Best Gallery

Vessel Gallery

Being a participating gallery in Oakland Art Murmur requires presenting a new show every four weeks — clearly, a herculean task. Some galleries get around this by opting for a less-grueling five- or eight-week schedule, or by showing one artist over and over again. But not Vessel Gallery. Owner and curator Lonnie Lee never misses a beat: Somehow, she manages to put together brilliant and monumental group shows every month. They always push the envelope in terms of vision, execution, scope, and presentation. Who could forget Cyrus Tilton’s Cycle, an elaborate installation in which thousands of sculpted insects moved across the gallery in a wonder of movement and light? The art scene on 25th Street has hugely benefitted by Vessel Gallery’s presence — there were only three galleries on 25th Street when Vessel opened in 2010; now there are more than a dozen. With its mix of media (sculpture, jewelry, painting, etc.), Lee’s gallery demonstrates what Oakland art is, and exemplifies what it can be.

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