For complete, up-to-date East Bay art listings, look under Billboard on the home page for the "Select Category" pulldown, then select "Art Galleries" or "Museums."
After Dark and in the Streets -- The Lucky Ju Ju Pinball Gallery, in addition to offering archival-quality pinball action, hosts the display this week of archival-quality prints from photographer Joe Reifer, whose credits include Rolling Stone and Spin. Reifer boldly declares that no Photoshop was used in his bizarrely lit night shots in and around the Bay Area. Only strobes and flashlights create the eerie pink, purple, and highlighted colors in his dramatic, costumed compositions. Four or five of these intriguing prints headline for another weaker dozen or so still lifes with emphasis on salvage yards and other trashy environs. (Through Aug 31 at 713 Santa Clara St., Suite E, Alameda, Ujuju.com or 510-205-9793.)
Holding Hands -- Most people who spend several hours a day cutting tree patterns into desk-sized sheets of white paper have special OCD prescriptions. Adam 5100 has a special art show. The New Mexico-born, CCA-trained busybody shows three photorealist urban scenes in glorious stencil at the Boontling Gallery through this week. Three is a respectable number, given the autistic craftsmanship he brings to each punchy, enthralling work. He layers up to twelve painstakingly cut sheets of stencils, each for a different color, then stacks the black, grey, yellow, green, brown, and white like an analogue Photoshop composition. The blacks are pitch-black, the whites punch through the roof, and the contrasts are X-acto sharp. A sample stencil template lets viewers gawk at the thousands of minute incisions that render charged light in the trees above The House of Johnnytapia -- going for $649.95. Adam 5100 shows along with Bruk Dunbar's three freaky Toontown-meets-Tim Burton cuckoo clocks, which sprout tentacles for plumbing. (Through September 4 at 4224 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 4LeagueIndustries.com/boontling.html or 510-295-8881.)
Mama Buzz Presents: Ian Greeb -- Cracked Dr. Seussian-creature conjurer Greeb caught a lucky bump during his first solo show's opening night last week when hundreds of gallery-crawling visitors in the area poured into Mama Buzz and discovered his odd bestiary. Formerly hidden on Greeb's Web site, CandyCartoon.com, 27 bioethical abominations leap out of the browser as sanded, carved, and brightly painted foam beasts infesting the gallery walls. Huge skeletal spiders and flies with tumorous smiling mouths crawl up the ceiling. A row of what looks like Cooties, from the board game, probes one another as a plush pink kitten doll erupts eyeballs and teeth. Comments on the site range from "This is stupid" to "You should do children's books" to undulating praise. As to what type of mind could have conceived such work, Greeb podcasted his thoughts on the show's opening, saying "The only way the show could've been more of a success would be if I was rolling in a fat cow of money." Imagine that. (Through August 31 at 2318 Telegraph Ave., Oakland; 510-465-4073.)
Marking Traces -- Come for the anomie, then hunt down the insurgency this week at 33 Grand. The coherent theme of the gallery's new ten-person exhibition bans the presence of people; only artifacts are allowed. Air pollution, clothes, garbage, and fear all get the MFA treatment, so expect works both competent and listless with occasional bouts of cold, dark, and haunted. Meanwhile, hiding backstage behind a six-foot-long sculpture of a mouthy pink tentacle and a battered high school TV cart, someone is marking traces of a car bomb tearing apart a Middle Eastern neighborhood in huge, sharp comic-book pencil slashes on three-by-two-foot white paper. The artist taped magazine clips of rubble, musculature, and blast physics all around the top of the sketch to get the details perfect. It's offensive, powerful, relevant, and irreverent, which pretty much makes up for the senior-thesis-level navel-gazing sometimes going on up front. (Through September 4 at 33 Grand Ave., Oakland; 33 grand.com)
Tsunami Relief: The Ongoing Effort -- The City of Berkeley draws a drop of genuine horror from dead headlines with its presentation of ten crayon drawings made by Sri Lankan coastal village children who were the primary victims of the tsunami on December 26. The Buddhist youngsters, undergoing group therapy with the help of relief organization SecondAid, rely heavily on the colors blue and brown to depict the extermination of a quarter-million people on ten-by-twelve-inch paper. Bodies and debris, walls of water, and submerged cities get the grade-school Crayola treatment, while up above, relief efforts are illustrated in two dozen prints highlighting shelter camps, food giveaways, and medical help. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration even chips in with a time-lapse diagram of the 9.1 Richter scale earthquake ringing the Indian Ocean like a gong. Sales from prints of the children's drawings go to ongoing Second Aid relief efforts. (Through September 18 at Addison Street Windows Gallery, 2018 Addison St., Berkeley; 510-981-7546.)
Culture Spy - April 20, 9:52 AM
Culture Spy - April 13, 12:18 PM