when you don’t have a steady job? Well, something’s going to happen. And if something didn’t happen, you were really up shit’s creek. You had to pay your rent.”
From book, “State of the Arts, California Artists Talk About Their Work,” by Barbara Isenberg, ©2000, William Morrow, ISBN 0-380-81072-7

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January 7, 2005 (Friday)
Continuing the train of thought from yesterday… as Marja-Leena Rathje and others have said, “Artists have embraced the internet as a tool that helps them create, promote, and sell their work.” Well, sort of. I look around at the community of artists here in the backyard of the dot-com phenomenon, and it seems to me that a minority of (visual) artists are even computer literate, never mind the internet. Of course, that could be an age thing. Most of the painters I’m friends with are in their 40s to 60s. Most of the artists who are using the internet effectively are in their 20s. But there are plenty of exceptions, and the internet helps me find them.

It also helps me recognize those aspects of the collective unconscious that show up in my work. For instance, my recent short rumination on “death in art” was a harbinger of my next series of paintings, and I would be tempted to blame it on recent events in my personal life, but then I see that Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof have done a few entries on Goth and the Grotesque in art shows they’ve seen (“Both confront death and horror, and they both have room for spiritual agendas.”) And artists like Mark Barry have written (regarding the recent tsunami) “how events creep into our thoughts and have a permanent effect on us in every way, from here on.”

I know there’s a connection between these things. The nature of that connection is hard to put into words but easy to put into painting. If only I didn’t have these other paintings to finish first. Now that I think about it, that could be the main advantage of verbal/written language: it’s quicker.

Which is where the blogosphere shines – it’s quick. In the last few days I’ve learned about Franklin Einspruch’s Drawing Project, Todd Gibson’s subway wrapping proposal, Charles T. Downey’s reflections on a 17th century artist/poet (These lying pigments facing you,with every charm brush can supply,set up false premises of color to lead astray the unwary eye; Here, against ghastly tolls of time, bland flattery has staked a claim, defying the power of passing years to wipe out memory and name.),Rachael B’s thoughts on “People Got hurt,” and Chris at Zeke’s Art-Not listings (thanks, Chris).

… which as Mark said, creeps into my thoughts and will have a permanent affect on my perceptions and renditions of the universe.

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January 6, 2005 (Thursday)
The art news I get from other bloggers may be personal, quirky, prejudiced or even inaccurate, but it’s always timely, usually interesting, and sometimes educational. I realized recently that I hardly look at the art magazines that arrive in my mailbox anymore. One quick flip-through to look at the pictures, and I’m usually done. So I’ve decided to let my art magazine subscriptions lapse. Except for “Modern Painters.” Even they seem to be going down the tubes, but I still have hopes that their good writing about PAINTING (you think? maybe?) will return. I certainly don’t need the print journals to keep up on who’s showing where, or what the show was like – the web is way out in front on that one. It seems like the print journals would have an advantage if they offered thoughtful, well researched articles, copiously illustrated. In the meantime, they have almost nothing to offer me.

Actually, I’m finding that some non-art publications (like Believer and Shambhala Sun) are running interesting art stories now and then. So it looks like it’s back to browsing bookstore magazine racks, looking for the occasional good story, whatever journal it happens to run in.

Jesse Hamlin of the SF Chronicle wrote a story yesterday about an art collector whose “hobby” is collecting work that can’t be sold. Steve Oliver, chairman of the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, has commissioned seventeen site-specific works from artists like Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, Andy Goldsworthy, Ursula Von Rydingsvard and Martin Puryear. The works are installed on his 100-acre ranch north of San Francisco. Cool story – read it here.

Speaking of art collectors, Tyler Green uncovered a new collector-blogger, Misti Hickling from Seattle. Here’s hoping she lasts longer than Paige West. I added Misti Hickling to my sidebar, which in case you hadn’t noticed, gets updated at least weekly. So, take a look now and then, eh?

