Category Archives: uptown

TONIGHT: Art & Wine Gallery Night with Friends of OAM

Fun event tonight at two very cool uptown galleries, Classic Cars West and Warehouse 416. I’ve written about both in previous posts, which I’ll link at the bottom…

Tonight is a fundraiser and membership drive for Friends of OAM. Tickets are $15 for the individual event. Or with the purchase of an annual membership of $50, you get free admission tonight and to all other quarterly gallery nights such as this one. Your contribution is tax-deductible and supports an organization doing great work in our city.

Friends of OAM work to “support the Oakland Art Murmur in its mission to increase awareness of and participation in the visual arts in Oakland.”

Classic Cars West is hosting Passage by Night, a unique installation of work by collaborative team Isaac Amala and Liz Simpson, featuring sculptural and painterly constructions from neckties.

And Warehouse 416 presents In Search of Sheba: Black Women Artists 2014 in honor of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March). Numerous artists’ works in a variety of mediums (sculpture, painting, textile fashion, video, photography, pen & ink, and découpage) will be featured.

Hope to see you there…

FOAM-gallery-night

Historical posts:

Sweet Parking Job

Ok, so this photo has nothing to do with art.  It wasn’t Art Murmur and I wasn’t on my way to a cool creative performance happening or a show at the Fox.  I was just out walking around town. And I think it’s hilarious. And I wanted to give a little heads up that I do have some art-related posts headed your way shortly, about which I am very excited.  Yay!  see below…

tightest parking spot ever, parking in oakland, oakland parking

Later this week I’ll be not only featuring pics of the new West Oakland San Pablo mural, which is awesome, but also my first artist interview in over a year (yikes). Last one was the Few & Far Mural Project back in June of 2011. Where oh where has the time gone?!?

I’ve also got a great Guest Post coming up on 9th Floor Radio. And if you don’t know what that is, well then, stay tuned…

Art Murmur is cool. And it’s tonight.

Here are some shots from my last Art Murmur back in March.   Yes, March.  I know.  I’m lame.

In any case, this weekend is a big one for ART.  Art Murmur, East Bay Open Studios, the Temescal Art Hop and more…  Maybe I can redeem myself by cramming!  And actually tending to this blog for a bit.

Who’s in?

We came upon this gorgeous mural somewhere on 26th street. I think we were next to Uptown Body & Fender, or maybe this was part of Uptown Body & Fender… I’m not quite sure. But there was this incredible mural, which looks to me like a collaborative effort. I recognize the work of thomas christopher haag (I have shots of some of his other murals I’ve yet to post). I love his fantastical creatures and use of geometric building blocks that remind me of Chuck Close crossed with Piet Mondrian. Or something like that.


I love the diá de los muertos skull above, and the incredible four-eyed face below. I’m too square to read the tags on the mural, so if anyone knows who else contributed to this, please send some info…

oakland mural, thomas christopher haag, uptown mural
oakland mural, thomas christopher haag, uptown mural
Then of course there were the fancy cars…
vintage cars, uptown body & fender
vintage cars, uptown body & fender
And a nice Eddie Colla piece I hadn’t seen before.
eddie colla, like a sieve, vintage car, little red corvette
And lastly, the preamble from the Declaration of Independence, which begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
declaration of independence, preamble, right to revolution, despotism, we hold these truths to be self evident
And ends with “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Deep.

March Murmur Mashup

Here’s a collection of photos from this month’s Art Murmur… I had intended to do posts on the various artists/galleries but ran out of time, as another First Friday is already upon us.  Jeeezzzz. Hopefully these snaps give you an idea of the variety of cool stuff you can see… and I haven’t even included shots of the electro-string ensemble accompanied knitting circle!

The next few shots are from Hatch Gallery, featuring new works by Clint Imboden entitled “Selected Histories.”

hatch gallery oakland, poetry with shoes

I believe the shoe installation is titled “Words”, however I like to call it Poetry with Shoes.  An interactive display, patrons could rearrange the shoes…

Clint Imboden, Hatch Gallery, Hatch Gallery oakland

Below is also Clint Imboden, from a series of vintage measuring stick sculptures titled “Measure.”  Love these.

measuring stick sculptures, Clint Imboden

The following ultra-cool screen printed poster is by Jason Munn. I love his minimalism and bought one of his earlier posters (Bike & Cats) at a previous Murmur.

jason munn posters, ben gibbard camera poster

The next shots were part of an installation at Mercury 20.  Titled “Inside Out” by artist P.K. Frizzell, x-rayed photographs of collections of common objects are mysterious & mesmerizing.

xray boxes, xray photographys, PK Frizzell

xray boxes, xray photographys, PK Frizzell

These last three are from a show at Studio Quercus, titled Impressions from the CCA(C) Print Shop – The Famous, The Not-So-Famous and the Totally Unknown. It was interesting to see early period works of many local notable artists, and to note how many of these artists have come through CCA.

