In the Bay Area, where Silicon Valley’s private-shuttle ingenues are a nightmare vanguard to low-income residents in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, Google has taken the unprecedented step of directly leasing office space in one such area: San Francisco’s Mission district.
SAN FRANCISCO — As fleets of shuttle buses take employees to their respective Silicon Valley campuses, resentment and tension grows in the Bay Area. Last week, protesters blocked one such Google bus in an effort to draw attention to the widening gap between the technology industry and the communities it affects; a union organizer impersonated a tech worker to incite dialogue through performative gesture.
OAKLAND, Calif. — San Francisco has become a city of gadgets, but it’s always been a city of letters. The town was central to the Beat movement in the 50’s, and the recent, city-wide SF Lit Crawl shed light on its wide variety of independent bookstores.
The western span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is coming alive. Starting March 5, it will light up nightly with 25,000 LEDs strung along its network of support cables, turning into the largest light sculpture in the world. In a preliminary test video of the installation by American artist Leo Villareal, the LED sparks flicker and dance along the length of the bridge, giving the inert structure a whimsical, digital personality that befits the technology capital of the U.S.
BERKELEY, California — Hugh Leeman’s work didn’t immediately impress me. It had a distinct Bay Area style, which is not my personal favorite — his paintings are loose, colorful, street art–influenced, and have some realistic surrealism mixed in — but what caught my attention in Leeman’s practice was the social utility interwoven with the artwork.
BERKELEY, California — Adam Parker Smith’s new show Forever 21 at Ever Gold Gallery is an investigation of youthful aesthetics taken seriously.
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?
BERKELEY, California — I just moved to Berkeley, California after living in Brooklyn for two years and the second arts institution I visited was SFMoMA (the first was the Luggage Store gallery but I didn’t have my camera with me). The museum is not unpleasant but has an odd construction with a consistent zebra-stripe patterning throughout — it reminded me of the Orvieto Cathedral in Umbria, Italy.
Mark Warren Jacques’s paintings are equal parts pop and mysticism; they linger between the monastic the psychedelic and party time. A Portland-based artist, his works assert themselves with a clearly defined West Coast swagger. They beam light straight into your head, they knock you down with colorful brilliance only to offer you a leg up and a wholehearted wink.
The Bay Area is full of artistic hypocrisy this month. On one side of the San Francisco Bay, two commissions by artist Tom Otterness are on hold because of a tasteless art video he did in the 1970s, and on the other side of the same bay, a Palestinian children’s art show is cancelled because it pisses off a small faction of right-wing political activists.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art just unveiled the designs for their new building, and it looks like … a granite glacier fit into a skinny city block? Developed by Norwegian architectural firm Snøhetta, the expansion will add over 225,000 square feet the the museum.