New galleries bring buzz to San Francisco, but no gold rush—yet

February 20, 2017

by Jori Finkel : theartnewspaper – excerpt

Art scene is expanding into other parts of the city after high rents forced an exodus from downtown

After new spaces opened on the coattails of the dramatically expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) last year—most notably Gagosian opening a branch within a few blocks—the city’s gallery scene continues to grow…

In January, the blue-chip Berggruen Gallery unveiled a three-floor, 10,000-sq. ft space South of Market, next door to Gagosian. The same week, former Matthew Marks director Adrian Rosenfeld opened a new space in the Minnesota Street Project in the scruffy Dogpatch neighborhood, joining Rena Bransten, Anglim Gilbert, and Altman Siegel, which ­relocated there in November.

The downtown exodus has been fueled by sky-high real estate prices. Claudia Altman Siegel, Catharine Clark and Stephen Wirtz all mentioned rent rises as a factor in leaving the 49 Geary building in recent years. Gretchen Berggruen said the gallery’s move, after 46 years on Grant Avenue, was prompted by a desire for more space and “amenities” that collectors expect, like parking. In effect, the city’s gallery scene is once again expanding after a contraction. But is the collector base that underlies it also keeping pace…(more)

The lack of interest in the arts can probably be traced back to the removal of art, music, and humanities from the public school curriculum. People with no education or appreciation of the arts are not likely to invest or become serious collectors. What passes for quality visuals these days is astonishingly bad. Take a look at the ugly buildings going up all over the place if you want to see a good argument for returning art to the classrooms.


San Francisco’s Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Party Denied Permit

February 16, 2017

by thump.vice – excerpt

There may be no summer lovin’ in San Francisco this year.

A permit for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the city’s historic Summer of Love—during which thousands of young people (commonly called “hippies” and “flower children”) gathered in the Haight-Ashbury district in 1967 for what would become known as a major counterculture movement—was denied last week by the San Francisco parks and recreation department, reports The Guardian.

In their letter to event organizer Boots Hughston, they reportedly cited safety concerns, adding, “We cannot put the public at risk.”

The party, initially set to take place June 4 at Polo Field in Golden Gate Park, was proposed as a free, day-long concert. Artists supposedly confirmed to perform included Eric Burdon and War, Country Joe McDonald, Santana Blues Band’s original rhythm section, and the remaining members of Jefferson Airplane, who performed at the original gathering in 1967.

Hughston, who successfully organized the Summer of Love’s 40th anniversary celebration at Golden Gate Park’s Speedway Meadows with McDonald, Moby Grape, Taj Mahal, and more, said he plans to appeal the denial. An online petition has also acquired more than 1,500 signatures… (more)

Please sign and pass this along if you want to see the Summer of Love FREE concert tradition upheld and the true meaning of love remembered in the city where such sentiments are fading fast, becoming a relic of the past, as the rush for gold comes roaring back into the 21st Century.


Why Silicon Valley’s Young Elite Won’t Invest in Art

February 2, 2017

by James Tarmy : bloomburg – excerpt

A lot of money is flowing in and out of the bank accounts in the Bay Area—but it’s not going toward art, a traditionally San Francisco status symbol.

Walking through the frigid warehouse that housed the inaugural San Francisco edition of the Untitled Art Fair in January, 23-year-old entrepreneur Connor Zwick took in the fair’s 55 contemporary art galleries and was unimpressed.

“I look at art all the time and see a lot of art I like,” he said. “But it’s not correlated with price at all.”…

Trickle Down

San Francisco’s collectors come from virtually every sector: finance, real estate, venture capital, even retail. The city has an established arts culture, and its older families—the Schwabs, the Fishers, the Haases—have bought, and then donated, hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars’ worth of art. (The new wing at the city’s Museum of Modern Art is filled with works donated by the Fisher family.) But the highest echelons of the tech world—the new elite of San Francisco—have been slow to join them…

Culture Shift

Buell, the adviser, speculates that the rising ranks of tech managers will eventually get around to buying art, but “I think it’s going to take a little bit more time, I’ll be totally honest,” she said. “People in the art world are like ‘hurry up and spend money,’ but many of these guys are working their tails off,” she continued. “They’re just having their children and buying their first houses. I think the trickle-down will happen, but further down the line.”

Sanghvi, the engineer, said outsiders need to remember that the tech sector continuously deemphasizes ownership of anything, let alone million-dollar artworks. “Today, people aren’t inclined toward buying a home or car or owning things,” she said. “And there have been markets that have been developed to facilitate things that are communal—like Uber or Airbnb.” If you don’t own your house, in other words, you probably won’t spend tons of money to decorate it. “Most of the material things that we’ve traditionally invested in are no longer relevant for this generation,” she said… (more)


CAN Cultural Action Network – Call to action to Save the Mission

January 29, 2017

By Cultural Action Network
660

A flood of money, restaurants, housing, and office/tech projects is trying to push its way onto Mission St, most of it on N Mission St from 11th to 16th. For the first time ever SOMA will link up with Mission St and foot traffic will flow down from the north.

There are 21 projects of concern from 11th to 25th St. See attached map. It doesn’t look like Mission St, already struggling to hold on after hits from
the outflow of the Latino community, the internet, and the SFMTA red lanes
disaster, will withstand half of this influx of upscale people and the shop
turnover pressure that is already under way.

