Friday, December 12, 2008

high fire ceramics

This Ron Nagle/Don Ed Hardy show at Rena Bransten Gallery is the bomb!

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things - a mass conflagration of thoughts, adventure & commodity crammed into a small gallery in downtown San Francisco for a brief period of time.

It takes you from the distribution of "china," Empire, tattooing and the body-politic politics of body, to pop & funk and the flac·cid·i·ty of late twentieth-century; post-nuclear aesthetics, back around through high-fire ceramics to the commercial distribution of amalgamated mass culture through the recent success of Don Ed Hardy in every Macy's and Nordstrom's in America.

It's quiet. But if you can hear the noise, this show's the bomb.

And the old guys sit around in the gallery by way of the power of video and say piss and sh*t and f@ck and everything.

Jesse Hamlin wrote a nice brief intro in the Chron's Date Lines: News from the Bay Area arts scene:

Ron Nagle and Don Hardy have been chums since the early 1960s, when Hardy - an Orange County surfer who'd bring a sophisticated visual vocabulary to the rogue art of tattoo - went north to study at the San Franciso Art Institute, where Nagle was teaching ceramic sculpture. Equally attuned to the forms and colors of Asian art, Giorgio Morandi and California hot-rod culture, the artists have always shared a certain sensibility. Now, for the first time, they're showing their work together, in an exhibition at the Rena Bransten Gallery called "Duo Mysto."

Opening Thursday, it features some of the intriguing little organic forms that Nagle has been making lately, as well as his drawings, and ceramics and prints by Hardy. Nagle gave his friend a crash course in ceramics, helping him cast models for the vessels that Hardy created with master craftsmen in Akita, Japan. Using underglaze, China paint and etched lines, Hardy layered some of the forms with his signature beasts and mythical figures.

The show runs through Jan. 10 at 77 Geary St. in San Francisco. The genre-defying duo will be there for the opening reception, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. More information at (415) 982-3292 or

This show's the bomb. Don't miss it.

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