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Best Gallery Openings: Making depravity part of art 

Boontling Gallery

From paint-fume-induced surrealism to freaky skeleton sculptures, Oakland's Boontling Gallery never hesitates to go insane for local paintings and sculpture. Young curators Mike Simpson (urban landscape illustrator) and Derek Weisberg (ceramic sculptor) are textbook art maniacs, going to local art school, then graduating and getting day jobs to support their own gallery as a way to further their careers and contribute to the nascent scene. Opened in February 2005 inside a Simpson-family-owned building along beat-up north Oakland's Telegraph Avenue, the tiny space is stocked with edgy, local exhibits that consistently draw hundreds of people and equal amounts of dollars. Furthermore, the two helped organize the First Fridays Art Murmur, a now-popular citywide art crawl. Getting gallery owners onto the same page is like herding blind tigers -- but the Boontlingers have managed to do it, and it's just the beginning. From the exhibit Insomnia (featuring several artists painting without ventilation from dusk till dawn) to their latest opening Headache (which gives viewers an audience with the visages inside their worst nightmares), the Boontlings prove you gotta be a little crazy to make a career in contemporary art. Weisberg and Simpson have that look in their eye, so watch out.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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