Thursday, February 26, 2015


We could use a Daumier today

February 26, 1808. Honoré Daumier (February 26, 1808 - February 10, 1879) was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century. In this image: "The Pleader", one of Daumier's most famous court scenes, lent anonymously to the Pennsylvania Museum of art and show for the first time in this country in the comprehensive exhibition of the artist's work at the Philadelphia Museum.

 A lithograph of Daumier's Gargantua (1831) . A litho of the greedy king, his ministers and the nouveau riche of 19th century France devouring everything in sight.

Sound familiar?

Long before Iranian cartoonist Mahmoud Shokraiyeh was sentenced to 25 lashings for drawing a parliament member in a soccer jersey, of the Saudi blogger who is currently under a death sentence of 1000 lashes,  19th-century caricaturist HonorĂ© Daumier and his colleagues at the weekly Paris journal La Caricature endured prison sentences, fines, and litigation for their scathing portraits of king Louis-Philippe I of France, who came to power after the Revolution of 1830.

Back in 2012, the Cantor Arts Center presented a selection of Daumier’s cartoons attacking Louis-Philippe, the then king of France. The show’s most provocative prints represent the king as la poire, a bulbous pear. But the artists mercilessly lampooned everything about the July Monarchy, as Louis-Philippe’s reign was known—its ministers, their censorship of the press, their role in the inequalities of French society.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seductive fashions from Edo-era Japan

Forget the red carpet - the most gorgeous fashions on view are part of the new exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.

Courtesan in her boudoir, approx. 1818–1825, by Utagawa Toyokuni (Japanese, 1769–1825). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

 Courtesan promenading under cherry blossoms, approx. 1815–1819, by Katsushika Hokuun (Japanese, active approx. 1800–1844). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

 Outer robe with wisteria and stylized waves, 1750–1850. Japan; Edo period (1615-1868). Silk satin, silk, and couched gold thread embroidery, shaped resist–dyed. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

A drunken beauty beneath cherry blossoms, from the series Contest of Modern Beauties of the Pleasure Quarters, by Torii Kyonaga (Japanese, 1752–1815). Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection, 2005.100.67.a. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

100th Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Palace After Dark: Film & Light Installation at the Palace of Fine Arts. 100th Anniversary of the Panama-Pacific Int’l Exposition (PPIE). February 20, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE), the World’s Fair celebrating the completion of the Panama Canal and showcasing San Francisco—its recovery from the ashes of the 1906 earthquake and fire and its world trade potential.

Flags were ordered flown at half mast by mayor James Rolph in San Francisco on Sunday, December 5, 1915, the day after the Panama Pacific International Exposition closed. The 635-acre site for the exposition had been leased from a variety of owners and immediate restitution of the land was necessary.

But one building was saved - the Palace of Fine Arts, still a SF destination for weddings, lovers of the vistas and those who admire the swans. 

Throughout 2015, the PPIE100, a citywide consortium of cultural, civic, and historical organizations, will conduct centennial programs to commemorate the PPIE’s historical significance and to reflect on its legacy.

The background and history:

View all PPIE 2015 Events – tons of them are free.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Celebrate the Lunar New Year, Bay Area Style

Courtesan in her boudoir, approx. 1818–1825, by Utagawa Toyokuni (Japanese, 1769–1825). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.

Celebrate the Asian Art Museum’s new exhibition “Seduction: Japan’s Floating World” at a provocative opening party, featuring tunes by DJ Proof and performance art by sex educator Midori. “Seduction” explores the hedonistic Edo period in Japan, taking visitors inside the walled pleasure city of Yoshiwara (present-day Tokyo). Opens Friday. 7-11 p.m. Thursday. Through May 10. $20. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.

More at:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All the art links you need for the next couple of days… via twitter

"From the Art of Living Black" at the Richmond Art Center..

All the art links you need for the next couple of days… via twitter

Speaker Series:Talk & tour with artist Chris Eckert. Thursday Feb. 19, 6:30- 8pm Tickets:

City San Jose Public Art Request for Qualifications, SF Bay Area Artists: Alviso Storm Pump Station … via @sjsuartforum

Mokelumne art exhibition travels to #Oakland to share river’s beauty and raise awareness on water conservation:

Oakland artist Raymond Haywood has some terrific work showing at American Steel Studios in…

Join us at Oakstop this Friday 2/20 for the first of many artist talks for the Black Artists On Art Legacy...

Ends next week so don't miss:

Intersection for the Arts revamps, renews, revitalizes.

Artifacts exhibit at ARC @ARCSF . 


