Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yerba Buena GalleryWalk 2013

The Annual Yerba Buena GalleryWalk was held on June 8th. I made it to 10 of the 13 galleries participating this year, but couldn’t quite figure out overall attendance. The California Historical Society was packed, and the nearby Gallery Wendi Norris and Modernism had good crowds. Otherwise, it was pretty spotty. I saw lots of good work though. Here’s a quick run-down of what I liked. Since I got behind on posting and some of these shows might be closing at month-end, you should check the gallery sites to see what’s there now.

Totally worth a look is Curating the Bay on view at the California Historical Society through 8/25/13. After a painful transition in which the CHS actually stopped creating exhibitions, programming has returned in the last year or so. This exhibition categorizes some of the Society’s photos, paintings and other artifacts in a very general framework of questions meant to inspire ideas about what living in the SF Bay Area means to people and what they do. The Society’s intention is to crowdsource ideas that will utilize (and add to) their collection in new ways. They are collaborating in this project with researchers at Stanford University and Historypin in the Year of the Bay project.

Julio Cesar Morales. We are the Dead 3.
Around the corner at Gallery Wendi Norris, I was glad to see new work by Julio Cesar Morales, an artist whose work I was once well acquainted with through SFSU and I had completely lost track of. He’s still dealing with themes of immigration, memory and identity, this time in a new video installation Forever Now! Sharing the gallery was Kelly Barrie, who had a series of works about play, weeds and other organic materials.

After checking out Modernism and the Visual Aid Gallery, I walked down to 111 Minna and really enjoyed unearthed by Rob Reger (best known for Emily the Strange) in collaboration with Jim Dirschberger, Steve Ferrera, Buzz Parker and Jared Roth. I am always happy to visit this gallery; they have really built a community vibe, and it’s a great place to meet up, have a drink and hang out. A couple of blocks away, Varnish Fine Art had a show of beautifully detailed slightly surreal and spooky work by Dan Quintana that really intrigued me.

Stopping at Chandler Fine Art and walking by SFMOMA, I was struck by how forlorn the mighty SFMOMA building seems with paper over the windows and no signs of life. Just a few weeks ago, it was teeming with visitors, now… tumbleweeds. Change is good, but it felt weird anyway.

Dan Quintana. Zero Instruments
At 871 Fine Arts, I saw a fascinating group show of work done by 7 artists that have been meeting every Sunday at June Felter’s studio to paint still lives together (Felter, Keith Alward, Adelie Bischoff, Gary Bottone, Barbara Scales, Jack Schnitzius, and Louise Smith). Predominately water color sketches, it was interesting to see all this work together. I’d love to see a larger show where you could see how the artist’s styles evolved together over time. Of course, the really dangerous thing about 871 Fine Arts is that half the gallery is a bookstore focused on rare and out of print art books and exhibition catalogs, I’m amazed I got out of their without adding to my (already out of control) collection. Upstairs at Crown Point Press, there was a small exhibit of new monotypes by Robert Bechtle. These specific works interested me because they were very soft and watercolor/washy feeling instead of the usual precision I’ve come to expect from his work. They were quite lovely.

I am glad that the Yerba Buena Alliance coordinates this event every year. I hope they get a more consistent turnout in the future. Still everyone I saw in the galleries seemed really engaged, and that’s what we want.