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Artful Dodger: March Into March's Visual Art Happenings

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Samara Golden, 'A Fall of Corners,' 2015. Installation view at CANADA New York. (Courtesy YBCA)

March has an urgency about it — likely due to the month’s name doubling as an imperative to walk determinedly. And so I urge you to move yourself, by whatever means of locomotion you prefer, to as many art events you can this month.

But where to start? The event everyone’s going to be talking about is the grand opening of Minnesota Street Project on March 18, the Dogpatch neighborhood arts complex backed by Deborah and Andy Rappaport. Boasting 11 gallery spaces, approximately 30 studios, art storage services and more, the ambitious development is sure to put on one heck of an inaugural party — stay tuned for an official report on all the galleries’ first exhibitions in the weeks to come.

And here are five more suggestions, just for fun.

Detail of Mike Rothfeld sculpture.
Detail of Mike Rothfeld sculpture. (Courtesy Alter Space)

Katelyn Eichwald & Peter Shear; Mike Rothfeld, In the Region of the Disprovable

Alter Space, San Francisco
March 5 – April 16, 2016

In Alter Space’s main galleries, out-of-towners Katelyn Eichwald and Peter Shear present a self-titled exhibition of paintings. Eichwald’s canvasses are full of crudely rendered figures — women reclining, reading, smoking in tubs. Shear’s brightly colored abstract works are a veritable smorgasbord of small-scale abstraction — each utilizing a different method, palette and pattern. But the cherry topper on this exhibition cycle is a new work by Mike Rothfeld in the Peephole Gallery. With lo-fi materials, Rothfeld crafts sometimes ominous, often hilarious sci-fi scenarios, sparking the viewer’s creative thinking as they parse out a narrative from the gooey, glowing or alien objects at hand.

Luke Butler, 'Portrait of the Artist,' 2015.
Luke Butler, ‘Portrait of the Artist,’ 2015. (Courtesy Jessica Silverman Gallery)

Luke Butler, Afterimage

Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
March 10 – April 16, 2016

Speaking of science fiction, it’s been four years since Luke Butler‘s last media-inspired exhibition at Jessica Silverman. His new body of work includes a continuation of his “The End” paintings, canvases that appear to be stills of movie end credits, all produced by “L BUTLER PICTURES.” The self-portraiture becomes figurative in a series of paintings depicting the artist himself prone on the ground, surrounded by painting supplies. Explicitly or indirectly depicting his own tragicomic death, Butler’s delicately crafted memento mori invite close looking and plenty of dry chuckles.

Samara Golden, 'A Fall of Corners,' 2015. Installation view at CANADA New York.
Samara Golden, ‘A Fall of Corners,’ 2015. Installation view at CANADA New York. (Courtesy YBCA)

Samara Golden, A Trap in Soft Division

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
March 11 – May 29, 2016

My first introduction to Los Angeles-based Samara Golden‘s work was a hallucinatory installation at LA’s Night Gallery, where she fabricated — with little more than lighting, foam board and fabric — scenes of an endlessly reflecting night club, an eerily abandoned car crash and a kitchen filled with the creepiest cat-shaped cushions imaginable. Golden’s new commission for YBCA is her largest installation to date; look forward to a entering an artwork that will likely fill you with dread — but in the best way possible.

Negativland, Poster Map from 'A Big 10-8 Place,' 1983.
Negativland, Poster Map from ‘A Big 10-8 Place,’ 1983. (Courtesy of the artist)

Void California: 1975 – 1989

CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
March 11 – April 9, 2016

CCA’s graduating curatorial practice students bring together a deeply researched exhibition of artwork, ephemera, video and sound from California’s punk heyday. Positioning itself against Hot Topic-esque nostalgia, the exhibition dives into the ways in which artists and collectives like Raymond Pettibon, Melody Sumner Carnahan, Negativland and We Got Power used portable recording equipment and cheap, easily reproducible media to document and spread an alternative narrative to the mainstream (and increasingly conservative) culture. A series of events may prove the punk spirit lives on, starting with opening night performance by Brontez Purnell.

Carrie Hott, Project Space installation at Headlands, Summer 2014.
Carrie Hott, Project Space installation at Headlands, Summer 2014. (Courtesy Headlands Center for the Arts)

Carrie Hott, Key Room

Headlands Center for the Arts, Marin Headlands
Opens March 20, 12-5pm

The latest in an illustrious series of permanent artist commissions at the Headlands, The Key Room is both an installation and visitor resource center. Two years in the making, Oakland-based artist Carrie Hott’s project touches on the Headlands’ long and complicated history (from dairy farming to missile base to arts center) through archival materials, archeological displays, Hott’s own artworks and a bank of phones playing local sounds, interviews and testimonials. With a talent for connecting disparate subjects (whaling, oil lamps and black out curtains, to name a few) in visually arresting ways, this “unlocking” will be well worth the trip via tunnel or scenic coastal route.


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