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Art Murmur is here again and for me, it’s been awhile. I missed it last month because I was snowshoeing in the Sierras. Even though today’s weather still requires more layers, I’ll make it out. My first stop will probably be Johansson Projects, since there’s always some good art on (loved the tree trunk conceived as a memoir, ring by ring). Here are some other galleries I plan on walking through this First Friday:

Opening at Oakopolis
“A Farewell Kiss: Two artists revisit the Bush Theater of the Absurd”


I’m in no mood to embrace our departed administration. But this gallery is in my top five. It’s one of Art Murmur’s stellar live-work studios, and I still think about the reconceived clothes show I saw months ago. Curator DeWitt Cheng presents Mark Bryan and Bruce Yurgil, two artists from the golden state. Bryan’s satirical oil paintings point to the line between reality and allusion so often walked by Dick Cheney. Yurgil’s digital collages have the same spirit; he takes pulp magazine covers from the World War era and photoshops Dubya’s head into the mix. Pretty surreal stuff. And I can actually laugh at it now that the hell that was the last eight years is over.

7 p.m.–10 p.m., 447 25th St., (510) 663-6920.

Closing this Weekend at Blank Space
Forty-Four Presidents

Oakland artist Lena Reynoso inaugurates her latest addition to her portrait series, Forty-Four Presidents. Displayed as a tableau of square-foot canvases, Reynoso’s self-described “medley of men” portrays the nation’s legacy of leadership—and perhaps grade-school flashbacks of memorizing their names.


Obama’s picture is not only the first African-American face in the mix, but he’s the sixth with brown eyes. The closing reception is tonight and the show ends on Feb. 9.

7 p.m.–10 p.m., 6608 San Pablo Ave., (510) 547-6608

…And here are a few galleries not in the Murmur loop, but worth a visit:

Opening this Weekend at Kuhl Frames + Art
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Show Prints”

Rock ’n’ Roll posters are part and parcel of American iconography. This gallery that also doubles as a frame shop, displays Lil Tuffy’s silkscreen prints for musicians like Stevie Nicks, De La Soul, Modest Mouse and more. Oakland’s own Pandora Radio will provide musical accompaniment at the “Gig Posters” (opening tonight and closing March 6), as well as a few giveaways.

6 p.m.–9 p.m., 412 22nd St., (510) 625-0123.

Opening Tonight at Awaken Cafe
“Walking Oakland: Things to See Between Here and There”

Cleo Vilett paints a compelling portrait of the city with acrylic and resin set on board. The texture seems rich and also with the lightness of a watercolor, so I look forward to seeing these in person. Of her inspiration, she says:

“This series was inspired from the many big and little ‘treats’ I discovered as I walked around Oakland. Many of the views were happenstance, discoveries I found on a natural, daily path between my studio and the gym and back. The more I noticed, the more I chose to seek, and my path began to widen and radiate outward.


“I soon found a momentum carrying the feel of the show in a direction of its own. The medium used in these pieces may weave a common thread through a variety of subjects, but they are all very much here as part of this place. Tying our outer boundary of the bay, and eventually the ocean, to such an urban environment may not have happened consciously, but I doubt it was an accident either.”

I agree, Oakland’s full of happy surprises. I’ve found a few on my walks around the Glenview. Thanks for the tip on this, Annalee!

5 p.m.–8 p.m., 414 14th St., (510) 836-2058.