Heightened impressions of alternative reality
When the art engulfs the art-lover: 'Take Your Time' at SFMOMA
by Roberto Friedman
Fans of hallucinatory contemporary art should take themselves post-haste to the twin Olafur Eliasson exhibits Take Your Time and Your Tempo, both on offer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through January 13. The young Danish/Icelandic artist creates installations and "large-scale immersive environments" in which to lose oneself in an art experience.
The large contingent of foreign press at last week's media preview attested to the international acclaim Eliasson has accrued (he lives in Copenhagen and has a studio in Berlin). Take Your Time reconfigures the museum's fifth-floor gallery into a series of Eliasson-designed spaces including the kaleidoscopic "One-way colour tunnel" (2007) and a "Room for one colour" (1997) which saturates everyone and everything in the room with a sickly yellow light. SFMOMA senior curator Madeleine Grynsztejn calls these works "devices for the experience of reality at a heightened level." They certainly mess with a viewer's head.
An altered fan hanging by a cable powers itself in slow oscillations around the museum's atrium ("Ventilator," 1997). A spray of fine mist creates a magical artificial rainbow ("Beauty," 1993). The movements of museumgoers create wave patterns in light that projects against a gallery wall in "Notion motion" (2005). The observer cannot help but influence the observed. Art? You're soaking in it.
Your Tempo, in the design gallery, shows Eliasson's Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project (2007), his contribution to BMW's decades-long Art Car program. Artists of the stature of Alexander Calder and Robert Rauschenberg have created their own versions of art car, usually by painting or otherwise customizing the exteriors. Eliasson took only the chassis of a hydrogen-fueled vehicle and layered it with steel mesh and sheets of ice; viewers enter a room-sized cooling unit set at 14 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature which the artist found maximizes the ice's sheen and reflection. Blankets, provided for the retention of body heat, are highly recommended. Museum hours and info: (415) 357-4000 or sfmoma.org.
We don't know whether or not you've been watching the new eight-episode Bravo series Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. Bravo says "there's only one man that any woman would welcome into her closet," and that's Gunn, who "leads fashion-challenged women on an emotional journey to unearth their personal style."
Reviews have been mixed, to put it politely. Gunn has "former model and fashion accomplice" Veronica Webb at his side, but as one Project Runway aficionado remarks, "There's no chemistry between them. And someone should deconstruct that multicolored, puffy popsicle she wore!"
"After the fashion is taken care of," says Bravo, "Gunn calls on his friends and colleagues to put the finishing touches on the women, including hair and make-up." The faculty at this finishing school in the very first episode included none other than hometown stylist Chris March, well-known for his creations in wigs, costumes and hats (for example, outfitting Matthew Martin as Joan Crawford for his Castro appearances).
Still, according to one blogger, "That was the longest hour I've seen on TV in quite some time. My favorite part was the commercial for Georgia Rule, with Jane Fonda and Felicity Huffman, where they totally cut out Lindsey Lohan!" One day you're in, next day you're toast. That's fashion!
Nuggets of dish
After 11 years, Fag Fridays, the gay party night at the End Up, will have its last installment on October 19. No word yet on whether or where it'll end up being a movable feast.
And the opening-night event for this year's Litquake, Tales: An Evening with Armistead Maupin and Friends, will feature authors Amy Tan, Andrew Sean Greer , Michelle Tea, K.M. Soehnlein, Susie Bright, Don Novello and other special guests, on Sat., Oct. 6, at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF.
Litquake spokesman Liam Passmore told OT, "I learned from Armistead that Don Bachardy is coming up from LA to attend the evening. Turns out that Michael Tolliver Lives was partly inspired by Isherwood 's A Single Man, which is a fookin' lovely book indeed. So some serious gay lineage will be in the building!"
The literary festival will run October 6-13; the full schedule is at litquake.org.
Entertainment Tonight delivered the scoop that the new ABC-TV show Dirty, Sexy Money has a transgender character played by a transgender actress. The relevant low-down on the super soaper: "Patrick Darling, the attorney general for New York, is a handsome and commanding man whose political star is quickly rising. There's just one problem â€” he has a transgendered girlfriend who won't go away, and this potential Senatorial candidate needs to fix the situation." The actress, one Candis Cayne, is slated to appear on five episodes as Darling's [Billy Baldwin 's] girlfriend. Considering Miss Cayne's marvelous moniker, we hope at least one episode features seasonal refreshments.
TV highlights? Strange de Jim fills us in.
Dave Letterman: "Sen. Larry Craig resigned from the Senate. He said heï¿½d like to spend more time not being gay."
Jimmy Kimmel: "Idaho Sen. Larry Craig announced his resignation on Saturday. If I was Larry Craig, here's what I'd say: 'I'm not gay, but my feet are.'"
Letterman: "Larry Craig says he may stay on in the Senate, now that he's seen the new fall crop of pages."
Jay Leno: "No one's seen Sen. Larry Craig for several days. He's rumored to be on a fishing trip in the mountains of Wyoming with an old buddy."
Kimmel: "I'm staging a protest. I'm not going to have gay sex in a public bathroom until Larry Craig is cleared."
Letterman: "The taxi strike has people complaining they're having to share rides. Same complaint they had during the hooker strike."
Joel McHale on The Soup re Jerry Lewis' "illiterate faggot" comment on his telethon: "Just because one hustler couldn't find your house doesn't mean all gay people are illiterate."
Letterman: "Senator Craig says he's resigning again. Somebody will have to fill his seat. Isn't that what got him into trouble in the first place?"
RIP Great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti , whose death last week drew this reminiscence from a San Francisco Opera-lover who saw Pavarotti "and Monserrat Caballe in Tosca at the opera house here â€” it must have been around 1980. They were both in glorious voice â€” thrilling singing. But towards the finale, when they embraced on the parapets of the Castel St. Angelo, their bellies bumped, and they could barely get their arms around each other. Even in PC San Francisco, the audience giggled uncontrollably!"