On my way to Oakland this afternoon, I stopped to see the show at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. This was a mashup of Marcel Dzama's little drawings and a slide show by San Francisco artist Alice Shaw. Dzama, an art star from Winnipeg, is famous enough for Eric Doeringer to bootleg him (that's his bootleg shown below).
I enjoy many Dzama drawings, but he produces so many that deja vu creeps in. The selection at SFAC is not particularly interesting, save two or three. And what does Dzama's work have to do with Alice Shaw's, other than a shared quirkiness? The curatorial idea behind the show escapes me. Shaw's photographic work is shown in a darkened gallery, where a slide projector cranks out her selection. Her strength is to capture visual puns and other oddities. But there are other types of photos in the mix, and it's not clear why. Some editing would have helped.
I was heading to Oakland to see shows at several spaces. At the new Swarm Gallery, most of the art did not live up to the spiffy physical space. The familiar artist here was Jonn Herschend, whose has been painting abstract landscapes in small and medium sizes. Several are on view, and for me the most interesting was a 36" x 36" work entitled, “Proposal for a New Flag” (photo above).
Next door to Swarm is Pro Arts, located on the corner or Clay and 2nd Sts., near Jack London Square. An artists' talk was in progress for a new show, so I confined my looking to the “Catch-22” project near the door. This was a collection of 8.5" x 11" artworks by many hands on the subject of war. Lucy Hanna of Alameda contributes a truth blackboard with handy eraser (photo above). And Thomas Frongillo of San Francisco offers a snappy rejoinder (photo below) to America's question, Where's the beef?
In the Temescal area of Oakland, at 4224 Telegraph Ave. (near 42nd St.), the tiny, awkward Boontling Gallery had a show in which scores of mostly small artwork covered every wall. There was even artwork spread out on the floor, preventing a close view of a couple of the walls. It was hard to focus here, but Brian Andrews's photographic "Arachnid Hominid" stood out. (The work was hung too high for me to get a good photo.) Co-proprietor Mike Simpson, though distracted by electrical problems, was on duty with considerable charm.
A sad footnote: 33 Grand, an Oakland gallery that has shown a number of good artists, is closing in the next few days due to a large rent increase.