reviews

  • The San Francisco International Video Festival

    The San Francisco International Video Festival

    The San Francisco International Video Festival’s third incarnation—like its first two—was characterized by a dizzying variety of viewing venues, a secondary emphasis on video within the context of performance and installation art, numerous film-festival-style tributes, and the decidedly political bent of many of the works screened. Three videotapes received their public premieres—Doug Hall’s The Speech, Tony Labat’s Ñ, and Tony Oursler’s Son of Oil; each directly targets matters of social and political consequence.

    Doug Hall’s best-known works are his mid-’70s collaborations with the T.R. Uthco

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  • Robert Hudson

    Fuller Goldeen Gallery

    With his audacious juxtapositions of thrift-shop junk and the polychrome steel structures it dangles from, Robert Hudson epitomizes a particular Northern California penchant for wacky humor. His idiosyncratic constructions have exuberantly embraced an assortment of irregular forms since the mid-’60s. Then, in counterpoint to East Coast Minimalism and as progenitors of the kind of bizarre conglomerations that art historian Peter Selz would term “funk,” Hudson’s free-form assemblages of twisted geometric shapes and distortions of identifiable objects were fabricated entirely out of steel and

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  • Pat Patterson

    Norton residence, La Honda

    Pat Patterson’s Giant Steps, 1978–80, nestles in a bowl-shaped hillside at the Norton residence in La Honda, 40 or 50 miles south of San Francisco. Just below the crest of a mountain ridge between the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the architectural sculpture faces south, toward a panoramic view of the ocean. The site is breathtaking, and continuously in motion—winds at the top of the ridge sometimes reach a velocity of a hundred miles an hour. For an encore to spectacular sunsets, the valley below fills with cotton-candy puffs of fog. With the natural setting

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  • Michael Peppe

    San Francisco International Theater Festival

    Michael Peppe’s Actmusikspectakle V, Region I, Looped is a one-man, 45-minute opera in 11 languages, which Peppe performed seated at a desk, without props or technology, and which features 40 characters plus poems, prayers, impressions, songs, and hundreds of other “musical atoms.” These components were set afloat in Peppe’s own invented “Behaviormusik,” described by him as “an idiom founded on the concept that all possible behavior is musically composable.” The piece was followed by “Forty-three Characters,” selected from the other three “regions” of Actmusikspectakle V and presented as the

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