First Fridays in North Beach:  San Francisco Art Murmur

I guess they used to call it the art murmur.  It seems like more people call it First Fridays.

In Oakland, not San Francisco, they close down several blocks down Broadway.  Food trucks line the roads.  There’s a carshow featuring muscle cars that people take pictures in.  There are dunk contests.  Every bar has live music, and not just live music, but an audience.  There’s a heartbeat on First Fridays in Oakland.  Of course there’s art. However, the art sometimes takes a backseat to the Oakland culture.  Throughout art murmur, life flows between the art galleries as if the galleries acted as organs and the roads in between were arteries.  None of this was present in the North Beach First Friday.

There was no dunk contest.  There was no parking lot filled with muscle cars.  There weren’t any food trucks interested in taking advantage of an absurd amount of foot traffic clogging up the streets of San Francisco’s Little Italy.  There was no traffic.  In between the galleries was a somber walk in North Beach similar to every other weekend in North Beach.  I was disappointed.  I’ve seen so much great art in North Beach and for the streets to not celebrate the opening of new exhibit, a feast of new horizons on canvases, it seems depressing.  Walking around there are trays of appetizers and wine to fill small disposable plastic cups.  People take pictures and every conversation seems to be a mildly exciting, uninteresting, chance for networking.  There’s no dancing.  There’s no pushing to get around to the next canvas.  There’s just a bunch of people holding their cups up their chest and nodding politely at the person in front of them.

As for the art, there were a few things that I thought were well done.  Somethings were interesting.  Many things I didn’t care for.  If I were to write about any one artist or canvas in particular, I would be forced to find words that resemble some sort of enthusiasm.  Although for some things I saw the effort in the detail, like Sheri Debow’s dolls, there isn’t much about dolls that I find fully captivating.  Some abstracts were good.  A lot of other things I questioned what constitutes art and whether or not that piece fits the bar.

Between the galleries, I walked on my own listening to people at corner bars like Grant and Green seemingly much more enthusiastic.  At the point where I found myself distant from anything having remotely having to do with art, I sat at Caffe Greco looking up at the font in the posters that they had pinned up on the wall.

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