Thursday, October 30, 2014

Weekend picks for Oct 30 - Nov 2. SF Giants, Hans Hoffman and more

 "Summer Bliss" (1960), oil on canvas; gift of the artist, Hans Hofmann, to the Berkeley Art Museum in memory of Worth Ryder. 

The weekend will get off with a roar on Friday with the Giant’s victory parade and Halloween. Eric Fischl has some critical words about American art in the Guardian, Lee Krasner and Nicki de Saint Phalle were born this week and it’s the 3rd weekend of SF’s Open Studios 

Weekend 3 (11 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 1-2): Mission, Castro, Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Upper Market, Glen Park

Hans Hoffman at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive:
 Hofmann had begun traveling to the U.S. in 1930, when he was invited by a former student, Worth Ryder, to teach a summer art course at the University of California, Berkeley, where Ryder was a professor. In the spring of the following year, Hofmann taught at the Chouinard School in Los Angeles, and returned to Berkeley to teach another summer session. He also had his first American solo show at the Legion of Honor.

Hans Hofmann: Effervescence, 1944; oil, India ink, casein and enamel on plywood panel; 54-3/8 x 35-7/8 in.; gift of the artist.    

In 1932, while working abroad once again in the U.S., his wife advised Hofmann not to return to Munich because of the growing political hostility due to the rise of the Nazi Party. Hofmann settled in New York City where he established an art school in 1933.

 Over the next twenty-five years he influenced an astounding array of artists. He later claimed, “If I had not been rescued by America, I would have lost my chance as a painter.” He might have also ended up in a concentration camp had he not left Germany for good in 1932.

In 1963, as a gesture of gratitude toward the place that had first welcomed him with open arms, Hoffman gifted UC Berkeley with nearly 50 works and $250,000 in seed money for the new museum.

 Now, those works are on display at the Berkeley Museum of Art and Pacific Film Archive – generating enough energy to levitate the huge concrete building over the bay. Through December 2014

PBS interactive pages on the push-pull theory:

A series of videos on Hoffman and his legacy:

The perfect Halloween movie is also playing in Berkeley: Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut at

More weekend picks at:

Link to the excellent blog The Blue Lantern and an essay on Saint Phalle:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Cat Day

Please consider a donation to for , because adopted shelter cats rock EVERY day.

Art reviews to come - pre-Islamic art at the Asian, Hoffman at the Berkeley Museum and Film Archive and the 3rd week of Open studios.

But in the meantime, art, cats and the final game of the world series.

Happy ! Celebrate with our board, "The Cat: Muse, Symbol, Deity."

Saturday, October 25, 2014



Here's the latest lesson from the Friskies chief house cat to the newly arrived kitten.

I just saw that it's Picasso's birthday but a cat video trumps Pablo, any day of the week.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

'L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA.'

Pauline Oliveros - an avant guard musician who uses the accordion. It's not going to be a Lawrence Welk kind of concert or Weird Al Yankovich either (

For creative programming and avant guard music, one need look no further that the upcoming schedule for the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) after gallery-hours program "L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA."

BAM/PFA will be closing its galleries to the public in late December in preparation for the move to the new museum building in downtown Berkeley in early 2016 so the November/December 2014 L@TE schedule will be the last at the old location.

More on the schedule here:

Grumpy cat says that avant guard music is not for everyone but why not give it a try.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Literary and musical challenges around the SF Giants vs the Kansas City Royals

The world series competition goes beyond the ballfield

The Heartland Men's Chorus threw down the gauntlet Monday morning, with director Dustin Cates making a wager: if the Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, he'd don a Giants jersey during a chorus rehearsal. If the Giants somehow lost to a team that hasn't seen a World Series since the Reagan administration, San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus director Tim Seelig would have to sport a Royalettes jersey.

Kansas City, San Francisco accepts your challenge. Not just between baseball teams, but between gay men's choruses.

And more....

Literate competition as well: The war of words is heating up btwn @KCLibrary and @SFPublicLibrary. It's even getting Shakesperean ‪#‎WorldSeries‬

Sounding a bit Shakespearean, Liesl Christman, the Twitter czar for the Kansas City Public Library, tweeted on Wednesday morning, hours after the San Francisco Giants crushed the Royals in Game 1 on Tuesday, 7-1: "Tis but a flesh wound - @Royals will rally! Tonight, #LetsThrowFire!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BigCrow Studios - New exhibition space in the Outer Sunset

Sherry Miller. My Favorite Volcano" Oil on canvas.

From Anna Conti: What a year for changes! Moving is postponed, probably for a year at least. Meanwhile, since we emptied out more than half the house, we decided to to out it to good use by .... opening a gallery!


