Somewhere, leaves are turning colors and people are using words like “autumnal.” But here in the Bay Area, we’re just happy the Labor Day weekend won’t bring us another freak heat wave like it did last year. Although, despite the disastrous dearth of box fans and my own ill-preparedness (a shortage of shorts), it was nice to have a bit of the unexpected in a region generally defined by its lack of variable weather.
Thank goodness, then, that there’s always a gangbuster fall season of new visual art events and exhibitions to shake things up. And this year’s offerings, in keeping with national trends, might actually justify using the phrase “now, more than ever.”
'Tomorrow We Inherit the Earth: Revealing Queer Muslim Futures'
The Stud (399 9th Street, San Francisco)
Sept. 6, 9pm–Sept. 7, 2am
Where better to imagine a queer post-apocalypse than in a San Francisco bar filled with gay history? Citing the Muslim body as “one of the most contested spaces in the United States,” organizer Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a.k.a. drag performer Faluda Islam), working with the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries and a cast of collaborators, presents a night of fashion, video, sound art and music. All of which promises to depict a Muslim-centered future filled with creatures evolved to fight imperialism, colonialism and violence.
The Bay Area’s triennial-turned-quadrennial regional survey, Bay Area Now, returns to Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for its eighth iteration. This year, as in most years, except for BAN7’s decentralized curatorial approach in 2014, 19 local (or recently local) artists represent a wide range of artistic mediums, formal approaches and conceptual frameworks, including anumberofKQEDArtsfavorites. Hot tip: If you want to actually see this show (and you should), be sure to visit after the jam-packed opening night, when crowds of enthusiastic well-wishers obscure any and all sightlines of the art.
For the month of September, CCA’s Wattis Institute showcases a suite of “choreographic services” by the Australian artist Adam Linder. Each service employs at least one dancer performing a task that seems deliciously un-dancerly: In Some Strands of Support, for instance, two dancers “perform haircare” on a sculpture or statue. Over the course of the exhibition, five separate services exist separately, overlap and reappear in different combinations, offering audiences the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the possibilities of Linder’s “singular approach to dance and performance.”
Various Bay Area institutions
Concentrating on the lead-up to the midterm elections, the artist-run project For Freedoms (founded by Bay Area-alum Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman) collaborates with multiple Bay Area arts institutions to erect billboards, host town halls and organize exhibitions that promote civic participation, discourse and direct action. Be on the lookout for billboards and bus shelters in Oakland, an exhibition at CCA’s Hubbell Street Galleries, public events on both sides of the Bay, and many many opportunities to engage in discussions of pressing civic interest.
'Ficre Ghebreyesus: City with A River Running Through'
Eritrean American artist Ficre Ghebreyesus may be best known as the subject of poet Elizabeth Alexander’s memoir, The Light of the World, the story of her husband, a political refugee and painter who died suddenly (and far too young) in 2012. Ghebreyesus described his relationship to his practice in 2000, “Painting was the miracle, the final act of defiance through which I exorcised the pain and reclaimed my sense of place, my moral compass, and my love for life.” In this first museum showing of his works, MoAD exhibits abstracts, landscapes and figurative works—brightly colored representations of joy, suffering and Ghebreyesus’ personal experience of the African diaspora.
Recology San Francisco Artist in Residence Exhibitions
Recology exhibitions are always a treat, giving visitors the opportunity to see what amazing things artists with four months, unlimited access to the public disposal area, and a nice stipend can make out of others’ trash. Premiering this season: a fashion line from Bonanza (artists Conrad Guevara, Lindsay Tully and Lana Williams); Kari Orvik’s photographs of discarded materials; sculptures by Rabbit Garcia; and drawings by the collaborative Hughen/Starkweather.
The Cantor exhibits never-before-seen Andy Warhol photographs, drawn from a collection of over 130,000 exposures (pause for a moment to appreciate this curatorial burden) which the museum acquired from the Andy Warhol Foundation in 2014. Come for the celebrity images (Michael Jackson, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton), stay for the visual demonstration of Warhol’s working methods, as images shift from contact sheet to large-scale silkscreen painting.
'The World of Charles and Ray Eames'
Oakland Museum of California, Oakland
Oct. 13, 2018–Feb. 17, 2019
A show originally organized by the Barbican in London travels to OMCA to introduce new generations of Californians to the life and work of influential husband-and-wife design team Charles and Ray Eames. OMCA’s signature approach to exhibition-making—interactive, playful, multidisciplinary—is a perfect fit for the Eameses, who experimented with not just furniture, but architecture, painting, film, sculpture, photography, multimedia installations and educational models. Never fear: I’m sure there will also be chairs.
Solo Exhibition: Jenine Marsh, with writing by Claudia La Rocco
Interface Gallery, Oakland
Oct. 26–Dec. 2, 2018
Oakland’s favorite alleyway gallery hosts a solo exhibition by Toronto-based installation artist Jenine Marsh, who often works with familiar and discarded objects (flattened coins, flowers) to create subtle alterations to spaces in which they’re presented. Marking the beginning of a series of Interface-commissioned texts by Bay Area authors, Claudia La Rocco will also present a new piece of writing in conjunction with the show’s opening reception.
Ragnar Kjartansson, 'Romantic Songs of the Patriarchy'
Women’s Building (3543 18th Street, San Francisco)
Nov. 9-11, 2018 C Project, a foundation newly established to commission site-specific art events in nontraditional Bay Area venues, launches with three days of performance by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (who you may remember from his tub performance in The Visitors, his multi-channel video installation recently on view at SFMOMA). Marking the 25th anniversary of the MaestraPeace mural that covers San Francisco Women’s Building, Kjartansson deconstructs patriarchy-reinforcing love songs through durational performance. Perhaps most importantly, this, and all future C Project events, will be free and open to the public (timed tickets available on Eventbrite Sept. 5).