Friday, January 2, 2015

Bay Area top ten art picks for 2014

 Vuillard from the "Intimate Impressions" show at the Legion

I am going over my articles for the year - I wrote a lot more than I thought I did and it's not all bad either. Some of the works, like the "Hagaddah" by Arthur Szyk, touched me deeply and others - like the "Masters of Fire" at the Legion - intrigued me. I was saddened by the loss of so many galleries and gladdened to find out that some -like Meridian and Roots - managed to survive eviction, find new spaces and continue on their mission. It is hard to limit the list to ten; the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford deserves a separate list for their shows on Robert Frank and Charleton Watkins as well as the new art spaces curated by DeWitt Cheng.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz.

Jackson Pollock

Joan Mitchell, Sunflowers

First on everybody's list is the new museum in Stanford:.

My next choice for one of the most beautiful, spiritual, and ethical shows of the year was the Arthyr Szyk exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum:

"Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art" at the Legion of Honor.

Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke" at the Asian Art Museum.

“Roads of Arabia” at the Asian Art Museum. On everybody’s top ten list, although it is equal parts archaeology and art history (which specifically censored out any mention the ancient Jewish and Christian communities in the Arabian peninsula, expelled or destroyed after the rise of Islam).

"Masters of Fire" at the Legion of Honor. This was another show that is equal parts art and archaeology:

 Zheng Chongbin

 Li Huayi

A real eye opener for me - Contemporary Chinese calligraphy married to modern art. The Chinese painters in this show - Li Huayi, Wang Tiande, Zheng Chongbin and Lu Chuntao come from such a long tradition of using ink and manipulating the brush to create art that that is such an integral part of Chinese culture that it is imprinted in their DNA.

Ursula O'Farrell

Women artists in the Bay Area: From the sidewalk, Mythos Gallery looks like just another nondescript storefront off busy Shadduck Avenue in Berkeley. But if the viewer takes a second look, he (or she) will see one of the most powerful – if smallest – exhibitions of women artists from the 1950’s through today. The exhibition at Mythos Gallery is the first of two to showcase women painters who arose out of the Abstract Expressionist and Figurative artistic movements of the 1950's.

Romare Bearden at Jenkins Johnson:

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