Art Murmur revisited

9 May

After going for the first time in September of 2008, I went to the Art Murmur regularly for the next year or so. I loved taking in the art, hanging out with friends, and seeing a part of Uptown that was often near deserted filled with people.

But at some point, I lost interest in it. Many of the galleries were so crowded that I barely could enjoy the art. Even on the streets, it was often hard to move around. So I stopped going. I never made a conscious decision to stop going. I just didn’t prioritize it, and somehow more than a year went by before I returned.

Fittingly, when I did return this past Friday evening, I didn’t really plan to go but figured since I was walking home from work and didn’t have anywhere else to be, I might as well stop into a few galleries on my way home. I’m glad I did, as my experience reminded me of what drew me to the Art Murmur initially.

It also reminded me why I stopped going (Johansson Projects was so crowded that I turned around after taking just a few steps in), but I found that by just going to a couple spots and by being alone so I could move at my own pace, I was able to enjoy the art anyway.

First I stopped into Raw gallery, the space at the bottom of the Uptown Apartments that they ultimately hope to lease for retail, but have been unable to. I think it’s awesome that in the meantime they’ve repurposed the space as a gallery. Since it’s off the beaten track of the Art Murmur, I’ve never seen it overcrowded, and there’s usually an interesting and diverse selection of art on display. As a bonus, they were serving free cocktails and tacos on Friday. Here is some of the art that drew me in:


I then walked down to Rock Paper Scissors Collective, which was crowded, but not uncomfortably so. I loved the show, which was focused on bikes.

After my unsuccessful foray into Johansson, I stopped into Hatch Gallery, where they had beautiful dream catchers made out of tires:

And some floor art:

After Hatch, I had had my fill of art (and crowds) so I headed down 23rd Street, finding paths in between and around the hundreds of people in the street. I was on a mission to get home. But the sound of Brazilian beats drew me in to watch a capoeira circle for a bit:

I really was done at this point so I turned off of 23rd, planning to walk down 24th to Broadway and straight home. Somehow, I got distracted again by something going on in a warehouse on 24th Street:

It wasn’t too crowded, and some delicious smells were eminating from inside so I had to check it out. There were dozens of artists selling jewelery, furniture, clothing, and art, along with artisans selling homemade jam and other scrumptious looking food.

I walked around briefly and then decided it was really time to get home. All in all, I had a good time and didn’t get stuck in too many crowds. I’ll probably go again next month, but I’ll go earlier and will likely avoid 23rd Street altogether. If you have any suggestions of galleries I should check out, please let me know. For another take on the Art Murmur, see Gene’s post at Our Oakland, and if you want to read more about art in Oakland, check out the great blog Oaktown Art.

9 Responses to “Art Murmur revisited”

  1. Gene May 9, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    You went after all🙂 And apart from the bazaar and the capoeira circle, saw completely different things than K and I saw at Friday’s Art Murmur.

    • Becks May 9, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      Yeah, I did make it. I’m so behind on blog posts that I hadn’t seen yours! I’ll add a link to the post.

  2. matt Iglehart May 9, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    If you like the Murmur, but not so much the crowds, next time I suggest you check out Vessel gallery on 25th. Next door is the 25th. St. collective, a more permanent “Bazzar” type set up. Hope you enjoy them .

    • Becks May 9, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      Thanks for the suggestions – I’ll check those out next time.

  3. themacinator May 9, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    totally agree- i stopped going a couple of years ago because it got way too scene-y. i also went this friday to take pictures and go there early to beat the crowds- maybe 630? i put my earphones in and listened to a baseball game (my way of tuning the scene out). i ran into some pretty cool car exhibits, which made me happy, and one artist i really liked- rebecca kerlin- http://www.kerlinstudio.com. but it was way too much, i couldn’t stand the lines to get in places.

    sadly, i never quite feel safe to walk to the out-of-the-way places when i’m by myself, and i think i’d really enjoy them. there’s not enough traffic to/from them, at least early in the evening, and as much as i’m an oakland girl, it’s too far to walk by myself alone with much confidence.

    i’m very curious why rock paper scissors opted out of art murmur and started the art ride on saturdays. my dad went and was non-plussed.

  4. Daniel Backman May 9, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Oakland’s art scene is growing and thriving all over. It cannot be reduced to a single time (First Friday), place (the Telegraph corridor) or label (Art Murmur). I believe Rock Paper Scissors’ departure from Art Murmur is an acknowledgement of this growth and the inability for a single event to capture all that is going on in Oakland arts. This is in line with the emergence of other alternative events like the Estuary Art Attack and 40th St. Art Quest in areas outside of Uptown and on nights besides First Friday. While their success and continuity have been limited, they highlight the fact that Oakland’s art scene is now bigger than just Art Murmur.

    Case in point, I spent most of my Friday at openings in Old Oakland. Sticks & Stones Gallery on Broadway and Chaparral City on 9th Street both threw fun opening parties for their group shows that attracted lively crowds, stayed open late, had ample food and refreshments, and were full of cool art. Definitely worth checking these spots out next month.

    • Becks May 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

      I enjoyed following your tweets about the Old Oakland galleries and will definitely have to check those out this summer.

  5. newoaktown May 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    To enjoy the murmur, you have to go to all the places away from the madness of people watching/surfing.

    Examples: uptown and hatch as you mentioned; AmSteel and other spaces on the new monthly Oakland Art Ride (first Saturdays) which was very cool; and other out of the way galleries in Old Town, Temescal, West O, etc.

  6. Karen Hester May 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    I too went last Friday from 8-10pm in the height of the scene and expected to be turned off by the crowds but so wasn’t. I enjoyed the brand new HUGE warehouse space on 24th and thought the curator did an excellent job of mixing it up with art, food and msuic. Plus the pork sandwich from Vestas’s Flatbreads was amazing. Yes some stuff bugs me like the overflowing trash cans (and lack of recycling/composting) and I know the Art Murmur board is struggling about what to do with 23rd St as it’s a miracle no one has been hit by a car over the years. But I think a writer above has it right–Oakland’s art scene is just too big for one night a month

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