Celebrating a new exhibition space in the Outer Sunset of San Francisco.
Oct. 24th - Dec. 6th, 2014

Opening Reception: Friday, October 24th, 2014 ~ TWO locations:

5-7pm at BigCrow Annex, 1567 46th Ave, San Francisco
6-8pm at BigCrow Studios, 1426 41st Ave., San Francisco

Photographs by Tinker Greene

For 25 years, BigCrow Studios has been the home and workspace of artists Anna Conti, David W. Sumner, and an evolving cast of painters, photographers, musicians, writers and other artists.

The new exhibition space is opening with "Premier," a group show with 40 works by a dozen of the artists who have passed through here over the years. The space will operate free-to-the-exhibiting-artist (the gallery does not take a cut of sales) but it is not a co-op.

The shows will be curated by Anna Conti and David Sumner, by invitation only. It’s a small space (372 sq. ft.) but, over time, Anna and David hope to show most of the great local contemporary artists they have come to know. They’ve got some cool shows coming up!

After the opening reception, the primary Exhibition Space (on 41st Avenue) will be open to the public every Friday (1pm - 8pm) and Saturday (noon - 6pm.)

Other days/hours by appointment (call Dave at 415-632-7746 or email Anna at ) The BigCrow Annex space (on 46th Avenue) is open by appointment.

Both locations (5 blocks apart) are open during the receptions, held approximately every 6 weeks. The second show, "Portrait of the Artist," will open on Friday, December 12th.

Stay tuned for more photos & info about the work in this show.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Arts Town Hall SF 2014

Arts Town Hall SF will take place on October 20 from 6 pm to 8 pm, in the theater at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street.

Over 4 Million people participate in the events, programs, and services provided by San Francisco’s arts organizations each year. More than 5,000 Bay Area residents work at our arts organizations every day. These organizations offer high quality educational programming, serving almost 700,000 young people every year.

The Arts Town Hall grew out of a collaboration between Arts Forum SF and the San Francisco Arts Alliance and has continued to build upon efforts by both groups to educate elected and campaigning policymakers about the role and value of the arts in our City. With help and leadership from the Arts Commission and Grants for the Arts, Arts Forum SF and the San Francisco Arts Alliance joined forces to create a signature event that would bring the arts community together in dialogue with people running for office.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

'Houghton Hall; Portrait of an English Country House' at the Legion of Honor

Have you ever dreamed of living in a sumptuous English country estate, being served tea by a liveried footman, going to grand balls and sleeping in 4-poster beds, covered with rare Chinese silk? The current exhibit at the Legion of Honor, "Houghton Hall; Portrait of an English Country House" should satisfy even the most avid lover of Downtown Abbey and of a particular kind of very upper class, very elite English life style.

 Velázquez, Pope Innocent X, Detail from the National Gallery, Washington

Houghton Hall brings to San Francisco a wonderful array of objects from one of Britain’s great country houses, and reflects the history of this magnificent estate across nearly 300 years, from the 18th century to the present day. The show features more than 100 pieces from the estate, including old-master paintings from their once-lost collection, Sèvres porcelain, and pieces from the eighteenth-century interiors and furniture designed by William Kent.

Lady Sybil Sassoon, Lady Cholmondeley by Sargent

 More at:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Up next

Up coming: An insightful look at the demise of the SFBG by Lynn Rapoport, the SFBG's former managing editor:
The San Francisco Bay Guardian's former managing editor takes one last look back - See more at:
The San Francisco Bay Guardian's former managing editor takes one last look back - See more at:

 A review of Houghton Hall -300 years of a great English country house (opens the weekend at the Legion of Honor) and

Why you should spend at least one Friday a month at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

San Francisco Bay Guardian shuts down

Another nail to the heart of liberal SF - the SF Bay Guardian has ceased publication. Now I don't feel so bad that the E$ is still chugging along, It's bad, the writing varies from decent (me) to truly horrible but it's still around.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian weekly newspaper, a leading progressive voice in the city for 48 years, is closing for financial reasons, its publisher said Tuesday.

“It is the hardest decision I’ve had to make in my 20-year newspaper career,” said Publisher Glenn Zuehls of the San Francisco Media Co., which has operated the alternative paper since 2012 and also runs the San Francisco Examiner and the SF Weekly.

“San Francisco — and the world — was a very different place when the Bay Guardian began publishing in 1966,” Zuehls said in a statement. “Many of the causes the paper championed over the decades have shifted and evolved. The political and social climate of the city, in part as a result of the paper's coverage, has become more open, transparent and inclusive. The Bay Guardian leaves a legacy as a forceful advocate for social change that will always be a source of pride for everyone who was part of it or who valued its voice in our community.”

The end came in a hurry. Even before the public announcement was made, the newspaper’s website and Facebook page were shut down and all employee e-mail services dumped.

“The Bay Guardian is being shut down by our corporate owners, we're still absorbing this and figuring out what it means,” said Steven T. Jones, the paper’s editor, in a post on his personal Facebook page.