One of the new features in the sidebar is a calendar of SF Visual Arts events. Miguel Sánchez mentioned that, “just looking at these lists makes me woozy from thinking of the effort involved.” Thanks, but it’s really not a big deal to copy and paste press blurbs from the gallery and museum sites I visit anyway, and putting them all in a single document makes it easier for me to keep track of the shows I want to see, so… I thought I’d share. It’s in no way a comprehensive list of everything there is to see in San Francisco.

More tomorrow about what I get from other bloggers (and for anyone who’s interested: sadly, no, I’m still not done with that painting.)

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January 5, 2005 (Wednesday)
I can’t believe I’m still working on this same (big commission) painting, but I think I can finish it tomorrow, if my arm holds out. Just a few more details to clean up. For inspiration and encouragement, I have another painting, just barely started, sitting next to me on the other easel in the studio. It’s a subject I really want to paint, and it’s at the fun stage. So far, I’ve only painted a loose line image – haven’t even done the transparent orange ground yet. It sits there, beckoning to me…. but I’m going to need a day or two of rest before getting back to it. My right arm is really getting wrecked – now the elbow is aching. Maybe I can start the underpainting for the next canvas with my left arm/hand. Years ago I read somewhere that writing and drawing with the non-dominant hand created additional neural pathways in the brain (why, exactly, that’s a good thing, I forget.) Anyway, just for the hell of it, I started to practice drawing and writing with my left hand on a regular basis. It’s an interesting process, and I could see real improvement after a while, but it’s not good enough for finished work.

OK, back to work…
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January 4, 2005 (Tuesday)
Last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle ran a pink pages feature, called “2005 Critics Choices Forecast,” to report on “what looks good” on the local arts scene in the coming year. This included three film columns, two music columns, and one column each for dance, theater, architecture, and “pop culture.” Not a single word on on visual arts. So, in an attempt to light a candle rather than curse the darkness, here’s my 2005 San Francisco Arts Prevision.

January 2005
Fraenkel Gallery:
“Irving Penn” Opens January 6 – through February 12.

Varnish Gallery:
“Rent Girl” illustrations and other art by Laurenn McCubbin, January 11 to January 29.
Reading by Michelle Tea (author of “Rent Girl”)at the opening on Friday, January 14th, 2005

Ft. Mason:
San Francisco International Art Exposition from January 14 – 17.
Featuring more than 100 international galleries representing more than 2,000 artists, the usual eclectic collection of modern and contemporary artwork.
also at this same time & place:
“Prints San Francisco 2005” from January 14 to 16.

Asian Art Museum:
“Sui Jianguo: The Sleep of Reason” from January 14 to April 24.
An exhibition of about a dozen large-scale works by one of the best-known sculptors in China today, Sui Jianguo. A highlight of the exhibition will be a large red sculpture of a dinosaur (I heard a rumor that this will be installed out in front of the museum?)

Newmark Gallery:
“Dutch Masters Now” opens January 18th
Four exceptional Dutch abstract artists – Hans Vanhorck (1952,) Sjer Jacobs (1963,) Paula Evers (1942,) and Theo den Boon (1944).

SF Arts Commission Gallery:
“Reflecting Buddha: Images by Contemporary Photographers” from January 19 – January 29.

Legion of Honor:
“Bonjour Monsieur Courbet!” from January 22 to April 3.
The Bruyas Collection of 19th-century French Realism from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier. Master-works by Courbet, Corot, Delacroix, Gericault, Millet, and Rousseau.

Cartoon Art Museum:
“Small Press Spotlight featuring Garret Izumi” from January 22 to April 16.
Garret Izumi has been self-publishing since the early 1990s. His work includes photography books, comics and letterpress books. Each book has focused on varying themes ranging from memories to suburbia to life in the nuclear age. In 1994, Izumi received the Xeric Grant to self-publish Strip Down. Izumi’s latest book, Three Grey Women, is a letterpress accordion-style book. Three Grey Women is the retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Perseus and Medusa. The story explores sight and vision and how our world is defined by what we see.

