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Museum gotta see 'um
January 01, 2011, 12:33 AM By Susan Cohn Daily Journal Senior Correspondent

Block Party by artists Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang is on display in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Artists Gallery's Window at 150 Natoma St., San Francisco through June 1, 2011.


The collaborative artistic team of Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang combine their love of nature with their interest in science by producing an on-going series of art works about the oceans and the environment.

Richard Lang, President of Electric Works, a gallery, store and fine art printmaking studio in San Francisco’s SOMA district, is a poet, short story writer, painter and printmaker. Judith Selby Lang is an artist whose work touches on a broad array of cultural issues, from the environment to political activism.

In the past ten years the Langs have collected almost two tons of plastic from Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore, garbage washed ashore from as far away as Asia and as close as the San Francisco Bay, and have shaped the beach plastic it into artwork and installations that comment on the problem of environmental pollution.

Examples of their work may currently be seen in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Artists Gallery’s Windows located at 150 Natoma St. and 147 Minna St. (between Third and New Montgomery streets). Natoma and Minna streets flank SFMOMA which is at 151 Third St.

Ghost Net, in the Minna Street windows, is the Langs’ comment on the pernicious entanglements of fishing line, polypropylene rope, monofilament line and plastic bits that float in the ocean, ensnaring everything (birds, fish, marine mammals) that enters their domain.

Block Party, in the Natoma Street windows, is the Langs’ response to an equally dire situation. Scientists report that there are on average 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square mile of ocean. This shocking fact, along with the average person’s difficulty in visualizing that quantity, compelled the artists to count and exhibit a representative sample. Plastic pieces numbering 4,600, the amount contained in one city block (or one-tenth of a square mile of ocean), are hung in a display designed to simulate the colorful bits of plastic floating in the ocean.

Ghost Net and Block Party can be viewed 24 hours a day/seven days a week thru June 1, 2011. Visit www.sfmoma.org/artistsgallery or call (415) 441-4777 for more information.

TAKE A LOOK BEHIND YOU:

Directly across from 150 Natoma is the splendid façade of 147 Natoma St., once the location of the 1908 Underwriters Fire Patrol Company building, the home of San Francisco’s first motorized fire apparatus, a 1911 American LaFrance Type-5 4-cylinder, 50 HP Salvage Wagon Registration No. 25.

IN ITS FINAL WEEKS:

Through Jan. 30, SFMOMA presents "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century,” the first large-scale retrospective of the artist’s work to be staged in the U.S. in more than three decades. Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) is celebrated as one of the most accomplished and original figures in the history of photography. The Modern Century features some 300 prints from Cartier-Bresson’s professional career, 1929 to 1989, with an emphasis on 1932 to 1973. A fifth of the works on view have never been presented to the public before. For more information call (415) 357-4000 or visit www.sfmoma.org.

CLOSING SOON:

You have until Jan. 16 to see "Beyond Golden Clouds: Five Centuries of Japanese Screens” at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. This exhibition of 41 rarely seen large-scale Japanese screens, celebrates the full range of the format in various media including traditional paper and silk as well as stoneware and varnish. The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. 200 Larkin St. at San Francisco Civic Center. www.asianart.org or (415) 581-3500.



Susan Cohn can be reached at susan@smdailyjournal.com or www.twitter.com/susancityscene.


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