On the Wall 

Our critics weigh in on local art.

Reviews by David Downs and Brady Kahn

Transfigurations -- A theological library snuggled into the Berkeley hills on the edge of Cal's campus holds the detailed, compulsive work of deceased 20th-century draftsman A.G. Rizzoli. The Marin native worked in his spare time on enormously intricate, near-surreal architectural drawings, a dozen of which the library presents. Irwin Peter Sicotte Jr., Symbolic Delineation offers a superb example of the artist's borderline autistic weirdness. A two-by-four-foot black-and-white gothic tower rises up the rag paper, adorned with tiny facade detailing, including statues, lampposts, and plaques -- all referencing the real Sicotte Jr. Rizzoli embodied friends and family members in these buildings, including an enormous suicide citadel for his mother. -- D2 (Through February 2 at 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley; 510-649-2400.)

The Vietnam War -- Cal's Northgate Hall yields black-and-white candids from the hills of Vietnam circa 1967, courtesy of then-21-year-old freelance photographer Catherine Leroy. The exhibit hinges on a chilling triptych in which a corpsman performs futile first aid on an injured buddy, with only the misty hills and the photographer to bear witness. -- D2 (Through April 29 at the Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley; 510-642-3383.)

What's Going On? -- The curators of the Oakland Museum's ambitious new show about the Vietnam War era tell not one story but many. Along with a more straightforward chronology of the war itself, the show juxtaposes opposing voices. The accompanying audio tour is crucial to the viewer's appreciation, but sadly, to get to often-riveting first-person accounts, patrons have to listen to a tedious summation of events relayed by an anonymous narrator. -- B.K. (Through February 27; MuseumCA.org or 510-238-2200.)


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