CCA Impressions, impressions from CCA print shop

Studio Quercus, CCA Impressions, impressions from CCA print shop

Curated by CA(C) alumni and instructor Tim Sharman and CCA(C) alumni and professor Jack Ford, this exhibition spans 60 years of printmaking from the print shop at the California College of the Arts—formerly known as the California College of Arts and Crafts. This show remains up thru April 16th, so check it out…

Tim Sharman, CCA Impressions, Studio Quercus

Kuhl Frames + Art

Just a quick shout out to the awesome Kuhl Frames + Art, framing shop & art gallery in Uptown Oakland.

kuhl frames, oakland framing shop, kuhl art gallery, uptown art galleries

I’ve been meaning to write about Kuhl Frames + Art for over a year now, for a number of reasons.  After a painfully frustrating framing experience with Michael’s a couple years ago (don’t be seduced by their 50% off deals!), I opted for a different experience altogether.  F*ck the big box Emeryville stores, I say! Our local independent shops are where it’s at, and this one is no exception…

Located in the thick of it all, at 22nd & Broadway… you can grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner and any fashion of associated beverages, all within a block of this lovely little shop. There’s Farley’s East, Uptown Cafe, Luka’s, Plum, Punchdown Wine Bar, Era… and those are just the one’s in spitting distance.  So plan accordingly.  And bring your appetite along with your art.

Owner Travis Kuhl has a great curatorial sense and the eye for display that goes along with it.  Quite simply, he will transform your works of art into true heirloom treasures. He’ll spend an unbelievable amount of time with you, exploring framing options that will highlight the subtlest aspects of your pieces; he’ll examine 73 shades of white to get the one that looks just right; he’ll work within your budget and can offer gorgeous hand-made Italian frames (at a premium) or economical pre-sized standard frames that are still far more interesting than anything you could get at Ikea.

Additionally, the space is a lovely little gallery, hosting not only rotating art exhibits, but also small retail displays of interesting and eclectic items: like mid-century lamps, Travis’s gorgeous fireplace yule-log-ish glass lamp constructions, art books, letter-press cards, and more.

The first time I went to Kuhl Frames (to frame a piece of art I bought during Art Murmur no less!) they had a fantastic show up called Lil Tuffy, showcasing dozens of stunning hand-screened posters by the artist of the same name…

Lil Tuffy, hand-screened posters, silk screened posters, lil tuffy posters

I meant to write about it way back then, but somehow didn’t get around to it. More recently, the gallery hosted the Lily Black exhibit I wrote about last week.

And also the wonderfully serene and spacious paintings of his wife Elisa Carozza-Kuhl. Her nature-inspired pieces can frequently be seen on rotation here… the current exhibit is a body of recent work exploring the new medium of acrylics, with a series entitled “Flights”. As we walked past them, Tim said, “I can almost hear these paintings.” I love her color palette of greens and golds… she says these colors hold an “emotional resonance” for her.

elisa carozza, flight series,

I love her color palette of greens and golds… she says these colors hold an “emotional resonance” for her, which, at least in my case, resonates for the viewer as well.

If you have a chance, do check out the current exhibit… I believe they’ll be working on a new installation at the end of the month.  It will also give you a chance to ask Travis about Oakland’s Guardian Angel, who personally, in the dead of night, slipped this loving tribute to Kuhl Frames under their door…

“Invest, build, prosper, and live happy in Oakland.”

guardian angel of oakland, oakland guardian angel notes

Dear Kuhl Frames,

Your craftsmanship and dedication to art in Oakland is nothing short of inspiring.  Wishing you unbounded success, I remain yours truly.

Oakland’s Guardian Angel

“Art Sucks. I Quit.”

This is the title of artist Lily Black’s current show, on display at Kuhl Frames through March 26th.

This was our first (and favorite) stop of last Friday night’s Art Murmur, despite hitting several other galleries later in the evening.

Lily Black, repurposed erotic toys, japanese erotic toys

For starters, this show actually opened in February, so the typical crowds accompanying a First Friday opening were not swarming the space. It actually allowed us to spend time with these small and incredibly detailed works of art, and also chat at length with the artist himself.

Surprised that Lily is a “him”? I was too. But that’s just one of seemingly many quirks that makes this artist, and his work, particularly interesting.

For starters, how about creating an art show around the premise that “Art is over”? He goes on to say that “photography is dead” as well, which I sometimes struggle with myself… ah, it’s all been done before, countless times, hasn’t it? And yet, in this exhibit, Black presents us with something fresh, intriguing, and at times, hilarious.