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Year Of The Sheep

The Year of the Sheep by Oliver Chin

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

February 19th marks the Lunar New Year and the year of the sheep, which may also be depicted as the goat or ram.  The holiday lasts until March 5th this year and is a time of traditions; red envelopes of lucky money, paper dragons, and firecrackers are part of the festivities, but the Lunar New Year is focused on being with family and what better way to come together than around stories.   Here are a handful of books for kids that I like for the upcoming holiday (with a whole tribe of great-nephews and great-nieces as well as supporting the St. Francis Day Care Center, I have plenty to buy for) :

 The Year of the Sheep, the latest in the Tales of the Chinese Zodiac picture book series, introduces a sheep named Sydney who demonstrates the valuable characteristics of those born under this sign: kindness, cooperation, and creativity.  Ages 4-8

 Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a fun re-telling of the Golidlocks story, with a Lunar New Year twist. And unllke the original, this Goldy feels bad about all the havoc she caused and in making things right also makes a new friend.  Ages 4-8

 Filled with beautiful watercolor illustrations, Moonbeams, Dumplings and Dragon Boats is a treasury of recipes, crafts, and folklore for five Chinese holidays beginning with Lunar New Year.  Simple instructions and recipes are accompanied by interesting information about how and why traditions such as the Tray of Prosperity continue today. Ages 4-8

  Chapter book readers will enjoy a holiday themed mystery in the A to Z Mysteries Super Edition #5: The New Year Dragon Dilemma. San Fransisco's Miss Chinatown goes missing during the Chinese New Year  parade and these young sleuths Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are on the case. Ages 6-9

  Newbery Honor winning author Grace Lin blends Chinese folktales and fantasy in Starry River of the Sky.  The moon has gone missing and a young runaway named Rendi has begun to notice all the other peculiarities in his village.  When a mysterious woman arrives and begins telling her stories, the villagers and Rendi himself, start to change. Ages 8-12

I am sure that you can find them at but try to buy them at your local bookstore.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shows for Valentine's Day Weekend

Florishing by Holly Van Hart. Holly Van Hart and DeWitt Cheng
Voyage to the Possible. Holly Van Hart.

 "Serenity at Mt. Zion." Since 2007 the 'Serenity' series,  curated by Matt McKinley, has featured art work focused on positive, healing and uplifting artwork.  he 'Serenity' series invites Bay Area artists to present a body of work that interprets the idea of ‘serenity’ in order to inspire relaxation, well-being and calm.  "Serenity in Harmony." Featured artists: Ann T. Elliott - Floor 3, Carol Rienecker - Floor 4, Marc Ellen Hamel - Floor 5, Carol Aust - Floor 6, Holly Van Hart - Floor 7. Through April 14. UCSF Women's Health Center, 2356 Stutter Street.

 Possibilities Unfurling. Holly Van Hart

More at:

Photos @ DeWitt Chang and Holly Van Hart.

Also at Roots Division: The Museum of Broken Relationships
Exhibition Dates: February 11 – 28, 2015
Second Saturday Reception: Saturday, February 14th, 7-10 pm
Third Thursday BAASICS Event: Its Complicated Thursday, February 19th 7-9 pm

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spare a Rose, Save a Child.

Buying a dozen roses is a traditional way many people say "I love you" for Valentine's Day. But what if that token of affection also meant saving the life of a child with diabetes?

For the first time this year, it does! All you have to do is be a part of a new grassroots effort called Spare a Rose, Save a Child.

A small group of our friends in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) came up with an idea to use social media for a bigger "social good" and help make a difference, and it's caught on like wildfire not only in the DOC but also across broader health communities.

The idea is simple: instead of buying the typical "dozen roses" that's so popular on Valentine's Day, you buy 11 (which is still romantic, we promise!). Then, you donate the value of that single extra flower to help a child with diabetes in the developing world. Your loved one still gets flowers, and you both show some love to someone who needs it.

Seriously, it's THAT easy!

Of course, there's nothing that says you can't donate more than just the cost of a rose! That's just a starting point.

What's the value of a rose, by the way? Well, it varies depending on where you live and the type of store you're buying from, and it costs a little more right now due to V-Day inflation, but generally it costs anywhere from $2-$7.

Your donation goes to the International Diabetes Federation's Life For A Child program, which processes contributions and sends them to established diabetes centers for ongoing clinical care and diabetes education these children need to stay alive.

The cost of a single rose is more than enough to make a difference, IDF reports. Just $1 a day provides a child with:

regular insulin
quality blood glucose monitoring equipment (meter, strips, lancets)
essential clinical care
up-to-date diabetes education materials
specialized diabetes training for medical staff

On Twitter, the hashtag for this effort is #sparearose.

The American Diabetes Association is doing a flower-related effort of its own for Valentine's Day, using TrialPay as a way for flower-buyers to donate $18 of the total purchase price to the ADA.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

'joSon: Intimate Portrait of Nature' at the SF Botanical Garden Library

The tiny, cluttered library at San Francisco's Botanical Garden is hosting an exhibit of rare beauty. Photos from the book, "JoSon: Intimate Portrait of Nature” (Graphis, 2013) grace the space, the work of joSon, a former Buddhist monk turned photographer.....

“A single flower can fill the void left by human language, providing illumination that only the heart can understand.”

