Stopping short of handing out yoga mats, "Cosmic Wonder," the much-hyped group exhibition that kicking off Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ 2006-07 season, is a meditative experience seeking clarity, metaphysics and spirituality.
Featuring revered psychedelic artists James Turrell and Richard Misrach, alongside a swell of new names to the notorious art movement.
The exhibition celebrates the boundless enthusiasm that’s defined psychedelic art for decades, but also encompasses the parallel minimalist movement that swept the world during that time period as well.
"We really want people to come to feel the work," the show’s curator, Betty Nguyen, said. "It’s not about transcendence into another state of mind. It’s about having a clear state of mind."
Gleaming the ‘Cube’
At the Ping Pong Gallery, artist David O. Johnson presents his solo exhibition "Cubes and Tubes."
Demonstrating the 28-year-old artist’s experience with sculpture and neon, the works presented call upon materials Johnson describes as urban and familiar, such as cardboard, Styrofoam and concrete.
"It’s just a really visceral material. It’s like alive" said Johnson, whose attraction to neon stemmed from his days as a worker in a neon sign shop.
That interest has since grown into a desire to expand neon’s oft-used two-dimensional qualities into the three-dimensional realm.
An example is "Cubic Foot," a solid block of concrete from which a strip of blue neon tube emerges at the piece’s stop, juxtaposing the harshness of the concrete captor with the fragility of the escaping neon.
Home, sweet home
What constitutes home is the question up for postulation at Space 180.
Presented by Kearny Street Workshop, the community art organization birthed at the famed International Hotel in Chinatown, the exhibition "Home: A New Exhibition About Belonging" showcases various artists’ take on the nebulous term and its wide range of interpretations and experiences.
"Fireside Chat," an audio installation created by artists Max Chen, Sue Pak and Robynn Takayama, takes aim at what it means to be home. The artists have replicated a fireplace, complete with mantel cluttered with framed photographs, with removable bricks that play audio feeds of stories told by immigrants who’ve witnessed the numerous displacements of the Kearny Street Workshop.
The stories are intriguing and the play upon Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s series that shares the same name is intelligent, political and witty all at once.