Friday, May 17, 2013

Helen Suzman at Katz, Chagoya at Kala, 'Orgins' at Berkeley and poetry at the SFPL

 For those who want a less intense art viewing experience than the one provided by this week's huge art fairs, there is a lovely variety to chose from - a crusader against apartheid, sculpture in Berkeley, Enrique Chagoya at Kala Art Institute and poetry by the city's youth,.

Helen Suzman with Nelson Mandela. AP wire Services

Katz Snyder Gallery: Helen Suzman was one of South Africa’s most vociferous and energetic opponents of apartheid. She takes pride of place among those liberals who devoted their lives to the fight for human rights and the rule of law in South Africa. Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, her valiant stand against the injustices of the apartheid regime was acknowledged by numerous institutions. From the start of a political career that spanned four decades, she worked tirelessly, never flinching from challenging the pernicious system created by apartheid.

But while she challenged apartheid at a time of violent protests among the black majority, she advocated peaceful change. This policy led to changes, after her death, that she didn't do very much at all - charges which reflect the troublesome nature of current South African politics, rather than Ms Suzman's actions during the struggle.

She rarely faced such criticism from South Africa’s best-known black leaders. Mr. Mandela spoke with affection of her visits to the Robben Island prison in the chilly Atlantic waters off Cape Town, where he was serving a life sentence imposed in 1964 and where he remained until he was moved to a mainland prison nearly 20 years later. Using her parliamentary visiting rights, she made her first trip in 1967 and returned frequently. (NY Times, Jan 2009).

Suzman was awarded 27 honorary doctorates from universities around the world, was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and received countless other awards from religious and human rights organizations around the world. Queen Elizabeth II made her an honorary Dame Commander (Civil Division) of the Order of the British Empire in 1989.

Hours: Monday – Thursday: 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.. Friday – Sunday: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Berkeley Art Center. "Origins: Elemental Forms in Contemporary Sculpture." Co-curated by Suzanne Tan and Ann Weber, this exhibition explores the primal and evolutionary impulses of shape, form, and figure as expressed through distinct works from an accomplished and diverse group of sculptors. On Sunday, there will be a panel discussion among artists included in this survey  4 p.m. Saturday. $10. (Exhibition runs through June 9.) Berkeley Art Center, 1275 Walnut St., Berkeley. Reservations: (510) 644-6893.

Their Freedom of Expression…The Recovery of Their Economy, 1984. Collection of the San Jose Museum of Art

Kala Art Institute. "Their Freedom of Expression." works by Enrique Chagoya: A survey of politically charged graphic arts by esteemed Bay Area painter Enrique Chagoya, selected by Peter Selz and Sue Kubly. 

Time Out, 2009
Chagoya's work incorporates historic and political subject matter to cast new interpretations of Mexico's history and current political events. It follows in the grand tradition of the great 20th Century Mexican muralists; But it is most indebted to the legendary exponents of art of social satire: José Guadalupe Posada and Francisco Goya.

 When Paradise Arrived, 1988. Courtesy of the di Rosa collection

Through July 6. Noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. Saturday. Kala Gallery/Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. (510) 841-7000.

Poetry at the San Francisco Public Library: The main staircase inside the library is decked out until the end of the month with colorful poems about pop culture from youth in the WritersCorps program. WritersCorps is a national program put on in San Francisco by the Arts Commission and library that has paired professional writers with more than 18,000 students since 1994.

The youth will perform works from their “Step to Poetry” display in the library at a free event on May 17 at 6 p.m.

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