Museum of the African Diaspora, May 08 – October 11, 2015
What’s closed but more open than ever could be a question that mystifies anybody who has not been following the outreach of SFMOMA while they are closed for construction. The current exhibit at MoAD is a perfect example – a collaboration jointly curated by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, guest curator for MoAD, and Caitlin Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, of portraits of African-Americans from the early days of photography through today.
Another question could be “When is a portrait not a representation of physical likeness but an installation, an assemblage, a painting with multiple meanings? ” The answers range through the whole spectrum of 1930’s photographs through today’s most thoughtful and provocative installations and films.
Featuring more than fifty artworks ranging in date from the early 1930s to our own time, “Portraits and Other Likenesses” from SFMOMA demonstrates how artists interested in issues of identity have negotiated a vast array of European, African, and American visual-cultural forms to redefine what it means to make a portrait. The carefully selected artworks — many exhibited for the first time as part of SFMOMA’s collection —include by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Wifredo Lam, Glenn Ligon, Consuelo Kanaga, Nicole Miller, Chris Ofili, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Fred Wilson. (images at ChezNamasteNancy.blogspot.com)
Museum of the African Diaspora: Opens May 9 – through Oct 11.
Gold fever at Oakland Museum of California: Chances are if you grew up in the East Bay, your childhood included a trip to OMCA to pan for gold. The tradition is still going strong as families and school groups learn what it means to catch Gold Fever. Gold pan in the Museum gardens every Sunday in May or during Friday Nights @ OMCA from 5 to 8 pm. And, for a 49-er extravaganza, make your way to the Awesome Gold Panning Hoedown on Sunday, May 17 with music, square dancing, and more!
OMCA Film & Artist Talk | A Hole in Space on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 7 p.m.
In the spirit of special exhibition “Who is Oakland?” OMCA screens an evocative film piece, “A Hole in Space,” which captures a unique form of dialogue between people in different neighborhoods of Oakland. In January 2015, artists Maya Gurantz and Ellen Sebastian Chang created video “portals” between distinct Oakland neighborhoods that are geographically close, but socially and economically worlds apart. Their efforts resulted in an exchange of mutual discovery, acknowledgment, and understanding, against a backdrop of the current gentrification and economic unrest in the city. Commissioned by the Great Wall of Oakland, the work is inspired by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s seminal 1980 new media art project A Hole in Space.
This program in OMCA’s Lecture Hall features footage from the installation, followed by a Q&A about the Oakland-specific issues that arose from this unique form of neighborhood-to-neighborhood conversation. Panelists include:
filmmakers Maya Gurantz and Ellen Sebastian Chang
artist Chris Treggiari, whose work can be seen in special exhibition Who is Oakland?
Michelle Clark, The Youth Employment Partnership, Inc.
Meghann Farnsworth, The Center for Investigative Reporting
Before or after the screening, visit special exhibition “Who is Oakland?” in the Gallery of California Art.
Included with Museum admission. Admission is first come, first served, and seating is limited. During Friday Nights @ OMCA, from 5 to 9 pm, admission is half-price for adults, free for ages 18 and under. Admission for Members is always free.
CJM: The Jewish Alms box reimagined
The Hebrew word tzedakah has no satisfactory equivalent in English, but “it’s often translated as ‘righteousness,’” says Claire Frost, curatorial assistant at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Frost has had much occasion to think about tzedakah lately; she is the curator of the CJM’s 10th Dorothy Saxe Invitational, which this year asked 38 West Coast artists to create their versions of the tzedakah box, a small container for contributions to the needy. Tzedakah boxes are traditionally found in Jewish homes and synagogues.
The results, on view through May 17, range from lighthearted to sobering, but Frost was struck by how many of these reimagined boxes go deep in meditating on tzedakah “as a way of ‘righting,’ or bringing equality into the community. It’s not charity, not a self-sacrifice. It’s an obligation to consider justice in the ways we support one another.”
Money, the misuse of money and the power of money -for good or evil – are the topics of several boxes. Yvonne Escalante’s box, titled “Your Turn,” recreates a gum ball machine, with a slot for accepting credit card payments on the front. The gum ball machine decides how much the player should get and dispenses the prizes anonymously to spare the recipient embarrassment. Then, it is up to the recipient to decide the value of what he or she has received. No gum balls are included in the prizes.
Shredded money, which, as it turns out you can buy from the U.S. Mint, is used by a number of the artists. Nancy Selvin’s “Tzedek,” takes the shape of a glass house and has no slots for either accepting or dispensing donations. Beth Grossman’s “Providence” “makes a statement about wealth structures” by presenting an enormous funnel towards an oversized slot on the bottom of a pyramid so that “the people most in need will receive the most.” The implication is that wealth should be distributed on a more egalitarian basis
Amy Franceschini’s “Flatbread Society Seed Archive,” made of rye seeds and ink on paper, references a powerful historical event: the way Russian citizens guarded scientist Nikolai Vavilov’s seed bank during the siege of Leningrad because they recognized the importance of horticultural genetic diversity. Even in the bleak winter of that terrible war, the citizens were looking forward to creating a new future.
“The Jewish Alms box reimagined.” 38 West Coast fine artists and contemporary craftspeople recreate the tzedakah box, the traditional Jewish alms container. Participating artists include SF’s Anzfer Farms, Mildred Howard, Amy Franceschini, Zachary Royer Scholz, John Bankston and many more.
The boxes will be sold by silent auction at a benefit reception for the museum on May 12. Winning bids typically range from $350 to $5,000.
The 2015 Dorothy Saxe Invitational: “Tzedakah Box.” Through May 17. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Tuesday, until 8 p.m. Thursday. $5-$12. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F. (415) 655-7800.
Peninsula Women’s Caucus for Art: Their recent show, “Breaking Ground, ” at San Mateo City Hall was very well received… so well received, in fact, that they were asked to extend the exhibition and relocate it to the San Mateo Public Library. So this past Tuesday, some of the members packed up all the artwork and transferred it to the library. This is a lovely venue with longer hours and a convenient parking garage located beneath the building.
55 West 3rd Avenue. San Mateo, CA 94402. Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.. Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.