USM is opposed to these projects, and in particular has taken votes against the
Armory (50k office – to become a subsidized arts, PDR, maker space), the Impact
Tech Hub (25k, 500+ tech workers daily), and the Monster in the Mission (500+
upscale residents).

We have spoken to city officials about the idea of subsidizing an Armory
conversion and Sharon is trying to set up a meeting with SFMade. First action proposed so far is a Feb picketing of the tech hub which has begun
its conversion at 15th and Mission. SF Public Press has written a letter of 
support for them strangely, does anyone know them?

Please share your thoughts and standby for calls to action.

To clarify, our proposal to the city is to make the Armory a subsidized arts
and maker space.

Don’t forget about the plan to gentrify 16th Street and link it to the mess at General Hospital. The plan appears to be to circle the Mission with large development projects and crush it from the North, East, and West. All we can do is warn people what is coming it is up to them to act on the knowledge.

We need  to clear up our use of vocabulary if we want to communicate with the rest of the country. Makers are manufacturers if they create physical products and ship them. That is the traditional term for what makers do. We need to get back to basics and quit buying to the use smart tech speak if we want to unite the country. By claiming some industries are smart you insinuate that others are dumb. This is not true and we should avoid all confusing communications.

Activists Fighting Restaurants on Mission Street

January 28, 2017

By Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt

Activists who have long tried to fight gentrification by opposing market-rate development and upscale businesses are now targeting new restaurants on Mission Street.

The latest focus is a tea restaurant planned for the site of the former Sapphire Photo store at 2761 Mission St. between 23rd and 24th streets.

A frequent opponent of new developments in the Mission has filed a request with the city to delay its conversion – one of nine similar applications for conversion to restaurant use along the Mission Street corridor.

“All parties should be aware at this point that the Mission community does not wish to see any more restaurant conversions on Mission Street,” wrote Rick Hall, an activist, in the discretionary review application he filed January 5…

It’s not that he believes that all restaurants contribute to gentrification – though the organizers do worry about over-saturation of restaurants on business corridors.

Hall said in an interview that he and other activists from a group of organizations called “United to Save the Mission” have dropped their opposition to some restaurants after meeting with the owner and determining that they will not be forces of gentrification. Usually, that determination depends on how expensive the menu will be, he said… (more)

As you can see by earlier posts, the restaurant business is fraught with problems regardless of the price level. Avoiding over-saturation of eating establishments could be an important component in maintaining a healthy environment for established places, while keeping the competition from wasting time and money on a losing proposition. Maintaining a balance could be the best way to protect all concerned.


What’s behind the spate of recent Bay Area restaurant closures?

January 25, 2017

By : eastbaytimes – excerpt (includes video)

While new restaurants have further solidified the Bay Area as a foodie destination in recent years, many others have succumbed to a perfect storm of economic challenges that shows no sign of abating.

 Upward of 60 restaurants around the Bay Area have closed since the start of September alone, with many citing difficulties like the cost of finding and keeping good employees, rising rents, new requirements for providing health care and sick leave, and doing it all while competing with the slew of new dining options.
 The restaurant industry has always been among the most competitive and challenging to navigate, and failures are nothing new, but the current struggles have left some wondering if the traditional dining model might be headed for an overhaul.

“We’re at this precipice where the model of the full-service restaurant is being pushed to the brink,” said Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association… (more)

This article pretty well sums it up. The new economic model does not support a robust food culture in America or many other artistic or creative endeavors. The constant disruptions of construction and noise are sucking up all the air and money anyway. Watch for the return of speakeasies and other underground forms of entertainment. If you can’t cook it is almost cheaper to have a personal chef come to you and cook your mean than eating out these days.

Can Prop X and Calle 24 save the arts and culture in San Francisco? The voters clearly want to preserve the culture, but the money behind the destruction is overwhelming efforts. There is a major shift in artistic expression as logos and product hype is popping up everywhere.

If the “entertainment” at the Warriors ground-breaking ceremony are any indication of where public taste is headed we don’t need to defund arts and education grants programs to change the aesthetics of our society. We have already done that. Whether or not Melania really plans to sell her jewelry out of the White House, art in America has lost its heart.

https://youtu.be/cZWTDOtZfpY

 


Restaurant LuLu closes without warning in SoMa

January 4, 2017

By Justin Phillips : sfgate – excerpt

2017 has started with another San Francisco mainstay saying goodbye. Restaurant Lulu on Folsom Street has shut down operations after 24 years.

Lulu special events manager Darla Parks told Scoop that the restaurant’s ownership made the decision to close on New Year’s Day, effective immediately. And it came without any type of warning, she said.

“It’s just a sad day,” Parks said.

Hoodline first posted the news after a tipster shared an image of a sign outside the restaurant that thanked customers “for 24 wonderful years.”

Lulu’s might be the most notable early year closure in Bay Area dining. The news just continues a common theme from 2016: older institutions are struggling survive.

When LuLu opened in 1993, the restaurant pioneered family style dining, along with many other trends, from the signature iron-skillet roasted mussels to communal seating to the South of Market location. In 1993, Examiner critic Jim Wood described the ground-breaking nature of the restaurant: “But it’s the food that’s a shock: a new, original style. There’s nothing like it in San Francisco. ”

“When it opened, the location at Folsom and Fourth streets seemed like a detriment, but the concept was so exciting,” wrote Chronicle critic Michael Bauer in a 2014 review. “I can’t think of another restaurant that better created and foreshadowed the trends we see now.”… (more)

Being on the edge of the construction zone on 4th Street can’t be that much fun.