Through January 21 - James Sterling Pitt: Points East / Points West at Et al. If you made it out to the Untitled art fair at Pier 70 this last weekend you might have spied a selection of James Sterling Pitt's magnificent painting-sculptures at the Et al./100% booth (amongst the other gems on display there), and if you missed it you have this week yet to see a veritable menagerie of Pitt's pieces in Et al.'s Chinatown space. Pitt pushes further into the third dimension with these most recent works, each one a mesmerizing study of construction and contrast. Though made from wood his pieces often seem weighty as concrete (I fully thought he had moved into ceramics until I looked at his materials list), and Pitt deploys color to masterful effect as well. Et al. will be closed on Friday as part of the J20 Art Strike (resistance!), so make an appointment for a viewing this week or get down there on Saturday during regular gallery hours.
-Curator Glen Helfand's latest group show extravaganza Resistance Training will be opening at Slide Space 123 on the Mills campus Wednesday night, and with artists like Ana Teresa Fernandez, Sarah Hotchkiss, Andrea Bowers, and many more involved it promises to be amazing. -Also Wednesday evening, artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo will be giving a talk at Lago Projects about her fantastic solo exhibition there. So thrilled to have this new artist-run space in my neighborhood! -On Friday everyone please take good care of themselves; I am refusing to watch the inauguration myself in a tiny act of cutting off that egomaniac's oxygen. And then Saturday I'll see you in the streets.
Through January 15 - 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips at Berkeley Rep. Depend on a Cornish theater company to present one of the more inventive productions I've seen recently. Kneehigh brings Michael Morpurgo's young adult novel to glorious life in their play by blending in music, puppetry, and some trademark British quirkiness. Set in the tiny seaside town of Slapton during World War II, 946 starts out as a story about young Lily Tregenza and her cat Tips but expands to include a tragic forgotten chapter of military history. The stagecraft is just amazing throughout, with a magical array of props and puppets, and all of the actors seamlessly play multiple roles and take turns on various instruments besides. It's intense going at times, especially in the second half, but it's well worth it.
Through December 22 - Cliff Hengst and Scott Hewicker: Golden Prisn at Gallery 16. I talk about this all the time but when I first moved to San Francisco 20 years ago the very first piece of "real" art I bought was by Cliff, at an auction at The Lab, and then a few years ago I proudly added a piece by Scott to my walls as well. Suffice it to say that the pair are two of my favorite local artists (with talents that spill over into music and performance and writing and generally being fabulous), and it is always beyond divine to see an exhibition of their work. Bay Area gentrification was a jumping-off point for this show, and there is certainly an undercurrent of discord, particularly in Cliff's text-based pieces/protest signs. But I found much exuberance to revel in as well, with an emphasis on color that represents San Francisco's tenacious diversity. In a simple, brilliant move Scott has chosen to tint certain windows of the gallery too, so that even on the greyest of the days some joy shines through.