Take for example the pairing of a scrawled note-to-self-list Black found on an AC Transit bus, with a historical photograph of the first steam engine installed in the engine compartment of an AC transit bus. We see in the photograph the number 666 stamped above the engine compartment. The stranger’s list is scrawled on a piece of Catholic Church stationary (an envelope to be precise) and includes such items as:

  • No sex for 530 days Mondays
  • No fighting outside at all with the police
  • Don’t make things
  • No weed to smoke outside or indoors
  • Take children to zoo, not to church, ok
  • Take teenagers to the show, not church
  • Don’t make bikes to sell

And the list goes on… The threads that tie these pieces together are tenuous.  And yet, it makes sense when presented together in gorgeous framing that Kuhl Frames has provided (more on this later). In fact, Black states that the “presentation” of the photographs he’s incorporated, “is the whole of their presence as art objects.  The onus is on the viewer to bring meaning.”  And isn’t this what good art asks of us?

assemblage art, Lily Black, Kuhl Frames, Art Sucks I Quit

The show was a collection of these types of assemblage art (pairings of photographs, historical artifacts, bugs, toys, etc mounted in shadow boxes) and smaller sculptural creations (“re-presented” modified toys, such as the erotic figurines at top, or the “Storytime” tableau below).

What you don’t see in my photo of this seemingly innocent storybook scene, is that Papa Bear and Baby Bear are looking at porn… two large breasts (human, to be specific) fill the pages of their book.

Lily Black, Kuhl Frames, Art sucks I quit

The erotic figurines at top and the robotic figure below are classic Black… reimagined, reconfigured, and repurposed toys with such an acute attention to detail, you’d be hard-pressed to envision these in any previous incarnation.

Take a look at the shoulder shields on this character below… they’re actually Lee Press-on Nails. Talk about creative reuse! The entire piece is finished with a hand painted patina of aging that looks unbelievably realistic. And this is what Black is known for… “His attention to detail, use of random materials, and his thought-provoking messages.” (1amsf.com)

Lily Black, custom figurines, "Art Sucks. I Quit"
After we left the gallery, Tim said, “Why didn’t you take any pictures? You should have interviewed him for the blog! etc.” I guess I was feeling shy or something, or perhaps was just so engrossed in the show and discussion that documenting it all became secondary.

In any case, I went back the next day to take photos (while dropping off several pieces to be framed). And thankfully, someone else has already taken the time to produce a wonderfully humorous and insightful interview with Black… Who is Lily Black? (1:AM SF)

The show is only up for two more weeks – go check it out!

More on Kuhl Frames tomorrow…

And more reading:

Let’s Get Small by DeWitt Cheng (East Bay Express)

Upcoming in Uptown…

So there’s much ado in the Uptown District of Oaktown and it’s all pretty fun and exciting stuff…

uptown sculpture garden, uptown art park

First up, an Art Park / Sculpture Garden. Becks’ Living in the O blog posted about this news late last week with We did it! The Uptown sculpture garden will soon be a reality.  Her post tells the story of a bunch of scrappy folks (activists, bloggers, and blog readers) who fought the good fight against plans to install a large parking lot in the now vacant lot on Telegraph [photo above], in favor of something far more interesting. Against all odds – they were frequently told there were no other viable options for the lot and a motion to approve it was even unanimously passed – they pressed on and proved that a few committed individuals really can make a difference.  And what a difference this will make…

With a $200,000 grant from the NEA to help make the art park a reality:

“The park will include rotating temporary exhibitions of public sculpture, newly commissioned public art projects, and an amphitheater for events by arts and community organizations… [and] the division is partnering with Black Rock Arts Foundation to exhibit works of public art, many by Oakland artists.”

How cool is that? Super cool.

oaksterdam, oakland pot school, new mural for uptown

Next up, a new mural for Uptown. Possibly.  I’m not sure of the status of this project but I was informed a few weeks ago that Oaksterdam University was interested in painting over one of their walls (all white with green lettering) with a more artistic mural depicting the cultural richness of the Uptown area. My understanding is the project was slated to be completed by the end of the year, and that the hope was for local Oakland artists to produce the work.  I heard there was going to be an open proposal process but haven’t heard any specifics since… I’ll keep you posted.

Also, a restored street clock. Remember my post Past & Present about the old Art Deco street clock at 16th and Broadway? Well, apparently the clock is in the process of being restored (this info in from Naomi Schiff, thanks!).  I happened by there a couple of weeks ago with my beau… we were on our way to a show at the Fox, and I said, “Hey!  The clock is gone!”  He thought I had the wrong corner, but I knew I was right.  Hah.  I can’t wait to see the finished product…

And lastly, how about a new Parkway Speakeasy? Ok, this is not a for sure deal, but a group of film lovers, community activists, and entrepreneurs are rallying to re-establish the sorely missed Parkway Picture Pub Speakeasy Theater, and one of their proposed locations is Uptown (they’ve cited difficulties in negotiating with the landlords of the old location).

I, for one, think Uptown would be a fabulous location for a small dual screen theater specializing in eclectic films.  If you think so too, check out their site The New Parkway for more information including multiple ways to get involved and help make this a reality.

Remember, individuals can make a difference.  Go Uptown!