Sunday, May 8, 2011

Art Murmur

quiet studio

This past Friday was the first one in May, so it was time for First Friday and the associated art events in Oakland. K and I decided to check out the Oakland Art Murmur, the art party that started the whole First Friday art movement in the East Bay.

We parked just north of things and set off to explore the murmur. We got there shortly after 6, so things were still relatively quiet. In some of the smaller studios, that can be a very good thing -- it got pretty crowded later on. There's an amazing variety of art on display, using a wide variety of media. There were paintings, photos, old cars (and of course photos of the old cars, sometimes with women), sculptures, videos, and combinations of the above. As with art in general, some we liked and some we didn't.

Judith Allen

I chuckled at Judith Allen's Fish Study 2, because it made me think of the royal wedding. Judith found that amusing, and was busy planning a new photo series as we left.

Some of the art we liked we would enjoy having in our home. Alas, there was little overlap between art we liked and art that fits in our budget. And of course there were some pieces that were not for sale.


One of the nice things about an art showing is sometimes you get to learn about the process of how the art was created. In the case of the Counterpoint series, Lisa Levine and Peter Tonningsen alternate taking pictures of the same subjects, using the same piece of film. The results are combined further into a photo collage.

We continued wandering through different galleries, and as the evening progressed, it got more and more crowded. Around the food vendor area, it was downright packed. It was hard to get a sense of what vendors were there, never mind what each had to offer, so a touch of claustrophobia and basic hunger led us to seek someplace quieter to get some dinner. We ended up crossing Broadway and having a nice dinner at Vo's Restaurant.

food area

After dinner, we checked out some art displayed at Farley's East, passed on Era Art Bar because it was crowded and loud, and then went and checked out videos playing on the Great Wall of Oakland back on the other side of Broadway. We meandered through some more galleries, vaguely headed towards the car. After seeing a further dizzying array of art, we walked back to the car and headed home.

If you haven't been to the Art Murmur before, I recommend checking it out. Plan on alternate transportation (East Bay Bike Coalition had valet bike parking), and be prepared to walk. Also be prepared for crowds -- the Art Murmur may be getting too popular for its own good. Check out more pictures from Friday in my gallery.
Art Murmur gallery

update: Also check out Beck's coverage of the Art Murmur on Living in the O. Note the interesting responses in the comments on alternatives to the crowds.

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