What do bronze-cast banana peels, biker quilts and a bloody shaving encounter with a lumberjack’s axe have in common? They’re all in Bay Area Now 6 (BAN6), the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ triennial group showcase of what’s hot in Bay Area art. This year’s exhibition features work that ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous and from failed comedy to philosophical musings on nature.
BAN6’s stated purpose is to showcase experimental work, new talent, and fresh perspectives in Bay Area art, and in that regard it succeeds. The curators also claim to reflect upon the “mélange of communities and micro-cultures” the Bay Area has to offer, and that’s where the show stalls. While it’s an art feast, it’s over-reaching and all-encompassing, almost to the point of sheer randomness. Simply presenting a multitude of trends in Bay Area art and culture doesn’t add up to a curatorial focus. Nonetheless, there’s a lot worth looking at.