It might be the lingering effects of champagne, but it has been extra difficult culling January’s visual arts offerings down into a tidy list of five.
The end of the month is particularly packed. First, you have an exhibition at the California Historical Society focused on Anna and Lawrence Halprin’s experimental workshops of the late 1960s. Then you have a new addition to the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s inventive Havruta series. Following up that is a culminating exhibition from the latest round of residencies at Recology. And it all ends with the opening of the reunited Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on Jan. 31.
There’s no better way to embrace the promise of a new year by filling your eyes, ears and minds with art. So shake off that holiday lethargy, mark up your brand new calendars and make good on your resolutions.
David Ireland Bonanza
500 Capp Street, Southern Exposure, San Francisco Art Institute and Anglim Gilbert Gallery
Starts Jan. 14
500 Capp Street isn’t just the house where conceptual artist David Ireland lived for 30 years -- it’s a piece of art. The home, its walls, ceilings, floors, contents (and even support beams) were fair game for Ireland’s practice. Starting Jan. 15 the house opens its doors as a private museum, providing ticketed tours of the two-story Victorian, rotating exhibitions, public events, a study center and residency program. Tickets $15-$20 and going fast!
And if that’s not exciting enough, this month institutions across the city join in celebrating all things David Ireland. Coinciding with 500 Capp Street’s opening events, Southern Exposure commissions three new works by a younger generation of artists for 6 Block Scores, 12-6pm on Jan. 16. Inspired by Ireland’s repetitive processes and humble materials, Haegen Crosby, Kari Marboe and Minji Sohn’s performances connect the past and present between the physical space of the two institutions. FREE!
Jan 14 to March 26, SFAI hosts an eponymous exhibition of Ireland’s works that includes a reenactment of Smithsonian Falls, Descending a Staircase for P.K., a cascade of concrete down the galleries’ brutalist stairs. Anglim Gilbert Gallery widens the scope to include Ireland’s contemporaries for Dumbball: David Ireland and his Circle, on view Jan. 20 to Feb. 28. BOTH FREE!
Visions Into Infinite Archives
SOMArts, San Francisco
Jan. 14 - Feb. 10
Curated by the Oakland and L.A.-based Black Salt Collective as part of SOMArts’ Commons Curatorial Residency, Visions Into Infinite Archives features 30 artists of color “honoring the non-linearity of time.” What exactly does that look like? Murals, light and textile installations, film screenings and performances that seek to break cycles of oppression. The Black Salt Collective’s version of an archive isn’t a static collection of information, but a mutable and moving thing rooted in physical bodies. I’m especially looking forward to an opening night performance by Jeepneys (and their hand-painted bodysuits). FREE!
The Empty Temple, Bailey Hikawa
City Limits, Oakland
Jan. 22 - Feb. 20
L.A.-based painter Bailey Hikawa returns to the Bay Area with a solo show at City Limits inspired by labyrinths. Transforming the gallery itself into a maze-like space, Hikawa creates secluded areas for meditation, chuckles or -- for the claustrophobic -- possibly panic. With Hikawa’s ability to fabricate seemingly anything (she has a background in scenic design), The Empty Temple promises to transform City Limits’ otherwise-nondescript space into a surreal and otherworldly environment. FREE!
San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries Grand Opening Celebration
War Memorial Veterans Building, San Francisco
Friday, Jan. 22, 6-9pm
The SFAC’s main gallery is now a whopping 4400 sq. feet of exhibition space in the War Memorial Veterans Building. They start the year off with three concurrent exhibitions: the group show Bring it Home: (Re)Locating Cultural Legacy Through the Body, a small retrospective of the late Bay Area artist Susan O'Malley’s work, and ENTER: 126, a new annual site-specific commission for the gallery’s entryway. FREE!
CTRL+SHFT Inaugural Show
Jan. 29 - Feb. 19, Oakland
Looking for DIY energy and a scrappy success story? In a warehouse in West Oakland, a group of female artists working across disciplines have joined forces to carve out space for “collusion”: private studios and a public gallery. CTRL+SHFT’s first exhibition presents the work of the 12 studio members (all recent CCA MFA grads) in a “get to know us” showcase. Future programming will focus on providing exhibition opportunities to artists “who might have a hard time finding wall space elsewhere.” FREE!