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Sat., Nov. 28, 6 p.m.
For her piece entitled “100 Suns,” Mills College Book Art & Creative Writing MFA student Keri Miki-Lani Schroeder made one hundred snow globes, each featuring an identical image of an atomic bomb pluming over Japan. When you pick one up and give it a shake, little, white flecks float around the explosion in swirls — turning what typically depicts charming snowfall into a representation of smoke and mass destruction. The piece sharply critiques the aestheticization of the atomic bomb in American cultural memory and the ways in which old nuclear testing sites in Nevada have become tourist destinations. Schroeder’s piece is one of many in Synesthesia, this year’s Mills College Book Art & Creative Writing MFA Thesis Exhibition, currently on view at Aggregate Space Gallery (801 West Grand Ave., Oakland). And it’s an apt representation of the range of sculptural works that come out of Mill’s acclaimed book arts program — despite its seemingly narrow title. The last day to view the show will be this Saturday, November 28. For the closing, there will be an artist talk at 6 p.m. — Sarah Burke Free
Aggregate Space 801 West Grand Ave., Oakland (map)


Sentimental Taxonomy

Through Nov. 28
Sentimental Taxonomy
In Sentimental Taxonomy, currently on view at Random Parts gallery (1206 13th Ave., Oakland) Bay Area photographer Kija Lucas builds a visual dictionary of emotional materials: an old teddy bear, pink vintage sunglasses, Vienna sausage packaging, a ring, a handkerchief, a photograph. Each is photographically documented in front of a black background, and placed in a row with the others. Sentimental Taxonomy is an excerpt from Lucas’ larger ongoing project entitled Objects to Remember You By: An Index of Sentiment, in which she documents objects that hold sentimental meaning for people beyond their utilitarian purpose. Lucas’ catalog is specifically meant to explore the ways in which objects can memorialize people from our pasts, personalize a space, and offer a sense of safety or intimacy. But by decontextualizing the materials, Lucas renders them mysterious, leaving the viewer to wonder what they could have meant to the owner. — Sarah Burke
Random Parts 1206 13th Ave., Oakland (map)



Through Feb. 4, 2016
Edward Burtynksy’s photographs offer a sense of the sublime — that feeling you get when standing at the top of a mountain that makes you realize how small you are relative to the rest of the world. But his grand photographs are also terrifying, because, upon closer inspection, they reveal barren landscapes, ravaged by the extraction of natural resources. Many of the renowned photographer’s large-format works will be on view at the David Brower Center (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley) for its annual Art/Act exhibition, which honors one artist doing outstanding work in the intersection of art and activism. Burtynsky’s show will primarily highlight his series Water, which features once rich water sources that have dried up into shriveled landscapes with magnificent topographical patterns. In the midst of California’s detrimental drought, the photographs from all over the world both hit home and speak to the dangers that our ecosystem faces worldwide. The show opens on September 18, with a free reception from 7–9 p.m. during which the artist will give a public lecture about his work. Free
David Brower Center 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley (map)


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