The Headlands Center for the Arts is one of my favorite spaces in the entire Bay Area, as it's hard to beat a location like a refitted army barracks set against the dramatic backdrop of the Marin Headlands. I'm eternally jealous of the artists who are chosen to do residencies out there, but I'm also content to settle for a visit every now again. This afternoon Sasha and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge during a break in the rain to see the Center's current Front + Center exhibition, a group show curated by Kimberly Johansson of Oakland's fine Johansson Projects and consisting of work by artists who applied for the residency program but were not accepted. The strength of the art on display bears witness to the collective talent of all the applicants, and I also trust Johansson's eye implicitly. Francesca Pastine's sculpted Artforum magazines are good colorful fun, and it was great to see a couple pieces by Paul Urich after having admired his renderings of vintage photographs so recently at Fecal Face Dot Gallery. I was also drawn to Mayumi Hamanaka's large-scale paper-and-push-pin topographical map, as well as Ajit Chauhan's obsessively intricate abstract drawings. And when you're done looking at art you can climb up the hill past the old Nike Missile site to the abandoned military bunkers that provide glorious views down to the Pacific. We did some clambering around up there too.
Interested parties should also note that Lawrence Weschler, he of the excellent Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences, is speaking at the Art Institute tomorrow evening. I can guarantee that it will not be boring.