Friday, November 25, 2016

November Mail - Part II

After over 400 vivid, pink pieces of mail art for Pink Week, the mail art took a more somber tone for the rest of November including these pieces received in the last few weeks:
  1. Another handmade note from Jennifer Utter.
  2. Two pieces including a small print from William Mellott.
  3. Angela Behrendt has stitched some graffiti onto a photo postcard.
  4. Skull #15 from Kerosene (aka Carolyn Oord) in Québec.
  5. Some frank blank realism from e. coles.
  6. And a post-pink Psychedelic Furs postcard from Silvano Pertone in Italy.

Now it is time for me to come up some holiday mail, stay tuned…

November Mail Part I

November always feels like an intermission month to me.  This fall’s show are hung, it’s the quite before the holidays and San Francisco is a mix of warm sunny days with intermittent rain as we wait for the real, wet winter to get its start.  Here is some of the mail art that I have recently received: 
  1. Jennifer Utter could not resist taking a photo of a spectacular sunset and turning it into mail art.  You might not realize this, but for all we do have in San Francisco, an impressive sunset in our foggy city is a rare thing.
  2. Elaine James incorporated the San Francisco MUNI map into a Día de los Muertos card.  The papel picado stamps the USPS put out this year are some of the best for 2016. I used many.
  3. Punkie Ebert has done a colorful zine featuring many of cultural icons.
  4. Jacqueline Wygant sent a small little booklet from Portland that reminds me I need to make a trip up there to once again spend the day at Powell’s.
  5. And a new set of awesome owl artist stamps from Darlene Altschul.
Thank you for the mail art, watch for November Mail Part II in the next post.

Monday, November 21, 2016

We are an Island

Here is my new map for California adrift – because we are an island.   You can purchase prints of this piece as well as finding it on other merchandise at Society 6.  Today (November 21) many products are $5 off with free shipping and if you miss this offer, check back as Society 6 has a number of upcoming promotions during the holidays.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Home Land Security

I never tire of exploring the California Coast including the repurposed military bases in or adjacent to San Francisco.   Most have been transformed into parks.  I have a longstanding fascination with the abandoned bunkers and gun batteries.  They are like concrete “ruins” from a time when they were needed to give us a sense of safety and security.  Our world is far from peaceful and feels less and less safe, but the gun batteries that once protected the Bay Area now are basically obsolete.
Today was one of those perfect sunny San Francisco days, the Golden Gate Bridge looked fantastic and tourists were snapping pictures of the view from atop Fort Winfield Scott.  But for us, it was time to see what was hidden beneath the concrete. 
The For-Site Foundation has brought together artists for a site-specific installation titled Home Land Security.  As they describe it:
“Home Land Security brings together works by contemporary artists and collectives from around the globe to reflect on the human dimensions and increasing complexity of national security, including the physical and psychological borders we create, protect, and cross in its name.”
The work is installed in 5 buildings and we began with one of the most powerful and disturbing pieces – 2487 a sound piece by Luz María Sánchez.  Ducking my head to enter a dark passageway where a row of speakers randomly announce the names of 2487 people those who perished crossing the boarder between Mexico and the United States.  You can experience the piece on the website
Mandana Moghaddam’s video piece Exodus was the next work to confront us. The heavy doors are open to reveal a screen where we see footage of the anonymous, lost luggage of refugees.
Tirtzah Bassel and Michelle Pred explore the theatre that is airport security.  Bassel offers an installation of a temporary mural using duct tape as the artistic medium while Pred’s installation is almost lovely until you think about it — the circle made up of hundreds of small objects confiscate in the name of security.
The project website covers all the installations in detail with many photos, etc.  Or ideally, you will be able to visit for yourself before December 18, 2016.

And you too can contemplate just how “safe” we all are…

No place like home….

So many people travel all over the world and yet never visit places near their homes.  And I have to confess that I am guilty as well.  The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park is awesome.   But its proximity to the ticky tackiness of Fisherman’s Wharf keeps most of us locals away.  Yesterday was a quiet and sunny day in San Francisco and a good day to sneak over there and play tourist-at-home.  This was my first time in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse – an art deco landmark that is now part of the museum.  It features interesting exhibits, Sargent Johnson sculpture and beautiful WPA era murals by Hilaire Hiler.  Hiler had a fascinating biography that begs to be a movie.  As well as an artist he was a color theorist.  The ceiling of one of the large rooms in the bathhouse has his Prismatarium mural – a giant color wheel on the ceiling!

So there you have it, waiting for me to discover after a MUNI ride across town, a really nice museum with one of the most unique murals I have ever seen.  And, it is even free admission.