Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

To say San Francisco’s Academy of Art is omnipresent is an understatement. Between student housing, numerous campus outposts and signature black buses, one can easily start considering the institution just part of the landscape that is our City.

Last week, in just such an unaware state, I passed the Academy’s windows. As if a tractor beam of style had me in its sites, I halted and was pulled into the school’s gallery space. Two insect-infested garments (Kaori Chiba) confronted me at the entry. I had stumbled upon the 2010 Annual Spring Show for the Academy of Art.

The bug bit me, so to speak.

The show, which started June 14 and will run through July 31st, is being promoted as the “best of” student works in the areas of animation, graphic design, photography, sculpture and more.

I must say, for me the accessories (which fell under the fine art jewelry classification in many cases) were the draw. The creations rival anything found in London or other European hotbeds of forward thinking design. It is all the more exciting to have this work emerging from our local talent pool. A surprise to me – most pieces had prices and clearly are available for sale (and several marked sold but remained for the exhibition).

I’m keen on one-of-a-kind artisan pieces since they are timeless and unexpected, often have interesting back-stories and thus are excellent conversation starters. The student created accessories I found certainly made the grade. Fancy yourself a present day Isabella Blow? Here is where you too could become a muse, collector or steward of one of these very talented students.


Caught my attention: An interlocking bronze crustacean bib necklace by Kaori Chiba contrasts with Mariah Groves dramatic neon-orange plastic “spine.”

A very wearable two-toned cuff – Mad Max meets Pandora — by Nimontra Sethi or a bird talon embellished minaudiere by Meryl Pataky are perfectly in-step with a growing interest in artisan pieces.

The Annual Spring Show can be found at the 79 Gallery at 79 New Montgomery Street. The gallery is open to the public from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed on Sundays and holidays.


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