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HARD WORDS: Memory and Death in the Wild West: Peter Rutledge Koch

Through Feb. 20
510-642-6000
An exhibition of Peter Koch's striking prints assembled from re-configured photographs, historical documents;manuscript journals and old newspaper engravings; accompanied by short legends by the artist, hand-set in antique lead and wood type. Free
Stephens Hall UC Berkeley, Berkeley (map)

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Birds Do It, Bees Do It: A Century of Sex (Mis)Education in the USA

Through Feb. 28, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
510-643-6139
Exhibition about the history of sex education. Free
Doe Library UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley (map)

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California: Captured on Canvas

Through March 6
This exhibit portrays California both as a vast landscape of mountains, ocean, and forests and as an intimate home for vastly different inhabitants. Scenes of Yosemite and the Gold Rush are displayed, along with more recent work such as colorful paintings by John Sackas of the Golden Gate Produce Market. Free
Bancroft Library UC Berkeley, Berkeley (map)

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Bill Owens

Through March 15
510-430-2164
Thirty-three photographs of women and girls by Bills Owens. Free
Mills College Art Museum 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland (map)

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Endless Gestures of Goodwill

Through March 15
510-430-2164
An attempt by Sheldon B. Smith and Lisa Wymore at making a never-ending dance. This two-channel video work utilizes 250 separate video clips of short movement statements inspired by folk dances, edited together by custom software in a manner that implies continuity. Free
Mills College Art Museum 5000 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland (map)

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Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California

Through April 12
510-318-8400
<i>Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California</i>
During the height of the Great Depression, married painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo moved from Mexico to San Francisco. Rivera had been commissioned to paint a number of murals in the city, including the iconic Allegory of California at the Pacific Stock Exchange. The pair was unexpectedly welcomed by a cohort of like-minded artists — including Ralph Stackpole, Victor Arnautoff, and Sargent Johnson — who were similarly struggling to create politically conscious and critical art while also being funded by the federal government. Together, these artists formed a community that came to define the national memory of Depression-era America, impressing an indelible mark on art history in California and beyond. The work of these artists is now on view in the show Fertile Ground at the Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak. St.). The exhibit highlights the importance of creative community and the momentum its bonds can bring to shifts in both art and politics. Appropriately, it’s a collaboration with SFMOMA that utilizes the rare opportunity to show some of SFMOMA’s most famous works while it’s closed for renovation. The exhibit also focuses on three other serendipitous historical moments in which artists formed a spark that ignited various influential and inspirational institutions, including the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) in the 1940s. Seminal photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston formed the country’s first serious Fine Art Photography program. Around the same time, director Douglas MacAgy daringly decided to bring on a number of open-minded faculty members, including Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, establishing the school as a vital center for abstract expressionism. Also featured is the playful work that emerged from the newly formed art department at UC Davis in the 1950s. Iconoclast painters and sculptors such as Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, and Wayne Thiebaud gathered around director Richard Nelson forming a community that was unafraid of experimenting with ironic and absurd humor. Finally, visitors end in the colorful Mission Scene, featuring works by Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen. In the 1990s, these artists burst into popularity at a time of political unrest during the first dot-com boom and resulting wave of gentrification, the war in Iraq, the Rodney King trial, and the AIDS epidemic. They turned away from traditional notions of fine art, celebrating cultural values and community initiatives. Grassroots art galleries sprouted up around the area, fostering a DIY street art ethos that still pervades much of the Bay Area. The four sections together form an awesome and humbling walk through California art history. Further, they evoke the excitement of moments when pent-up artistic inspiration erupts into paradigm shifts. It makes you wonder what will be remembered as the next important Bay Area artistic movement, and what that will look like. $5-$15
Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak St., Oakland (map)

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Commemorating the Free Speech Movement 50th Anniversary

Through May 29
The exhibition revisits this pivotal student activist movement through photographs, letters, publications, handbills, and other materials housed in the University Archives and Bancroft manuscript collections. Free
Bancroft Library UC Berkeley, Berkeley (map)

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Sunshine and Superheroes: San Diego Comic-Con

Through May 31
510-318-8400
Installation co-curated with faculty and students at San Diego State University explores the themes of gender in comics, San Diego's shift towards tourism, and the social and political ramifications of comics through the ages. $6-$15, free for children under 8 and for members
Oakland Museum of California 1000 Oak St., Oakland (map)

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What I Hear, I Keep: Stories from Oakland's Griots

Wednesdays-Saturdays
510-532-9142
This visual and audio art installation is based on African American stories of modern-day Oakland derived from the personal experiences of local residents.
Peralta Hacienda Historical Park 2465 34th Ave., Oakland (map)

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Traits of Life

Ongoing
415-561-0363
A collection of exhibits and demonstrations examining the fundamental elements common to all living things.
Exploratorium 3601 Lyon St., San Francisco (map)

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California Mosaic Artists: Celebrating Diversity through Mosaics

Ongoing
510-437-9899
An ongoing group show.
Institute of Mosaic Art 3001 Chapman St., Oakland (map)

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Science on a Sphere (SOS)

Ongoing
510-642-5133
New permanent exhibit features an animated globe. Watch hurricanes form, tsunamis sweep across the oceans, and city lights glow around the planet. $6, $9, $11
Lawrence Hall of Science 1 Centennial Dr., Berkeley (map)

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Traction Labs

Ongoing
707-374-2978
Exhibit on the future of energy and transportation, highlighting renewable energy solutions. $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for kids
Western Railway Museum 5848 State Highway 12, Suisun City (map)

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This Week's Feature

Radically Sharing Temescal

FEATURE

Radically Sharing Temescal

A group of artists, hackers, and other creative people have launched Omni Commons, a new community resource center in North Oakland that they hope will be an antidote to gentrification.


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