Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Urban Transformation of Hayes Valley

A large, abandoned corner grocery near the corner of Hayes and Laguna has been the site of a number of group art shows over the last six months before the owner demolishes the building to use the land for purposes that are uncertain.

The exhibits started with a three-man show that included the artwork of former San Francisco Supervisor and mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez. The show wasn't particularly interesting and neither were the subsequent attempts, but a fun and interesting exhibit has just opened called "Ancient City: The Art of Urban Transformation" for the month of February (click here for their nicely designed website).

It was curated by Daniel Newman (above) who specializes in beautiful, arty photos of San Franciscan industrial decay.

The idea of the show started with a simple desire to display his own work in the big, beautiful, inexpensive space in the fancy new Hayes Valley neighborhood, but he decided to include others as well, and curated the entire show himself, doing extensive research on local artists on the internet before coming up with his group.

The opening night party was Friday evening, and it was a very jolly one, especially since every other person seemed to be related to Louisa Spier (below), my new friend from the San Francisco Symphony's public relations department.

The delicious wine for the event was being provided by one of Louisa's cousins, Mel Knox (click here for his great website about his oenophile obsession).

Her husband was there providing hipster cred before taking her out for a fancy meal commemorating the ninth anniversary of their initial meeting in a Tenderloin dive.

And radiating light in all directions was another one of Louisa's "cousins" through her parents, Liz Mamorsky (above). Be sure to click here if you want to get to "Lizland" on the web.


Jon said...

The link to the urban transformation web site does not work. If you're interested in pictures of urban industrial decay, there's an exhibit of photographs at The Electric Company at 8th and Mission: photographs of abandoned buildings in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. A couple of photographs are very good, but Detroit is full of melancholic visuals, the thing about these is that they are technically beautiful and beautifully printed. They seem sort of hyper real. I'm sorry to say that I can't remember the artist's name.

sfmike said...

Dear jon: Thanks for the heads up. I've gone back and fixed the link, and I'll check out The Electric Company if I get the time.

About 15 years ago I went to Chicago for the first time, a city I loved, and took a train trip around the the southern part of Lake Michigan on the way to a beach resort in Michigan. The sheer size and monumentality of the decaying 19th century and early 20th century factories along the lakeshore took my breath away, and I finally realized that the phrase "Rust Belt" was literal.

India said...

Nice review! I just saw the exhibit myself and enjoyed it very much.