John Berggruen Gallery: Take Note of These Emerging Artists on Display

November 1- December 15, 2007, Displaced: Jonathan Callan, Frank Ebert,Armando Miguelez, Julio Ceaser Morales, Gabrielle Teschner, Hours 9:30am -5:30pm Monday through Friday, 10:30am - 5:00pm Saturday, 228 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, 94108, 415-781-4629

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The list of artists shown over the past thirty plus years at John Berggruen Gallery includes a who's-who from the pantheon of California greats: Thiebaud, Diebenkorn, Oliveira and Bischoff to name a few.

But the show on view in the gallery's third floor through mid-December is noteworthy because it features emerging artists, something Berggruen hasn't done in ages. (For the purpose of this article, "emerging" is defined as very recently graduated from grad school and/or as yet "untested"by a commercial gallery with an international reputation.)

1997 was the last time Berggruen featured artists at such an early career stage, in a group show that included the work of Barry McGee. That was the year that McGee’s work was revealed to the art community as one of the winners of the SFMOMA SECA Award show. (The Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art was founded in 1960 by San Francisco Bay Area art community notables including Ruth Braunstein and Rene di Rosa and recognizes a handful of outstanding local emerging artists every other year who invariably go on to receive national recognition.) Since then McGee has ascended to the position of Godfather of the home grown Mission School movement.

Two of the artists on view in "Displaced" just received their MFA's from California College of the Arts last Spring. Frank Ebert's photorealist graphite on paper drawings ($1,500-$3,200) are the ultimate grown-up rock and roll poster. Gabrielle Teschner also bowed at CCA in May; her "Altered Maps" ($1,400-$2,200) are found vintage maps with stenciled cut-outs of tongue in cheek cartographer's jargon.

Although Julio Cesar Morales is also included in the "Displaced" show, "emerging" is not the right description for this accomplished artist. Morales is the founder of the provocative alternative gallery space called "Queen's Nails Annex" (which really is next door to a beauty shop in the outer Mission called Queen's Nails). He is a graduate of San Francisco Art Institute and now teaches there in the New Genres department. The Rockefeller Foundation and The Fleishhacker Foundation are among the many venerable institutions that have recognized his talent.

The Tijuana born artist's work is highly charged with border politics featuring the desperate attempts of illegal immigrants to smuggle themselves into the US. (It is not a surprise that his provocative work is featured in the permanent collection of the San Diego Museum of Art in a city on the front lines of this issue.) The soft watercolors look like science fiction cartoon cels but are horrifyingly real and depict actual cases documented by the border patrol. This is serious political art that makes its point effectively. ($5,000-$5,500)

New blood on the Berggruen staff has something to do with it. Mike Bianco just signed on full-time with the gallery after graduating from the Curatorial Practice Master's program at CCA, and this is the first show he has curated there. Bianco's not exactly brand new to Berggruen. He had been working part-time for the gallery while enrolled in CCA ever since Mr. Berggruen discovered him in 2005 in the American Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennial where he was an assistant in the Ed Ruscha exhibit.

Bianco leads a second life in Marfa, Texas, where he runs a space called "The Way Point" ( that he curates during Chinati season. The contemporary art world knows Marfa as a town that is synonymous with the Chinati Foundation, founded by Donald Judd in the early 1980's, to provide a home for large scale minimalist/conceptual sculpture. Forget Burning Man; during "Chinati Season" the tiny town (population 2,121) is a happening, overrun with artists and curators. (Julio Morales is also a Marfite.)

Next time Bianco is scheduled to curate something big for Berggruen is not until Fall ’08 so be sure to stop by while “Displaced” is still up on the walls.