More at:

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Happy Birthday to Franz Marc

 Blue Horse

Yellow Cow

Happy Birthday to Franz Marc, known for his vivid colors + bold lines (and mystic energy!). Born in Munich in 1860, he though of several careers befroe going to art school. 

Marc suffered from severe depression from 1904 to 1907. In 1907 he went again to Paris, where he responded enthusiastically to the work of Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, the Cubists, and the Expressionists; later, he was impressed by the Henri Matisse exhibition in Munich in 1910. During this period he received steady income from the animal-anatomy lessons he gave to artists.

In 1910 he met August Macke and through Macke, was introduced to the Fauves and their bold use of color. Macke also introduced him to the collector Bernard Koehler, who happened to be the uncle of Macke's wife. Koehler liked his work, and offered him a monthly allowance, which removed the worst of his financial worries.

In September Marc defended the exhibition of the Neue Kuenstlervereinigung, which was being attacked by the local Munich critics, and was offered membership of the group as a result. He did not, however, meet Kandinsky, its leading spirit, until February 1911.

By that time he had formed his own set of artistic principles, which were a mixture of Romanticism, Expressionism and Symbolism. In December 1910 he wrote a famous letter to Macke, assigning emotional values to colours:
Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual.

"Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the colour to be opposed and overcome by the other two."

Marc became one of the most important members of the Blaue Reiter and continued to develop as an artist. His promissing career was cut short by WW I - a war which decimeted some of the most creative spirits of the age. How ironic that the sociopathic Hitler survived when so many other, better men did not. (From Edward Lucie-Smith, "Lives of the Great 20th-Century Artists")

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Janet Delaney at the de Young, Tribal Art, Big Crow Studio and more...

 This weekend's Bay Area art events have a mix of the ethnic, the poetic, social commentary through photography, the Middle East through the eyes of Arab women and artists doing it for themselves - all the things that make "Bagdad by the Bay" so unique.

 Do you want to know one of the main reasons San Francisco has so little affordable housing? Are you curious at all about what happened to the gritty, working class neighborhood south of Market St. or "South of the Slot" as natives called it.

 Look no further than Janet Delaney's exhibit at the de Young Museum. In the 1980's, redevelopment moved like a fire storm through San Francisco's oldest, most affordable and most working class neighborhood, mowing down everything that was old in favor of expensive high rise condos, expensive and for the "elite. "

 The "redevelopment" destroyed a close knit working class neighborhood and forced the closure of 80 Langton Street, just the first of a long line of local art centers that have disappeared in the following decades.

The hard scrabble neighborhood provided services and shelter for the homeless and beggars who now sleep on our streets, a visible sign of the social upheaval that is still changing San Francisco beyond recognition. Delaney documented the destruction and death of the old social contract which has been replaced by an administration catering to the 1%, for the 1% and by the 1%.

Seeing her photos was very emotional for me- that was my old stomping grounds back in the day. Now it's all gone and what it represented - the SF Bohemian life that I came here for - is disappearing. I also couldn't help but compare her powerful photos with the bunch of chi-chi s&*t that Wilsey's son had on display about 2 years ago - neoptism and little taste compared with the work of a enormously talented artist and social activist. No wonder Wilsey's son's photographic possessions looked so hollow. They were empty of both passion and meaning.

 Quote from Delany: "I was really intending for this project to express what was happening at the time, but also have a long-term impact,” says Delaney. “It’s a way to remember the practice of acknowledging our value, to honor what we were as San Franciscans.” - See more at:

KQED article:
Janet Delaney: South of Market: Photographs and ephemera. Through July 19. De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, S.F. (415) 750-3600. All images @Janet Delany

More at:

Monday, February 2, 2015

'She Who Tells A Story' at the Cantor Arts Center

 Boushra Almutawakel

She Who Tells a Story, " now open at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford, presents the work of 12 Arab women photographers from Iran and the Arab world. The artists explore identity, narrative, representation, and war in daily life, presenting the Middle East through their eyes. Interestingly but not surprisingly, several of the women represented in the show no longer live in the Middle East.

        SHIRIN NESHAT (B. 1957). Untitled, from Women of Allah, 1994

 The exhibition highlights three themes: "Deconstructing Orientalism," " Constructing Identities," and "The New Documentary." While most of the work was made between 2008 and 2012, the exhibition includes two series from the 1990s that marked a turning point in the recent history of representation and inspired other photographers to follow different approaches.

This was such an overwhelming show that I know I didn't say anything insightful - relied far too much on the press release. My main thought as I looked at all their work - critical of war, the position of women and probably some political nuances that I didn't get is how soon will their voices be silenced in their native countries? Some are already silenced as their work is not shown there. Being shown at Stanford is wonderful but that's such a tiny elite sliver of the country. What about the rest?

 The good thing is that artists of whatever political beliefs or ethnic/ national origin can still exhibit in selected venues. That may not be true for much longer:

What women artists in France are facing - censorship under threats of violence.