Don Ed Hardy, 'Surf or Die,' 2004. Printed by Bud Shark; Published by Shark’s Ink, Colorado. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Don Ed Hardy, 'Surf or Die,' 2004. Printed by Bud Shark; Published by Shark’s Ink, Colorado. (Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Hot Summer Guide 2019: A Wave of Bay Area Visual Art

Hot Summer Guide 2019: A Wave of Bay Area Visual Art

When it comes to summer, museums treat the season much like the movie industry does: blockbuster time. Yes, there might be lines. And yes, there are probably higher ticket prices, not to mention the crowded gallery shuffle from one piece to the next (personal pet peeve). But, like SFMOMA's current juggernaut offering, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again these can also be great and deeply informative shows!

If the exhibition equivalent of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum isn’t your jumbo-sized soda (or cup of tea), there are plenty of alternatives throughout the Bay Area in the coming months. Below, a handy guide to making sure your summer to-do list includes a healthy dose of local visual art offerings:

Pio Abad, a selection from the series 'Untitled (Bolerium),' 2019.
Pio Abad, a selection from the series 'Untitled (Bolerium),' 2019. (Courtesy of the artist and KADIST)

Pio Abad, ‘Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite’

June 5–Aug. 10, 2019
KADIST, San Francisco
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After three months in residence researching Bay Area narratives of exile and displacement, London-based and Manila-born artist Pio Abad debuts a newly commissioned body of work that ties the history of the Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos (and his famously shoe-loving wife Imelda) to contemporary ideas in American politics. Abad’s work often manifests as domestic accessories, so be on the lookout for objects that are simultaneously compelling and embedded with hidden or overlooked histories.

Brian Belott, 'Kid's Copies,' 2014-2017.
Brian Belott, 'Kid's Copies,' 2014-2017. (Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, NYC)

‘Brian Belott’s RHODASCOPE: Scribbles, Smears, and the Universal Language of Children According to Rhoda Kellogg’

San Francisco City Hall
June 6, 2019–March 15, 2020
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Combining approximately 200 pieces from the Rhoda Kellogg International Child Art Collection, “forgeries” of children’s paintings by contemporary artist Brian Belott and several original artworks by Kellogg (an early childhood scholar, educator, author and activist), RHODASCOPE is a celebration of early creativity. With their punny title, the show’s curators Jordan Stein and Lindsey White invite viewers “to imagine the artworks in this unique installation as individual frames from a great and impossible film.” All of us could use a bit more scribbles and smears this summer.

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Two of Laurie Reid's recent gouache on paper works.
Two of Laurie Reid's recent gouache on paper works. (Courtesy of the artist and Et al.)

Laurie Reid

Et al., 620 Kearny Street, San Francisco
June 7–July 13, 2019
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Berkeley-based artist Laurie Reid shows new works on rough-edged paper, delicately painting what gallery co-director Aaron Harbour calls “zips and flits of color.” Even with the simplest materials, Reid manages to create new and exciting works of abstraction, forestalling the death of painting with each deft gesture.

Richard-Jonathan Nelson, 'Untitled,' 2019.
Richard-Jonathan Nelson, 'Untitled,' 2019. (Courtesy of the artist)

Richard-Jonathan Nelson, ‘Discontent with Brute Force Uploading’

Richmond Art Center, Richmond
June 11–Aug. 16, 2019
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In this solo exhibition, Oakland-based artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson combines craft practices like embroidery, weaving and quilting with digital imagery to depict Black bodies in speculative futures of saturated color. Layering and mixing images of the natural world with references to hoodoo, queer culture and Afrofuturism, Nelson creates alternate worlds that are hard to keep yourself from physically embracing.

Don Ed Hardy, Untitled tattoo designs “36,” 1955.
Don Ed Hardy, Untitled tattoo designs “36,” 1955. (© Don Ed Hardy; Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

‘Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin’

July 13–Oct. 6, 2019
de Young Museum, San Francisco
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The fine art scene is finally recognizing tattooing as one of its own forms. We’ve got Lew the Jew and His Circle held over at the Contemporary Jewish Museum until June 9, and Tattoos in Japanese Prints opening at the Asian Art Museum on May 31. The de Young throws its hat into the ring with a survey of Ed Hardy’s long career in both fine art and tattooing. (And let’s not forget fashion—how much do you want to bet some tiger-emblazoned T-shirts from Hardy’s eponymous apparel brand make their way into the museum’s gift shop?)

Rick Guidice, Toroidal Colonies, cutaway view exposing the interior, c. 1970s.
Rick Guidice, Toroidal Colonies, cutaway view exposing the interior, c. 1970s. (Courtesy NASA Ames Research Center History Archives)

‘Far Out: Suits, Habs, and Labs for Outer Space’

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
July 20, 2019–Jan. 20, 2020
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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of “one giant leap for mankind,” SFMOMA’s architecture and design department revisits past visions of space travel and some more recent contributions to the field. And if we’re all going to be living up there some day, who knows, this could be a useful primer on that incredibly inhospitable place we call outer space.

World War II era C1 Pitch/Roll Gyroscope manufactured by Honeywell Corporation, used as part of the autopilot in a B-17 Flying Fortress.
World War II era C1 Pitch/Roll Gyroscope manufactured by Honeywell Corporation, used as part of the autopilot in a B-17 Flying Fortress. (Courtesy of David Cole)

‘Dead Nuts: A Search for the Ultimate Machined Object’

Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco
July 27–Dec. 1, 2019
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What is the ultimate machined object? It’s something so precise, so accurate, so well-designed and functional that it represents an idea in its purest form. It could be a screw, or a microprocessor. Dead Nuts presents a selection of objects that machine-makers and enthusiasts have proposed as their choices, and asks that those of us who use these things—often unthinkingly—take a moment to bask in their well-oiled beauty.

Harold Meeks and Nigel Poor, 'Gym Profile 7-15-75,' 2013.
Harold Meeks and Nigel Poor, 'Gym Profile 7-15-75,' 2013. (Courtesy of Nigel Poor, with thanks to Warden Ron Davis and Lieutenant Sam Robinson)

‘The San Quentin Project: Nigel Poor and the Men of San Quentin State Prison’

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Aug. 21–Nov. 17, 2019
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Fans of the podcast Ear Hustle already know Nigel Poor’s voice, but this BAMPFA exhibition provides an opportunity to witness another, more visual side of the artist’s work within San Quentin State Prison. Using images from the prison’s historical archive, Poor asked her students in the Prison University Project to formally analyze and recodify the photographs, inscribing new narratives of power and understanding onto images of incarcerated men.

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