The closure is a blow to the progressive side of San Francisco politics, where the Bay Guardian has been a leading player for decades.

More here:

and here:

I am assuming that this won't be cancelled: A best of the bay party is scheduled for Nov 14 month after last

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Links - Medieval and more

 From the British Library - 111 digitized manuscripts (but who is counting!)

Rembrandt travels to the UK

Rembrandt, The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis, about 1661-2 (detail). Oil on canvas, 196 x 309 cm. The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Sweden© Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

It has been announced that one of the most ambitious and uncompromising paintings of Rembrandt’s late years – indeed, of his entire career – will be coming to London as a late addition to 'Rembrandt: The Late Works,' now at the National Gallery. 

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced the acquisition of "The Three Witches or The Weird Sisters." one of the best-known compositions by the Anglo-Swiss painter Henry Fuseli (1741–1825).

Peview of this weekend's Silicon Vally Art Fair:

 Neue Galerie New York has opened "Egon Schiele: Portraits," a special exhibition devoted to portraiture created by the masterful Austrian artist Egon Schiele. This is the first exhibition at an American museum to focus exclusively on portraiture in Schiele’s work.

 The French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici presents the exhibition The Baroque Underworld. Vice and Destitution in Rome, in the Grandes Galeries from 7 October 2014 to 18 January 2015.

The Baroque Underworld reveals the dark side of Baroque Rome, its slums, taverns, places of perdition. An "upside down Rome", tormented by vice, destitution, all sorts of excesses that underlie an amazing artistic production, all of which left their mark of paradoxes and inventions destined to subvert the established order. (unfortunately the only images are tiny, tiny, tiny and set up in a fast moving slide show - the images zoom by so quickly that it's impossible to see them. But the idea of the show is delicious and the whole decadent Roman underworld should be no surprise to those who have even a cursory knowledge of the history. )

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Born this week:  Simeon Solomon (9 October 1840 No. 3 Sandys Street, Bishopsgate, London, England - 14 August 1905 in St. Giles's Workhouse, Endell Street) was an English Pre-Raphaelite painter.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Music for a heat wave: Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli

Jean "Django" Reinhardt (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953) was a French guitarist and composer of Romani ethnicity.

Reinhardt is often regarded as one of the greatest guitar players of all time; he was the first important European jazz musician who made major contributions to the development of the guitar genre. After his third and fourth fingers were paralyzed when he suffered burns in a fire, Reinhardt used only the index and middle fingers of his left hand on his solos. He created an entirely new style of jazz guitar technique (sometimes called 'hot' jazz guitar), which has since become a living musical tradition within French Gypsy culture.

With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt co-founded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, described by critic Thom Jurek as "one of the most original bands in the history of recorded jazz."

Reinhardt's most popular compositions have become jazz standards, including "Minor Swing", "Daphne", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing '42", and "Nuages".

"Minor Swing" by Django Reinhardt - Quintette Du Hot Club De France - Stéphane Grappelli

 Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli: J' attendrai Swing (1939 live)

Django Reinhardt (guitar) and Stephane Grappelli (violin) were stars in the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which performed in the 1930's in Paris.

Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli - Lady be good (1937)


Django and Stephane 1939

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lucas Cranach, born today in 1515

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery

Lucas Cranach the Younger (Lucas Cranach der Jüngere; October 4, 1515 – January 25, 1586) was a German Renaissance artist, known for his woodcuts and paintings.

 CRANACH, Lucas the Younger. Adam and Eve/ after 1537
Oil on lime wood panel, 171 x 63 cm (each)
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

He is known for portraits and simple versions of allegorical and mythical scenes. The style of his paintings can be so similar to those of his father that there have been some difficulties in attribution of their works.

Portrait of the artist's father (Cranach the Elder) 550
Oil and tempera on wood, 64 x 49 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

 Eve. after 1537. Oil on lime wood panel, 171 x 63 cm
Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

 The Ill-Matched Lovers. Oil on panel, 19 x 14 cm. Private collection

Cranach Digital Archive:

Images from the Web Gallery of Art:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Brent Bushnell. 1940 - 2014

San Francisco has lost one of stalwarts of the art world. An artist and an environment activist, Brent Bushnell passed away last month at the age of 75.

Brent was born in Los Angeles but his parents decided to move back to Utah when he was six. When he graduated from high school, he thought about going to art school but the draft board had other plans. After a stint in the Navy, Brent came here in 1967, got his MFA at SFSU, studying with noted Bay Area sculptor Stephen de Staebler, (among others).

He raised his son as a single parent, worked as a draftsman and painted in his kitchen at night. He moved so often that he lost count, always looking for an affordable space that had room for him to paint. He was part of the first Open Studios in the mid 1970's and continued showing in Open Studios right up until 2013. His works will be in this year's Open Studios as well (see below for the date and location).

