Posts in Miscellany

Little Joe, Lena Dunham, and a Lapdog: A Visit to the LA Art Book Fair

02.11.2013  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes, Miscellany

“Los Angeles is not a city, but a series of suburban approaches to a city that never materializes.” So writes Gavin Lambert in The Slide Area. Lambert’s underrated 1959 novel kept me company on my most recent foray to LA, for the LA Art Book Fair. Say what you will about Los Angeles, its vulgarities are endearingly familiar—with each visit, it seems less and less pretentious and obscene than tech-addled San Francisco. Though we have our antiquarian and anarchist book fairs and library book sales, its hard to envision such an... More

Time Travel in the Arts

11.08.2012  |  By
Filed under: Essay, Miscellany

Ever since seeing Chris Marker’s La Jetee decades ago, I’ve loved movies about time travel. My addiction to Turner Classic Movies delivers a subtle kind of time travel movie every night. Take for example Van Dyke’s San Francisco, made in 1936 about an event in 1906. Seen from my position in 2012, the nuances of time echoes are enough to get my head spinning. The earthquake was for them a relatively recent phenomenon–thirty years previous. However, those thirty years were tumultuous–World War One, Prohibition, the Depression. Victorian San Francisco of 1906 must’ve seen very quaint to these hardened people. We are seventy-six years displaced from that Clark... More

Poetic Politic: Reflections in Berlin

10.12.2012  |  By
Filed under: Miscellany

Part 1 of a conversation between Vietnam-based curator and Sàn Art Director Zoe Butt and art historian and writer Moira Roth.

Vandy Rattana, Bomb Ponds, 2009

Moira Roth, email; Saturday, September 21, 2012; Berkeley, California

After the pleasure of spending time with you recently in the Bay Area, while you were visiting here, I love it that we ... More

Rashaad Newsome: A Pursuivant At Large

10.02.2012  |  By
Filed under: 151 3rd, Miscellany

Standing in front of an outdoor stage at the Miami Art Museum last December, I watched a trio of svelte black performers in dark lycra onesies, iridescent colored wigs and matching stick-on lips strut onto the platform to the tense, haunting sounds produced by, among others, a beatboxer, flutist, and saxophonist—and combined with a few sober baritone notes delivered repeatedly by the opera singer Stefanos Koroneos.

These fierce vogue dancers performed dips, spins, duckwalking, hand movements, and death drops—in accordance with the tenets of... More

The Visual as a Quickening Sound Vibration: An Interview with Musician Oluyemi Thomas, Part III

08.05.2012  |  By

Originally from the musically rich Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, Oluyemi Thomas has been a San Francisco Bay Area resident since 1974. Thomas studied both music and mechanical engineering at Washtenaw College. He creates ordered compositional free music that he acknowledges as part of, but not limited to, what is called jazz. Over a career spannin... More

Off Label at SF International Film Festival

05.04.2012  |  By
Filed under: Field Notes, Miscellany

This week Off Label, the second feature-length documentary of former homeboys Donal Mosher and Michael Palmieri, had its West Coast premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival. The film’s title refers to the legal practice of prescribing pharmaceuticals for a use not approved by the FDA, such as prescribing antidepressants that caus... More

The Mantles

10.06.2009  |  By
Filed under: Miscellany

I have been waiting all summer long for the Mantles’ debut album. They had the party/performance October 1st at the Eagle Tavern, sharing the bill with Grass Widow and Yellow Fever. It is a vinyl-only release with a download card tucked inside. I love this, as it seems that music has gone so far away from being something we can hold onto and consult (like a map). There is some music that I think of foremost as mystical object: the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request, Pharoah Sanders’ Live At the East, and anything... More


07.14.2009  |  By
Filed under: Miscellany

A few weeks ago, a discussion began in the comments of my post about NIAD.   Though that conversation was specifically about mentally and physically disabled artists, it has prompted me to consider more broadly how the categories of “insider” and “outsider” might apply to the current climate for art and visual culture. Since there are many possible ways to approach this topic, I’m going to address it from different angles in a series of posts over the coming weeks.

Initially, I want to address the question of whether and how the disabled artists served by organizations like NIAD and Creative Growth are marginalized from the contemporary art establishment. Most are not represented by traditional art galleries or collected by art museums — though SFMOMA does have a work in its collection by the late Judith Scott, a Creative Growth artist with severe Down’s Syndrome. In fact, Creative Growth artists including Gerone Spruill and William Scott (no... More