DO HO SUH AND MEMORY’S LABYRINTH

Do Ho Suh’s current art installation at Arthouse of the Contemporary Austin running through January 11, 2014,  is easy to like, to photograph.  His embroidered sketches, videos and installations replay and rephrase an  inescapable memory of home.  It’s  depicted in paper and thread as carried on one’s shoulders,  or trailed after like clouds of dust, or in video hauled across country on a semi-trailer. One recalls   Atlas’s bearing the weight of the world, Peanuts’ Pigpen trailing the dust of ancient civilizations, and the percussive heartbeat of truck driving songs.

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601 BRODERICK: NOSTALGIA AND AMNESIA

601 Broderick in 2012

601 Broderick Street at Grove in the heart of NoPa went on the market on October 10th for $5,875,000, 2 1/2 years after the foreclosed black church and fixer-upper was snatched up for 40% above asking at $1,401,000.  The open house offered valet service and sushi.   Curbed sf’s Tracy Elsen calls it “our absolute favorite flip of the year.”

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EICHLERS: FRONT DOOR TO A SUBLIMINAL SUBURBIA

With an enthusiasm for mid-century modernism sparked by his home renovation my brother engaged in a fantastically obsessive photo study of the front doors of homes in  Eichler housing tracts at FairhillsFairhaven and Fairmeadow in  LA and Orange counties as shown above.  Continue reading

STREET ART/STREET CRIME: PAINT IT WHITE DIVISADERO

Pictured here is not a new anti-graffiti effort by San Francisco’s Public Works Department.   As if the neighborhood hasn’t become white enough, Absolut Vodka has come to town with its artistic promotion of inebriation “Open Canvas” whitewashing San Francisco’s  Divisadero Corridor between Hayes and Grove to create a  blank canvas for the work of selected artists while providing the Vodka an advertisement in the form of a news eventContinue reading

EAST BERLIN MEMORIALS: LOSS AND TOURISM

Before last summer we had visited East and West Berlin in 1985 and looked forward to seeing the changes that occurred in the 23 years since the Fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989.  Our cultural subconscious held a cache of images of horrid truths and heartless propaganda:  juddering film clips of goose-stepping Nazis and skeletal prisoners,  Walter Cronkite’s TV voice over of the Wall’s construction,  and AP photos of East Berlin escapees in mid-air jumping to freedom or death from walls and walled buildings.  The images form a deep, muddy cold-war pool from which the vitality of modern Berlin emerges, staggering out of the emotional depth and  intellectual complexity.

The marks of last centuries’ history, written with bullets, bombs and barbed wire, still remain visible in places but disappear quickly with the massive new architectural construction of the last two decades.  This March protests arose over the demolishing of a long and fantastically graffitied vestige of the Berlin Wall, called the East Side Gallery (listed below), to make way for luxury condos–this in a city only 3/4 occupied.   Formerly a symbol of oppression, the Wall has been claimed as a battle trophy by artists and activists who have repossessed the emotional weight of the Wall’s history as a symbol of self expression and threatened freedom.  Among the works at the East Side Gallery Dmitri Vrubel’s street art perversely commemorates Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev’s historic kiss, passionately celebrating the 30th anniversary of Soviet control of East Germany, “My God.  Help Me Survive This Deadly Love”Continue reading