Has it been a year already? Do you find yourself paging through your planner -- sorry, thumbing through the digital calendar of your smart phone -- in disbelief? Resist the urge to panic. Embrace that runaway train feeling that is the swift passage of time by looking forward to a fall season of spectacular and intimate visual arts offerings. And when you stand in awe or pleasure, enjoy the regenerative moments, the exciting moments and the expansive ones. Here are ten to-dos for the contents of your fall calendar.
Pablo Guardiola, Maintenance Yard
Sept. 5 – Oct. 11
Romer Young Gallery
1240 22nd Street, San Francisco
Puerto Rican artist Pablo Guardiola presents his second solo exhibition at Romer Young after a month-long residency in the gallery space. Guardiola's works explore the markers of geography through historical figures, tracing plot lines from the Bay Area to the Caribbean and back, emblematic of Guardiola's own personal trajectory. Expect a colorful puzzle of layered photographic imagery featuring non traditional narratives, Sir Francis Drake and San Francisco's own Dewey Monument.
The Way Somewhere
Sept. 5 – Oct. 5
Royal NoneSuch Gallery
4231 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
Seeking work with aesthetic and conceptual similarities to her own, guest curator Vanessa Marsh presents a group exhibition with Sarah Applebaum, Bessma Khalaf, Abe McNally, and Adam Thorman. Touching on "memory, landscape, the cosmic and the personal," this gathering showcases some of the most exciting emerging artists in the Bay Area in Royal NoneSuch's intimate Telegraph Avenue space. The gallery's fall season continues with solo shows by Sofia Córdova and Rhonda Holberton, both sure to be excellent, both not to be missed.
Kim Miskowicz, Formation
Sept. 5 – Oct. 11
480 23rd Street, Oakland
The always-excellent Krowswork pushes the form of video art once again with a solo exhibition by Kim Miskowicz. Projecting videos onto the built-up surfaces of landscape paintings, Miskowicz plays with the idea of solidity and ephemerality, highlighting, concealing and competing against the painted ground. Her works cite geologic formations and the speed at which such landscapes are experienced to "manifest a poetic sense of travel… against beautifully rendered backdrops that trace the contours of our collective dream." No ticket required.
Sept. 13 – Dec. 14
Mills College Art Museum
5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland
The Mills College Art Museum exhibits drawings, scale models, photographic studies, material samples and other elements from Sarah Oppenheimer's studio practice and research process. The show promises a glimpse into the extensive behind-the-scenes work that goes into fabricating her dizzying interventions into architectural spaces. Second only to the pleasure of experiencing an actual Oppenheimer installation, this presentation provides a primer for any would-be light and space artists, fans of optical illusions, or anyone interested in the research and development phases of a contemporary art practice.
The Lab/or Play
2948 16th Street, San Francisco
Under the helm of brand new executive director Dena Beard, The LAB will reopen in September with a project that is both a renovation and a commemoration of all types of "invisible labor," artistic and otherwise. Beard's ambitious plan to return The LAB to its "original raw identity as a union meeting hall" will also include 3-4 large-scale artist commissions a year, film, performance and literary events, along with the continuation of sound shows via Godwaffle Noise Pancakes. This marks a new chapter in the life and history of The LAB, and ushers in a self-reflexive time looking to the past and future of what it means to be a vital and necessary non-profit arts space in the Bay Area.
Seth Koen & Gary Petersen
Oct. 4 – Nov. 2
c2c project space
1695 18th Street #413, San Francisco
"To make sense" of his bi-coastal life, artist Kirk Stoller created c2c project space in his San Francisco apartment almost one year ago, pairing one Bay Area and one New York-based artist for each installation. Making creative use of his transitory life and opening up a visual line of communication between the two coasts, Stoller's project is an incredible attempt to reach out to and widen the scope of our often insular art scene. The next show features local Seth Koen's delicate sculptures and vibrant paintings from New Jersey-based painter Gary Petersen.
Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, All Exit
Oct. 25, 2014 - Jan. 3, 2015
2300 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland
If you've never seen a Jennifer and Kevin McCoy installation in person, this is the moment to fulfill that lifelong dream. If this is not a lifelong dream, reconsider your lifelong dreams. Using miniatures, the husband and wife team create "undersized worlds" for video documentation, complete with figures, architecture, moving parts and twisting camera angles. The video is projected live, capturing points of view and details unavailable to the human eye. Fictional narratives blend with moments from their shared personal history to create playful (and heavily surveilled) wonderlands.
Asian Contemporary Arts Week
Sept. 20 – 28
For one week in September, the Asian Contemporary Arts Consortium highlights events, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and projects with a focus on -- you guessed it -- Asian contemporary art. But what that phrase entails is an expansive assortment of nationalities, perspectives, artistic movements and thought-provoking conversations. This jam-packed agenda only rolls around once a year, so make space in your calendar and show up to as much as is physically possible. No regrets.
Too Big to Miss
While this list tends to fall on the alternative spaces and smaller galleries side of the spectrum, there are a few blockbuster shows coming up in the fall that are just as deserving of your attention. Number one: the For-Site Foundation's @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, running September 27, 2014 through April 26, 2015. It's now possible to reserve your ticket on the Alcatraz ferry to visit the (in)famous artist's large-scale installation at this incredibly multi-valent site. If predictions are correct, tickets might become scarce, so don't delay securing your access to one of the most hyped exhibitions the Bay Area has seen in recent years.
Too Big To Miss Two
Pier 24 Photograpy's Secondhand, already on view and up until May 2015. In this highly controlled (and beautiful) space, you can view the work of thirteen artists who "build repositories of found images" to create something utterly new. An exhibition of this scale, in the largest photographic gallery in the world, is a special gift to the Bay Area. Don't look it in the mouth.