When artist Martine Gutierrez opened gift wraps containing a bag of jasmine rice, a rice cooker and a Princess Jasmine doll and matching costume on stage, I had an epiphany.
The night before the Fog Design + Art opening gala in Fort Mason, I spotted the artist (a Berkeley native now based in Brooklyn) and asked him what his talk at the fair would cover. Gutierrez pointed to her T-shirt, featuring Princess Jasmine, the heroine of Disney’s “Aladdin,” as a clue.
During her talk on Thursday, January 20, instead of explaining the work currently on display in her “Half-Breed” exhibit at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco, she set up the rice cooker and slowly dressed in the costume. until she and the doll were a matching pair.
She concluded by cutting the doll’s hair, stripping her, and burying Princess Jasmine in a bed of jasmine rice.
Still shaken by Martine Gutierrez’s “talk” yesterday at @FOGFair where she buried a Princess Jasmine doll in jasmine rice. When asked about the job, she said “I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.” @FraenkelGallery @ryanleegallery pic.twitter.com/A4MCfmXQkO
— Tony Bravo (@TonyBravoSF) January 21, 2022
“This is the first time I’ve been asked to speak at an art fair,” she said. “To me, the idea of standing on a pedestal and giving some kind of ABCD of work and release dates just felt wrong. I might as well be dead and have someone else do that .
Events like Gutierrez’s are what I love about Fog Fair and San Francisco Art Week: hanging out with artists. Even with many parties canceled due to the omicron variant, the first Art Week since 2020 still offered happy encounters with Bay Area artists like Ana Teresa Fernández, Clare Rojas and Brad McCallum as well as opportunities to meet others at show openings around town.
Here are my highlights from the first three days of Art Week, which included Fog’s opening gala on Wednesday, January 19, and the fair, which was scheduled to run through Sunday, January 23.
Tuesday, January 18
I started my week at the Minnesota Street Project’s Anglim/Trimble Gallery, where I was emotionally devastated by Palo Alto artist Xiaoze Xie’s four-panel epic, “Panorama of Eternal Night.” It depicts scenes from the coronavirus pandemic against images of mourning and the afterlife of ancient and classical art.
At “Image Gardeners,” exhibited at the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, I met San Francisco photographer Marcel Pardo Ariza, whose triptych self-portrait “Fiera & Marcel encarnándose” was commissioned for the exhibit. The works hang at an angle, a particular challenge during installation, the artist explained.
Next, Altman Siegel presented “The Roof Is on Fire” with new paintings by Los Angeles artist Troy Lamarr Chew II, which feature cartoon characters like Bart Simpson, Roger Rabbit and SpongeBob SquarePants illustrated with images such as mashed potatoes, ketchup and patch cabbage whose names also refer to popular dances. When viewed through the Halo AR app, the paintings come to life with demonstrations of each dance.
At the mid-construction launch of San Francisco’s new Institute of Contemporary Art, Oakland artist Chris Martin’s inaugural exhibition “Ancient as Time” opened with massive curved sculptures painted with expressions like that “The only way out is through” and “PS Don’t look back” before giving way to banner installations featuring his sailor tattoo-inspired images. Martin said that prior to the closing of the exhibition on April 16, he hopes to be able to offer real tattoos of his work there, “if we can settle the papers with the city”.
Wednesday January 19
The new exhibition space at Pier 70 offered a preview of the retrospective of Paint the Void, the mural program founded at the start of the COVID pandemic that has funded many works by Bay Area artists who have animated boarded up storefronts. Simon Malvaez, Nick Sirotich, Yon and Chris Granillo were among the muralists featured, with their work massively reimagined.
“We never intended it to be a movement,” said Shannon Riley, executive director of Paint the Void. “It’s impressive to know that we’ve now created over 150 murals and supported over 170 artists, some of whom have never created a mural.”
That night at the Fog gala, Stanlee Gatti’s 21 Pop exhibit featuring Arion Press was set up in a plywood cabin with letter cutouts in real fonts used by Arion. The booth also previewed an upcoming print by writer-musician Patti Smith and artist Christian Marclay.
Rirkrit Tiravanija’s screen-printed ‘Untitled (Tomorrow is the Question)’ ping pong table in the Kurimanzutto space was popular with many who picked up paddles to play a game. Berkeley artist Masako Miki has also made quite an impression with her colorful Fog sculpture featured in both Cult Aimee Friberg exhibitions and Ryan Lee gallery spaces.
Thursday January 20
Among the most striking elements of Richmond ceramicist Cathy Lu’s new ‘Inner Garden’ exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Center was ‘Peripheral Visions’, an installation of ceramic eyes in shades of yellow meant to evoke form East Asian eyes. They pour yellow onion water into a variety of Chinese-made containers, ranging from traditional jars and pots to plastic buckets.
“You hear about white tears and black tears. It’s all about ‘yellow tears,'” she said of the work.
After previewing the Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s pop-up lighting exhibition at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, featuring works by Nacho Carbonell and Studio Drift, among others, my day ended at Jessica’s Silverman for the opening shows of Julian Hoeber and Hayal Pozanti. Pozanti’s work uses a language of 31 predetermined forms. This latest series depicted in ‘Lingering’ was painted outdoors during the pandemic from 2020, giving the shapes an organic feel inspired by leaves, flowers, waves and mushrooms.
“I’m very interested in world-building,” Pozanti said of her visual language. “As a child, I was always making up stories, I was a big fan of science fiction. I think I started by inventing my system of forms. With this work, I was able to express what this world could look like.
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