Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local art.

For a complete, up-to-date East Bay art listings, look under “Billboard” on the home page for the “Select Category” pulldown, then select “Art Galleries” or “Museums.”

Angst Americana — Francis McIlveen leaves behind nine hyper-organic, surreal sculptures ranging from what appears to be a huge colorful booger collection to what look like various extruded anuses. Called Empire Time Pieces, the fist-sized anuses bulge from their wall mounts while a little sign beneath each one reads “Los Angeles,” “New York,” “Guantanamo,” or lastly, with the smallest, “Fallujah.” Bomb and technology motifs pop up here and there, but Angst Americana is more funny than angsty. — D2 (Through Oct. 22 at Toki Gallery, 1212 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley. 510-524-7363 or

Bodyspeak — The subtitle, Sexual imagery by Debbie Moore, explains the concerns of these 25-plus acrylic-on-canvas pieces simmering with bright colors and bold geometrical shapes. Check out the trippy face composed of a blue penis-nose and red areola eyeballs. Even better, the breast-eyed, muff-mustached belly-face. Plenty of vibrant neon and an incredibly flat two-dimensional quality to the paintings make this show passably entertaining. — D2 (Through Oct. 31 at Loop Gallery, 6436 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-590-0040)

Bush Out! — Behind the desk of Inferno boss Gary-Paul Prince hangs a mixed-media American flag with a various-sized action-figure ordnance glued into red and white stripes. Past the miniature Abu Ghraib music boxes hang stark depictions of flames and biotechnological disaster right out of Doom 3. Local artists created and donated each work, and all the money from the October 26 sale goes to defeating Bush. — D2 (Through October 31, Inferno Gallery, 4401 San Leandro St., Oakland, 510-435-4843)

Curate This — Artists from six cultural nodes, including Liminal, 21 Grand, and Ego Park, contribute to this massive, eclectic, and raw show. A lot of non sequitur-type items like unexploded ordnance, pillow bags, mixed-media guns, and traffic signals look as though they came straight from the miscellaneous pile. — D2 (Through Nov. 5; Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave., Richmond. 510-620-6772,

Mystical, Magical, Mythical — Dragons, witches, gremlins, and goblins in a 150-piece multimedia battle royale await visitors to the quaint Frank Bette Center in Alameda. Artisan Bette died in ’99, leaving his 110-year old Victorian residence to five friends given post-mortem instructions to create an arts center. The result is a raging, high-ceilinged room adorned floor to ceiling with a mélange of harvest-themed work from Bay Area artists and beyond. Check out the 25-pound green glazed garden dragon by Niqui Hill. Garden gnomes, your days are so numbered. — D2 (Through Oct. 31 at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru St., Alameda, 510-523-6957)

Threshold: Byron Kim 1990-2004 — Kim is best known for his pictures of skin color, without the texture or wrinkles of the real thing. His first solo show is a retrospective look at what this Korean-American artist has been doing since he burst on the art scene in the 1993 Whitney Biennial. Kim has continued to paint in monochromatic fields of color, sometimes placing two colors next to each other, sometimes multiple strips. In many cases, the effects are beautiful. Still, to fully appreciate the images, the viewer has to read the explanatory wall plaques. — B.K. (Through December 12 at the Berkeley Art Museum; 510-642-0808 or

What’s Going On? — The curators of the Oakland Museum’s ambitious new show about the Vietnam War era in California 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 Feb. 27, 2005; or 510-238-2200.)

Previous articleTill Court Do Us Part
Next articleCheese-Point Landing
Support the East Bay Express, local news, donate

Newsletter sign-up

eLert sign-up

scattered clouds
58 ° F
63 °
53 °
67 %
40 %
60 °
63 °
62 °
66 °
74 °