For the same reason that Macy's is having a sale on massaging slippers and your mailbox is filled with polite solicitations from charities, art galleries are also increasingly capitalizing on the season's spirit of giving. Take Swarm, for example, whose show of little art with little-ish price tags hopes to entice holiday shoppers.
None of the pieces in the show of mostly local artists measure more than eight inches in any direction. In part, it's an effort to get as many artists into the gallery as possible — at least ones the show's curators have "admired, worked with, or would like to work with in the future."
Svea Lin Vezzone and Andrea Antonaccio, the co-curators of the show, have gathered some intriguing pieces, ones that wouldn't do badly under the tree or menorah. There's a miniaturized Christopher Loomis sculpture that would look great hanging from the living room ceiling of your niece's dollhouse, and Christina LaSala's "What Color Is Most Prevalant in the World" — a collection of hole-punch remnants from world maps collected under a small glass display dome — would look quite smart on the desk of a high-powered executive or erudite geography professor. And for that party gal who has everything, Taro Hattori's disco-ball grenade tucked inside a white leather fur-lined bag, or Laurel Roth's delicately stitched panty liners (choose from "fast furious" or "fuck"), may be just the perfect find.
In the end, the scale of the show — small pieces, and lots of them — does in some way replicate the experience of browsing in a dizzyingly eclectic store, and makes it more difficult to give the pieces their considered due. But what you'll find is so much more interesting than what fills all the floors of Nordstrom's. "The Little Show" runs through December 23 at Swarm Gallery, 560 Second Street, Oakland. SwarmStudios.net or 510-839-2787.
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