 Eventually, he was able to move into the Serta Building, a former mattress factory at 23rd and Yosemite. Over thirty artists lived there, forming an informal commune where everybody looked out for each other. The spaces were big, the windows were huge and the place was a paradise for art and community - a place which was destroyed, as were so many, by the forces of developer greed.

In San Francisco, he met his life partner, Sofia Carmi. They first met at the San Francisco International Art Fair in 1998 and then, at openings, museums, gallery openings – if it related to art, Sofia and Brent were there, constantly “running into each other.”  They shared concerns about the environment, our wanton misuse of natural resources and destruction of the wilderness. Both were, and for Sofia, still is on a journey compelled by the love of art and, for both, it was the journey together that is and is the reward.

 Moon and Borealis
 Sofia and Brent joined their lives and their art practices and were eventually married in 2011 but their partnership began long before the formal vows of marriage, They were together until the end. Brent died of pancreatic cancer at home on September 27, 2014.

Sofia Carmi set this message out earlier this week:

"Dear friends and fellow artists, (see below information on wake/casual party for Brent Bushnell)

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing of my artist partner/husband Brent Bushnell, on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Brent and I met in 1998 and have been together as partners in life and in paint for the past 14 years. Oct 3rd would have been our anniversary.  In August 2014, we learned that Brent was in the later stages of pancreatic cancer. He chose to die at our home, with the help of myself and hospice care. He has been cremated, as was his wish.

He leaves behind his son Damien, daughter-in-law Terese, grandchildren Jasper and Preston, his sisters Jill and Holly and their families

We want to thank friends and neighbors who have helped us during this difficult time. Keith and Nartan who organized this wake/party as Brent requested and everyone else who helped in  the daily support such as  Mike and Barb, Diana, Jakub, Chuck,/Chaz, Annette, Susan –Garry Lorica, Peter, Paul, Jen and Rab, Lou and Kate, Lea, Olga, Lisa, and Tanya. Also Brent’s out of town friends who provided moral support through emails and old friend from Utah, Charles and Mary. We thank my uncle David in Toronto for moral support and sister Hanna in Jerusalem who wished to be there for him in his last days. Brent went to the spirit world very fast with dignity.

We have shared a wonderful life of love, adventure, travel, discovery, painting and exhibitions of our work.

Brent was a dedicated artist and leaves behind a large body of work. He will be featured in two upcoming local art shows:

October 2nd at the Sandra Lee Gallery,
251 Post St.,#310 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Real and Surreal Group Juried Exhibit.

October 10th, at the San Francisco Zen Center,                                                                   
300 Page St., 7-9 p.m.
Memorial Exhibit

As well, our group Open Studio will be held on Oct 25th and 26th, 11-6 pm.
G2 Art Building, 1695 18th St., #316 (between Carolina and Arkansas)

An interview with Brent and I, with photos, will be published in the October issue of Potrero View (a local paper).

Brent requested that we have a party in his honor. Please join us in a celebration of his life, to be held at Project Artaud, artist building. We will have a ceremony and poetry reading, followed by a pot luck party.  Please bring food and drinks to share. Please RSVP your attendance  what food and drinks you  are planning to bring .

Sunday, October 5th, 2 p.m. ceremony 3-5 Party
Project Artaud, 499 Alabama St. (Alabama St./17th St)

If you wish to help setup, we will meet at 12:00. Please RSVP.

I would like to thank all our friends and neighbors who helped us during this difficult time.

Sofia Carmi

Obituary at the Examiner:

More of Brent's work at Art Slant:

Interview in November 2013:

Climate Changes

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Calendar Pages for October

Here in California, with our balmy climate (and continuing drought), these illuminations of winter to come are not something to be felt in a realistic way. Plus we are city dwellers so the medieval rhythm of agriculture is as far from us as earth is from the moon.

But for the illuminators of these pages, this life was real, present and very important. Summer may have been over, but farm work never ended.

On the opening folio is a roundel miniature of a man scattering grain in a plowed field.  Behind him are some turreted buildings and a bridge, while above, some hopeful birds are circling.   On the facing folio is a small painting of an ominous-looking scorpion, for the zodiac sign Scorpio.  Below, a tired man is heading home from his labors in the field, carrying a bag on his shoulders.  His dog is bounding before him, and swans can be seen swimming in the river beside.

--> Calendar page for October, with a roundel miniature of a man sowing grain, from the Huth Hours, Netherlands (Bruges or Ghent?), c. 1480, Add MS 38126, f. 10v 

--> Calendar page for October, with a roundel miniature of a man heading home after his work is done, with the zodiac sign Scorpio, from the Huth Hours, Netherlands (Bruges or Ghent?), c. 1480, Add MS 38126, f. 11r  (images and text courtesy of Sarah Brigs, British Library). -->

Huth Hours: