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:
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.