Artful Dodger: Visual Art Happenings and Last Chances for December

Ace Lehner, 'Cruisin', 2013. (Courtesy: Random Parts)

Don’t let KOIT FM’s nonstop Christmas music lull you into an early December holiday laze. There’s so much left to do in 2015!

Turn the dial, put on your warm socks and feast your eyes on these Bay Area visual art events.

Ace Lehner, 'Holding Hands,' 2013.
Ace Lehner, 'Holding Hands,' 2013. (Courtesy: Random Parts)

Dec. 5, 2015 - Jan. 9, 2016: Gangsters Revisited at Random Parts, Oakland. Local photographer Ace Lehner documents Cookie Paloma and Renee De Jesus dressed in the trappings and adopting the poses of their teenage identities as Latina “gangsters.” Posed in surreal suburban landscapes and sun-dappled natural settings, the women reenact a complicated moment in their personal histories -- part survival tactic, part visual assertion of their heritage. Attend an artist talk on Dec. 11 for a more in-depth examination of the “collaboration” between the Lehner, Paloma and De Jesus.

Crank640

Thursday, Dec. 10, 7-9pm: Crank Screening at Southern Exposure, San Francisco. No, this is not a showing of the ridiculous 2006 Jason Statham action flick in which our hero becomes the human equivalent of the bus in Speed. It’s the companion event of Southern Exposure’s annual juried exhibition! You’ll be sure to see something new in this evening of short works by local artists, selected by Gabriela Monroy, Mexican video artist and seasoned film festival director, programmer and juror. FREE!

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Noir640

Saturday, Dec. 12, 7-9:30pm: Neon and Noir: Dark Passage at the Balboa Theatre, San Francisco. If you heeded my art book gift guide last year, you might be the happy owner of San Francisco Neon, the glossy compendium of the city’s past and present neon signage. Authors Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan host an evening at the Balboa with screenings of neon-focused footage from the Prelinger Archive, a supercut of neon signs in classic noir films and the main event, Dark Passage, a 1947 classic starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in a “neon-soaked San Francisco.” $11, tickets here.

Jedediah Caesar, 'Gleaning Stones,' 2008-2011.
Jedediah Caesar, 'Gleaning Stones,' 2008-2011. (Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects/Photo: Robert Wedemeyer)

Dec. 12, 2015 - April 24, 2016: UNEARTHED: Found + Made at Oakland Museum of California. Pairing work by Oakland-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jedediah Caesar with rocks collected by local suiseki societies, UNEARTHED highlights the aesthetic merits of collection and appreciation. While Ceasar gathers detritus from the urban landscape and encases it in resin, forming geologic-like sculptures, suiseki is a Japanese tradition of selecting and displaying stones found in nature on carved wooden platforms. Displayed side by side, the objects in the exhibition are both “ground up” (as in crushed) and brought up from the ground to loftier levels of contemplation. $6.95-$15.95, tickets here.

Chris Lux, 'The Favorite,' 2015.
Chris Lux, 'The Favorite,' 2015. (Courtesy: Et al.)

Closing soon and not to be missed!
There’s lots of last chances this month -- all of which are FREE. At the top of my list is Chris Lux’s solo show With Nude Spoons at San Francisco's Et al., on view through Dec. 19. This strange synesthetic experience will confuse both your eyes and any attempt to document the installation of painting, sculpture and pure, vivid color.

Drop by Romer Young Gallery for another experiment in perceptual shifts, this time with black light. Deep Dark Submersion, a group show guest-curated by Los Angeles-based Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer, is on view through Dec. 12.

Further afield in Oakland, Krowswork's Sonya Rapoport: Final Works is on view through Dec. 19, a presentation of the late artist's last collage and interactive installation work, the culmination of a 66-year-long career ranging from expressionist painting to new media.

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