Saturday, October 18, 2008

Graduate Art Students Get Political

There is an annual art exhibit at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery in the Veterans Building which displays the work of San Francisco Foundation winners of something called the Murphy and Cadogan Fellowships in the Fine Arts. The artists are all graduate students at Bay Area colleges and they receive a $3,500 award, which probably pays for about one month's tuition at their expensive schools.

This year's edition was pointedly political, with Moses Nornberg from California College of the Arts...

...constructing a portrait of you-know-who from "18,000 cast plastic M16 shells mounted on honeycomb aluminum."

Across from Bush was a disturbingly beautiful painting by Daniel Ochoa from the Academy of Art University entitled, "Sudanese Boys Armed and Seated."

Sara Wanie from the San Francisco Art Institute continued the theme with absurdist political leader collages that were savagely whimsical.

Not all of the work was political and/or downbeat. For example, Elisheva Biernoff from the California College of the Arts has been creating "Dollar Heroes."

She paints a new portrait over George Washington in the center of a U.S. dollar bill and then gives it away, asking that person who their hero might be, which she then paints onto the next dollar bill.

It's certainly a new variation on the "Pay It Forward" routine and after the looting and pillaging of the last eight years, it may be the only use we're going to have for our worthless dollar bills.

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