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With museums and galleries closed, outdoor art displays emerge in SF & Oakland

Still from Zeina Barakeh's "Homeland Insecurity & Slam Bang Blue Remix," part of SFAI's "Tunnels of the Mind." | Courtesy of SFAI
By Britta Shoot - Published on June 11, 2020.

With Bay Area museums set to remain closed until mid-August, many major institutions have been focusing on virtual exhibitions on their websites or Instagram pages.

But for those seeking to experience art in person, several new efforts by local artists and institutions offer the chance to both take a walk outside and take in some art.

Tunnels of the Mind

While its galleries are closed, the San Francisco Art Institute (800 Chestnut St.) is lighting up its tower with an hourlong video art showcase.

This weekend, "Tunnels of the Mind" will screen on Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. The program features 18 video works, each about three minutes long, created by SFAI-affiliated artists, including Orit Ben Shitrit, Sharon Lockhart, and Kathleen Quillian.

The exhibition should be visible all over North Beach, so if you can't make it over to the SFAI campus, you may only need to look up to see some art flash by. For those sticking close to home, the entire showcase is viewable on SFAI's website.

Into the Darkness

One of the newest exhibition spaces in the city is a 6-by-12 foot billboard in the Inner Sunset. Now hosting its second show, Premiere Jr. plans to rotate exhibitions every two to three months.

Until June 21, stop by 624 Irving St. to see "Into the Darkness," part of Oakland-based artist Katie Dorame's Hitchcock-inspired black pastel series, "I'm Not Rebecca." The artwork depicts Native American actress Q'orianka Kilcher in her role as Pocahontas in the 2005 film "The New World." It's best viewed during daylight hours.

View this post on Instagram

Happy to have my art out in the world right now THANKS to @premiere_jr introducing their second show: ‘Into the Darkness’ up in SF at 624 Irving St. - take a safe look at the art if you can! It’s up until June 21st. ———— drive thru- I’ve never seen my work so large!!! It’s from a black pastel drawing from the series I’ve been working on called “I’m not Rebecca” - a retelling of the Hollywood myth of Pocahontas as a gothic horror film. I worked on the series while an artist in residence @instituteofamericanindianarts and didn’t know exactly where the work was going - this piece uses film stills of @qorianka from “the new world” (2005) and some moody brilliance from “the innocents” (1961) 🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯

A post shared by Katie Dorame (@katiedorame) on

Oree Originol: Justice For Our Lives

Oakland-based Oree Originol is the artist behind the open-source portrait project Justice for Our Lives. Since 2014, he's been producing portraits of people killed by law enforcement, to be used by activists, other artists, and educators. 

Recently, his work was used to create a temporary memorial to victims of police killings on the southwest corner of Mandana Plaza in Oakland. With each portrait mounted on a wooden stake, the display honors dozens of people from around the Bay Area and the country.

Grace Cathedral also recently projected some of Oree Originol's images on its facade, to memorialize the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor.


Know of any other unusual art displays that have cropped up outdoors? Text us at (415) 200-3233. We'll add any other notable outdoor art we find to this post.

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