Artful Dodger: Dive Joyfully into July Art Happenings

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The new Guerrero Gallery during the opening of Hilary Pecis' 'El Verano' in 2016. (Photo: Alan Gonzalez; Courtesy of Guerrero Gallery)

It’s not all barbecues and miniature American flags this month. There’s some serious art on the horizon -- at Minnesota Street Project alone, there's a dance performance, San Francisco’s first full-fledged art book fair and six exhibition openings all take place over the course of July’s 31 days. So put on whatever shoes help you withstand hours of standing on stylishly poured concrete floors and visit some art.

Installation view of HIlary Pecis' 'El Verano.'
Installation view of HIlary Pecis' 'El Verano.' (Photo: Alan Gonzalez; Courtesy of Guerrero Gallery)

Hilary Pecis, El Verano

Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco
Through July 10

Transient since they lost their Mission district location in 2013 (opposite the now-shuttered Steven Wolf Fine Arts), Guerrero Gallery just opened a brand new, jaw-droppingly enormous space in Bayview. The inaugural shows went up on June 19, so hurry over to the corner of Custer and Quint before July 10 to feel a jolt of genuine excitement about what’s still possible in the Bay Area arts scene. Don’t be confused by what at first appears to be only a lush gardening design showroom. Step through Living Green's gravel courtyard and cross the threshold into the new Guerrero Gallery -- complete with white walls, white floor and oh-so-lofty ceiling. El Verano, Hilary Pecis’ excellent solo exhibition of small-scale painted still lifes, makes the space feel even larger, while the inaugural group show in back hints at some of the work we might get to see filling the gallery in the months (and years) to come.

Chris Kallmyer, 'A Paradise Choir,' coming soon to a Sol Le Witt wall drawing near you.
Chris Kallmyer, 'A Paradise Choir,' coming soon to a Sol LeWitt wall drawing near you. (Courtesy of the artist)

Chris Kallmyer, A Paradise Choir

SFMOMA, San Francisco
Saturdays and Sundays, July 2-24

LA-based artist Chris Kallmyer invites SFMOMA visitors to join his project Paradise Choir on weekends in July. Don a snazzy white choir robe and gray stole (the fabric that drapes around one’s neck for a bit of flair) and participate in various workshops, sonic tours, site-specific performances and something called “shallow listening,” which is “specifically designed for those interested in doing less work, quickly.” I have three words: sign me up. The month of robe-related activities culminates on Free Family Day, Sunday, July 24, when up to two adults accompanying a visitor aged 18 or under all get free admission into the museum. These tickets are first-come, first-served and cannot be purchased in advance. So find yourself a minor and enjoy listening to or producing some experimental -- and possibly heavenly -- sounds.

Gary Kamiya, author of 'Cool Gray City of Love.'
Gary Kamiya, author of 'Cool Gray City of Love.' (Courtesy of the Book Club of California)

The Hidden Waters of San Francisco: An Illustrated Talk by Gary Kamiya

The Book Club of California, San Francisco
Monday, July 11, 5-7pm

Feeling the heat of summer? Want to travel back in time to a moment when the area now called San Francisco flowed with running waters (some of which can still be found, if you know where to look)? It’s time to pay a visit the Book Club of California, a place that -- if you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting before -- will steal your heart irrevocably. I can’t tell if it’s the plush seating, the friendly bartender or the club’s unabashed support of all things bookish, but visiting this cosy second-floor Sutter Street spot always brings me great joy. On July 11, SF Chronicle columnist, San Francisco magazine editor, and author (Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco) Gary Kamiya gives an illustrated lecture on San Francisco’s lost (and remaining) waters.

Ed Ruscha, 'A Particular Kind of Heaven,' 1983.
Ed Ruscha, 'A Particular Kind of Heaven,' 1983. (Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Ed Ruscha and the Great American West

de Young, San Francisco
July 16 – Oct. 9, 2016

Ed Ruscha once printed business cards reading “ED-WERD REW-SHAY, YOUNG ARTIST” for those struggling to correctly pronounce the native Oklahoman’s surname. The de Young gathers just shy of 100 works by the now-78-year-old artist, an exhibition in nine sections that tracks his relationship to symbols of “the West,” including gas stations, billboards and endless, endless stretches of road. Often pairing pithy, evocative language with epic background imagery, Ruscha’s dry wit cemented a certain kind of California attitude in my young art-viewing mind. This is one of those rare art exhibitions I would gladly pay $20 to see.

Critical discourse and bodily exertion combine forces.
Critical discourse and bodily exertion combine forces. (Courtesy of Heavy Breathing)

Heavy Breathing: Unseen Influence with Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon

BAMPFA, Berkeley
Sunday, July 17, 5:30-7pm

Heavy Breathing, a summer-long series of artist-led workshops that pair critical thought with physical exertion, is back for a second season. This time, instead of roving locations around the Bay Area, Heavy Breathing takes place at the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Sound installation artist Jacqueline Kyomi Gordon and dancer Margit Galanter lead exercises informed by Feldenkaris (a somatic educational system) and listening meditations -- all meant to alter the ways in which participants perceive artworks in relation to the museum’s architecture. Join in to find out what a somatic educational system is, or just to see Berkeley Eye (opening July 13) through different -- wait for it -- eyes.

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