“Whoa,” I can hear you saying from all corners of the Bay, “is January over already?” Did you miss all the things I told you about last month? You know what they say: second month, second chance. Okay, so maybe no one says that. But the point is that there’s plenty of art to fill your social calendar in February, and I have some recommendations.
Interface Gallery, Oakland
Through March 13
This eight-week series of collaborations between movement and visual artists started two weeks ago with Brontez Purnell and Sophia Wang’s Fake Autobiographies: The Love Story of…, an experimental movement duet following the story of a interracial couple in the protest scene of 1960s Berkeley. Beginning Feb. 1, Abby Crain, Jose Navarette, Mara Poliak and Maryanna Lachmann present The darkest place is always underneath the lamp in collaboration with LA-based designer Matt Gagnon, who creates an interactive lighting sculpture for the performers in Interface’s tiny space. And for their two-week tenure starting Feb. 15, Manners (Lisa Rybovich Crallé and Sophia Wang), Olive Blackburn and Titania Kumehg explore “camouflaging, spatial distortions and elastic movement.” The ambitious series continues into March with Lauren McKeon and Renée Rhodes. All performances and events (there are many; check interfacegallery.com for a full schedule) are FREE!
Project 9, Mel Prest and Martha Clippinger
c2c project space, San Francisco
Feb. 6 - March 6
In Kirk Stoller’s apartment gallery, the artist makes sense of his bi-coastal life by pairing New York and San Francisco-based artists in thoughtful two-person shows. Martha Clippinger, this project’s East Coast representative, makes sculptures out of what look like the scraps of woodworking projects, painting the geometric assemblages in colorful combinations of jewel-like tones. Local artist Mel Prest shares a love for color, working with acrylic on panel to create hypnotic Moiré-like patterns of overlapping lines. Gallery hours are Sundays, 12-5pm; visit c2cprojectspace.com for more information. Always FREE!
Root Division, San Francisco
Feb. 10 - 27
MFA NOW, an annual juried exhibition of work by current Bay Area MFA candidates, has been a staple of Root Division’s programming for the past four years. But in the “age of $120,000 art degrees,” what about those who opt out of the academic machine? Juried by Rhiannon Evans MacFadyen, Donna Napper and Brion Nuda Rosch, MFA Never includes artists whose names might surprise some, considering how established they are within the Bay Area arts scene. But then that’s the whole point -- an MFA is not a sure path towards success, or even a sign of artistic accomplishment. Bravo to Root Division for entering this ongoing and vital conversation. FREE!
Border Cantos, Richard Misrach and Guillermo Galindo
San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose
Feb. 25 – July 26
I’ve been excited for this one for a while. Photographer Richard Misrach and experimental composer Guillermo Galindo join forces to depict, in their respective media, the traces of human movement across the U.S.-Mexico border. Their collaboration is a unique one: after Galindo stopped making regular trips to the border, Misrach begin shipping him objects he gathered while photographing the border region -- discarded food cans, shotgun shells, a bicycle. Galindo then assembled these objects into ad hoc music-making devices modeled after indigenous musical instruments. Juxtaposing Misrach’s enormous landscape photographs with Galindo’s human-sized sculptures and recordings of music played on them, Border Cantos addresses the plight of undocumented immigrants from both a macro and a micro perspective. Tickets $5-$10.
Anthony Discenza Presents an Exhibition by Anthony Discenza, Anthony Discenza
Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
Feb. 27 - April 9, 2016
Bear with me here, this one’s a bit complicated. In Anthony Discenza Presents an Exhibition by Anthony Discenza, Anthony Discenza, contemporary Bay Area artist, explores the “history” of an unrealized exhibition tentatively titled A Novel. The man (who would have been) behind A Novel? Bay Area artist Anthony Discenza. Blurring the line between one Discenza and another, a (faked) New Yorker clipping critiques, “...the artist, trying to eat his metafictional cake and have it too, achieves only mixed results.” If the proposition of untangling two overlapping exhibitions through the lens of exhibition-making and self-reflexive artistic ephemera sounds exciting to you, look no further. And even if you agree with the fictionalized New Yorker review that this sounds like “an exercise in narcissism,” it’s worth visiting just to participate in a finely spun yarn. FREE!