February 2005
San Jose Museum of Art:
“Girl Power!” from February 5 to June 5.
Bay Area artist Laurie Long, investigates the construction of female identity, and the implications of female performance within societal codes—in a lighthearted and easily accessible manner. This exhibition will feature work from a number of series including, Becoming Nancy Drew in which she physically transformed herself into the famous girl sleuth from children’s literature and placed herself in photographic tableaux based on engravings from the books; Dating Surveillance Project, where Long wore a coat rigged with a concealed miniature video camera and microphone to record her dates; and The Secret History of Goddess Sites, which documents places in Europe where female deities were worshipped.

SFMOMA:
“Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective” from February 12 to June 5.
A 40 year retrospective of San Francisco resident painter Robert Bechtle. A photorealist, Bechtle painted streetscapes, family scenes, portraits of cars, many scenes of residential SF life.

also at SFMOMA:
“Jeremy Blake: Winchester” from February 19 to August 14.
The Winchester Mystery House, in San Jose, is the inspiration for Jeremy Blake’s suite of digital animations, “The Winchester Trilogy.” Employing handpainted imagery, film footage, vector graphics, and sound in a process the artist calls “timebased painting,” Blake offers an empathetic experience of Winchester’s madness. Representational images morph into kinetic inkblots and back again. Traditional modes of storytelling are questioned, as are the relationships between reality and simulation. Shown together for the first time, Winchester (2002), 1906 (2003), and Century 21 (2004) are presented as a triptych in three adjacent projections.

Asian Art Museum:
“The Kingdom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand 1350–1800” from February 18 to May 8.
Classical art from Thailand, features 87 rare works from collections in Thailand, Europe, and the United States. Includes stone and bronze Buddha images, sculptures of Hindu deities, figural and decorative wood carvings, temple furnishings, illuminated manuscripts, jewelry, and textiles. Among the highlights are gold ceremonial objects from a temple crypt sealed in 1424, a full-sized temple pediment, a 12-foot-tall preaching throne, and sections of royally commissioned temple doors with inlaid mother of pearl.

Southern Exposure:
“5th Annual Monster Drawing Rally” on February 18th from 6-10:30 pm
A live drawing and fundraising event featuring over 100 artists

March 2005
Legion of Honor:
21st Annual “Bouquets to Art ” from March 8 to March 11.
Features the work of more than one hundred noted Bay Area florists and designers. Each participant selects a work of art from the Legion of Honor in advance, and creates a floral tribute to that painting or sculpture.

Cantor Center at Stanford:
“Guardian of the Flame: Art of Sri Lanka” from March 2 to June 12
First major exhibition in the United States to present the entire history of Sri Lankan art, from the Anuradhapura Period (269 BC–993 AD), up to the conquest of the Kingdom of Kandy by the British in 1815. In addition to fine images from the classical period of Sri Lankan civilization (400–1235), Guardian of the Flame highlights the artistic achievements of the Kandyan period (1597–1815) with superb masterpieces, dispelling the popular belief that no great sculpture was produced in Sri Lanka after the fall of Polonnaruva in 1235.

April 2005
Oakland Museum:
“Plant Portraits: California Legacy of A.R. Valentien” from April 9 to August 14.
In 1908, artist Albert R. Valentien was commissioned to paint a series of California wildflowers. For the next 10 years the project became his life’s passion as he traveled throughout the state. While not trained as a botanist, Valentien created remarkably accurate and detailed illustrations, which also convey a striking freshness and spontaneity. The exhibition features approximately 80 works selected from the more than 1,000 watercolors Valentien completed.

also at the Oakland Museum:
“Sculpture by Bruce Beasley: A 45-Year Retrospective” from April 16 to July 31.
Retrospective of work by Oakland artist Bruce Beasley. The exhibition, covering more than four decades of his abstract sculpture, includes approximately 75 works in cast iron and aluminum, cast acrylic, cast and fabricated bronze and stainless steel. A tableau of the artist’s studio, with examples of his collection of animal skulls and other source material, is also on display.

