When: June 28-Aug. 10 2014
Named for the makeshift podiums used to preach opinions, the Berkeley Art Center’s (1275 Walnut St.) current juried exhibition aims to offer artists a similar kind of outlet. Jurors Steven Wolf and Boots Riley (yes, of The Coup) chose sixteen artists whose submissions were both visually arresting and politically conscious. The collection of works do preach, but in a way that involves the viewer in contemplative dialogue, asking them to decipher the ambiguities of each piece. A series of three paintings by Nick Randhawa, titled “Think Different,” is the most interactive. On the surface, the paintings show cleanly executed iPhone advertisement imagery, yet when the viewer uses red-tinted glasses, the layers below reveal images of factory workers and collaged documents that allude to a darker reality. Nicki Green’s sculpture, “The Revolution Will Be Earthenware,” is another standout piece. It consists of a collection of ceramic vessels that superficially resemble traditional Chinese vases, but upon closer inspection, reveal paintings of important moments in LGBT history. With a handkerchief stuffed in the top of each — like a Molotov cocktail — the works are simultaneously fragile and dangerous, commonplace and radical.