Conversation about the work of Yang Fudong often turns to the Chinese artist’s alluring surfaces. Fudong has a predilection for film noir and introspective-looking young models, and these most famously come together in his stunning multi-channel video installations, which fragment his film to surround the viewer in a stimulating “screen environment.” “The Fifth Night” is one such example. However, Estranged Paradise, the artist’s mid-career survey now on view at UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), includes not this work but its more self-conscious double, “The Fifth Night (Rehearsal).” This version shows not the film itself but the associated camera monitor feeds, resulting in something more rough hewn and reflective upon its own artifice. This is emblematic of the exhibition as a whole. Modest in size but purposefully curated, it aims to direct focus upon Fudong’s role as a key commentator upon the culture of contemporary China, where two decades of consumer capitalism and intense urbanization have produced a psyche as fractured as the artist’s videos.
It’s the heart of summer-harvest season around here. But even the best backyard gardeners can’t grow everything. Stuck with too many squash but not enough kale? A bumper crop of butter beans but no roses and not even one tiny tomato? Trade your edible extras and raised-bed adventure stories with those of your neighbors at the Albany Local Garden Swap (1249 Marin Ave., Albany). Nothing’s for sale here: Homegrown fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs, and seeds are all free as long as you bring something to trade. — Anneli Rufus