May 2005
SF Contemporary Jewish Museum:
Invitational show “Scents of Purpose” from May 04 to Sept 05. Artists interpret the spice box. This exhibit will be at the current, interim, building on Steuart Street The new building, by Daniel Libeskind, which has been under construction for four years, is still in progress at the site across from Yerba Buena Gardens.

Hunter’s Point Artists Studios:
“Spring Open Studios” May 7th and 8th (weekend)
Annual group show at the old Navy base, which has housed artists’ studios for many years. A huge housing project is going to be built there and it starts this year.

June 2005
Sunset Artists Society:
“Hall Of Flowers Show” June 4th and 5th (weekend)
Annual group show in Golden Gate Park, at the SF County Fair building next to Strybing Botanical Gardens.

July & August:
Some galleries shut down, others hold “Staff Picks” group shows, and some do “Introductions” shows. Good time to do some aimless browsing.

September 2005:
Cantor Center at Stanford:
“Revolutionary Tides: The Art of the Political Poster 1789-1989” from Sept. 14 to Dec. 31.
Posters from New Deal America, the Soviet Union of Stalin’s Five-Year Plans, China’s Cultural Revolution, the protest movements of the 1960s, and Ayatollah Khomeni’s Iran. The exhibition features work by world renowned graphic artists such as John Heartfield, Gustav Klutsis, Xanti Schawinsky, and Norman Rockwell and includes art ranging from works by the Italian Futurist Sesto Canegallo to a pair of Andy Warhol’s 1970s silkscreened portraits of communist leader Mao Tse-Tung. The exhibition is organized into three broad areas—Figures, Numbers, and Symbols—each of which surveys a particular graphic convention, iconographic element, or theme.

October 2005:
San Francisco:
SF Open Studios – An all-month-long, city-wide art event. Artists open their studios on the weekends and a giant group show is held at the SomArts Gallery.

M.H. de Young Museum:
The museum finally reopens on October 15th in a new $202 million building designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. First show: “Daughter of Re: Hatshepsut, King of Egypt” from October 15, 2005 to February 5, 2006.
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January 3, 2005 (Monday)

Hey! One year (plus) of blogging and I’m still alive. Actually, I started this thing in Oct. 2003, but the first few months I was groping in the dark, and only posting once or twice a week, so I’m not counting that time. It’s been more fun than I’d anticipated, and useful too, in terms of exercising the part of my brain that was getting dusty and creaky from lack of use.

So, I’m planning to keep at it, posting 4 to 6 times a week about things I’m working on, shows I’ve seen, art issues that come to mind. And interviews, more interviews! Those were a blast, and I have have lots of ideas for interviews I’d like to do.

This blog has replaced the journal writing that I used to do in sketchbooks and notepads. But the blog is not as personal as the sketchbooks. I seem to be self-censoring, for obvious reasons, but maybe I can loosen up a little bit – I’ll try.

I’m disappointed that I’m still wrangling this thing with an HTML editor (GoLive.) I was hoping I’d be posting in PHP by now, or at least using some kind of blogging software. I’ve tried Blogger, Movable Type, Squarespace, Bloxsom, iBlog, and a few other programs, leaving nascent test blogs scattered all over the virtual landscape. For a variety of technical reasons, none of them worked for me. Next week I’ll be seeing some of the Laughing Squids – maybe they’ll have some advice for me.

Painting in 2004 was about hiding out from the Trickster. I didn’t paint any figures this year (except for one incognito self-portrait.) But that’s about to change. 2005 is going to be about Space,Time, and Humanity, personified. It’s a relationship story. The planning and photography are almost done and the painting commences any day now. It will take most of the year to paint, and I have no idea where to exhibit it… which is another project for my spare time this year: get on the stick about finding another gallery.

And that’s as close as I’ll ever get to New Year’s resolutions.