Every time I go to San Francisco I love it even more!
This last trip was a short one but oh so perfect. It truly was a four-day art immersion. While planning my trip I had my doubts that I was going see the high quality of art that I have come to revere in that Bay town. The SFMO is closed for awhile and a lot of the Geary Street Galleries have moved or closed.
In an ever changing city scape you need an insider to guide you. I was lucky enough to meet just that person. Alicia Escott a friend, of a friend, met us all for drinks at Bourbon and Branch where we discussed the art scene at large. Topics ranging from what is happening locally in San Francisco, to comparisons between Portland (our lack there of) and all about what she is making right now! For a first time art bonding it was the most one could ever want!
The next day she sent me a long list of must see art sites and so I set out to navigate these tucked nooks and carnies. If it's one thing I learned about galleries in different cities, ether they are flaunted like intimidating shinny marbles or the disguised so cleverly you can easily walk right by the unmarked door. San Francisco is mostly the later. So, it makes all the difference if you know where you are going. Thank you again, Alicia!
Overall, I saw way more than my eyeballs could contain and I left with a heavy heart full of inspiration and desire. What follows is a list of the best of the galleries I saw and there imitate neighborhoods:
111 Minna features artist that have that illustrative/ street art style down. Much like Juxtapose or Hi-Frutose. Very youthful a modern approach to a gallery with a lively event space and coffee shop.
Patricia Sweetow a last standing great of the Geary Gallery blocks. It is not as stuffy, with bright swaths of color and joy. My favorite works there where paintings made entirely of glitter. You could tell these artist featured where further in their careers but were pulsing with vitality. Pushing materials to there (almost cheesy) soaring heights! (couldn't find glitter artist online but if anyone know there name tell me.)
Jessica Siverman Gallery This gallery is pretty posh and shiny, considering it's outside landscape, nearing the Tenderloin. This is contemporary art flexing it intellect with large scale works By Matt Lipps "The Populist Camera" that drew form art history. I was not an emotional show but one of a continued dialog of visual Libraries.
Bash Contemporary In the similar vain to 111 Minna this was young contemporary with a heavy does of masculine grotesque, a more kick in the teeth street art style. Again, close to the Tenderloin a duoses of this bad-ass vibe lets you feel adventitious enough to try the Pakistani food around the corner.
Deeper into SoMa Where two great galleries:
1amsf This was amazingly fun gallery with a friendly staff member and a more integrated approach to the street art scene with graffiti artist that showed off with great skill their applicability to make fine art as well. The show I wittiness entitled "a MA-JOR minority" had small works by approx 50 artist, a feast for our eyes. My artist friend and I were delightfully overwhelmed. Another great take away from 1amsf is this galleries' APP, called 1AM it works as an Instagram like tracker for art instillation on the streets telling you what is near or allowing you to socialize with your own photos of cleaver tags.
Alterspace Talk about unmarked door. This charming little space contains makers that dapple in the political realm. I was lucky enough to see Alica Escotts' work draped in the window, her lite butterfly piece on recycled plastic was an inspired balance of politico and finery.
New HOOD for galleries: FUSED SPACE
This was a fun new area of San Francisco to explore a lot of industrial works shops and large spaced galleries. My dear friend that works near by was kind enough to meet me for coffee as we waxed about comparisons between where we were standing (a stumptown coffee cart) and the beginnings of "The Pearl" in Portland.
This was the best in this hood. It was such a large space and contained two such completely different artist, that it could have been separate galleries. The fact that they were so different only strengthened there visual intrigue, keeping me refreshed and engaged for over an hour. The first artist I saw at Hostfelt Gallery was Reed Danziger "The Edge of Chaos" . His work has an ascetic, in light, graphite, gouache, mixed media, that matches my current material process. Then, Ben McLoughin "Night Sky" paintings varied such in size that they told a beautifully haunting story that you as a viewer experience tiny vignette of intimacy and vast landscapes of solitude. His delicate story telling coupled with the soft clouds of oil paint made me want to paint in oil again!
Clark Gallery Featured a political show about how we live with and process our food, with the added element of a an scheduled art dinning event looming for later. I was flatted by acheiveing "local status" with my own friendly invite. But the true art treasures of this gallery were stored in the backroom, in particular a Juile Heffernan piece. She has been one of my long time favorite painters.
Right next door where Bright happy squares at Brian Gross
Just up the street George Lawson Gallery with a show featuring large abstract, gestural, portraits. Right next door is Jack Fisher Gallery. This was one of my must stops on previous trips in it's old location on Geary street and will continue to be a must in its' new location. The main exhibition was not to my taste, this time, but there was such a great variety of well edited artist in the backroom I was more than satisfied.
The day I spent in the Mission was Monday so most galleries were closed. But do not feel sorry for me, the sun was beaming....So burritos at La Taqueria followed by giant macaws in Daloris Park got me though the day until I found...
Camp Fire Gallery part retail space, mostly gallery. A charmingly detailed shop.