Ben Valentine


The Dangers of Crowd Funding Art

by Ben Valentine on October 31, 2012

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In a recent panel, San Francisco’s Artstech contingent explored the power of crowd-funding for art. The discussion drove me to a question: How can we help solve some of the problems of crowd-funding and avoid Kickstarter burnout?

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Post image for What Would a Revolution Look Like for the Yes Men?

A question for the Yes Men as they launch their Kickstarter campaign to fund their film: You say that this film is about revolution. What would a revolution look like for the Yes Men?

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Berkeley’s Giant Bonsai Trees

by Ben Valentine on October 26, 2012

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BERKELEY, California — Berkeley’s unusually large population of giant Bonsai-like trees has caught my attention since moving from Brooklyn. Why are they here and what do they mean?

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Post image for A Combo Gallery-Studio-Workshop Activates Oakland’s Art Scene

BERKELEY, California — When I visited The Compound Gallery and Studios in North Oakland, it was the first time I felt like I was back in Brooklyn’s art scene since I moved to California. The multipurpose space was very active and full of art projects, ranging from a residency program, to different gallery spaces and artists in the studio actively creating. This exciting arena, like those alternative spaces in Gowanus or Bushwick, is a place I will definitely be frequenting.

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Post image for Painted Pigeons: Political Commentary or Pop Street Art?

BERKELEY, California — Artists Julius von Bismark and Julien Charriere have teamed up to create a hilarious installation first in Venice and now in Copenhagen entitled, “Some Pigeons Are More Equal than Others” (2012). The performative work exists on multiple levels: a hanging sculpture (pictured below) captures and holds the pigeons on a conveyor belt, then airbrushes the birds in a rainbow of iridescent colors only to release them back into the city. The colorful and playful piece takes place at different platforms and settings ranged around the cities in lands in.

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Post image for Revisiting the Radical Energy of 1968

Currently on view at the Oakland Museum of California is The 1968 Exhibit, which focuses on the culture of that unforgettable year. Organized by the Minnesota History Center, the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Oakland Museum, this expansive show explores the tumultuous year whose highlights include human space travel, the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the rise of the Black Panthers, the Beatles, and hippie culture, the first wide use of plastics, and many other things.

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Post image for Playful, Sinister, and Simple Ceramics

Just north of UC Berkeley’s campus, hidden away in a small patch of woods, is the Berkeley Art Center, currently showing the exhibition Local Treasures: Bay Area Ceramics. Wanting to know more about the Bay Area’s art scene — craft included — I felt compelled to visit. The beautiful, small building has quiet grounds sprinkled with larger ceramic works. The current show includes eleven artists working in clay, with pieces ranging from simple functional pots to complex installations. The exhibition is an eclectic grouping of artists who most likely wouldn’t be shown together if not for the local theme.

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Post image for The Impossible Joy of Finding Meaning

BERKELEY, California — Ratio 3 gallery’s new show of work by Lutz Bacher is a must see. The large, skylight-lit, raw gallery space is perfect for Bacher’s captivating installation of audio, visual, and sculptural work. Upon entering the gallery one immediately focuses on the small black spheres scattered about the floor. After a hesitant test, the black orbs turn out to be squishy balls. Along the walls are framed black and white astronomy prints cut out from a book. As one weaves their way through the balls (or in my case, kicked my way until I was asked to avoid touching the work) the visual connection between the galactic formations and the floor installation was obvious.

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The Art of Apperception

by Ben Valentine on October 17, 2012

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SAN FRANCISCO — Lyndi Sales’s show Apperception at Toomey Tourell Fine Art is a beautiful study in intricate complexity and light. Despite its prettiness, the work has an undertone of desperation; the artist started the series after being diagnosed with an astigmatism, a defect in the eye’s curvature that causes a distortion in images, commonly referred to as “ghosting.”

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Capturing Time

by Ben Valentine on October 16, 2012

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BERKELEY, California — Keeping Time is a large group exhibition at Kala Gallery documenting and exploring creative ways of expressing or marking time from the obvious to the poetic. Although the science of keeping time has fascinated many for centuries, the intensely subjective nature of experiential time was felt in this rather chaotic exhibition.

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