Bay Area art connection highlights new SV Museum show

Posted on May 7, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Two new exhibitions open May 11 at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art: Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham and Dancing with Charlie: Bay Area Art from the Campbell Collection.

Imogen Cunningham, Three Dancers, Mills College, 1929, courtesy of The Imogen Cunningham Trust

Consistently probing the medium of photography for new artistic expression, Cunninghan’s career spanned some 70 years, much of it in the Bay Area. She moved to San Francisco in 1915 and taught at Mills College in Oakland, and later at the California School of Fine Arts. 

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s she made images that symbolically reflected the restlessness of the times, politically and socially. Her work was dynamic, dramatic, experimental. And influential. Cunningham is a pivotal figure in establishing photography as an art form, says Linda Keaton, SVMA executive director. “This exhibition looks at the career of a female artist who was working during a critical era of modern art and photography.”

This is the first exhibition of this artist’s photographs to tour the U.S. in 20 years, and includes family photographs, portraiture, abstract still lifes, and later work including street portraits from San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury and Paris.

The exhibition Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham is presented with the Imogen Cunningham Trust in association with Photographic Traveling Exhibitions

Imogen Cunningham, Hand and Leaf of Voodoo Lily, 1972

The opening reception will be Saturday, May 14, 6-7:30 p.m. The event is free for SVMA members, and $10 for non-members. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend this event.

On Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. SVMA will host Susan M. Anderson for a Curator’s Talk. Event is $10 for SVMA members, and $15 for non-members. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend this event.

The concurrent show is Dancing with Charlie: Bay Area Art from the Campbell Collection. Campbell was a San Francisco gallery owner who represented major Bay Area contemporary artists for more than 60 years. 

Elmer Bischoff, Two Dancing Dogs, 1965, mixed media on paper

His love of jazz and life in San Francisco’s North Beach connected him to the vibrant bohemian art and culture of the 1950s and 60s. Featured in his collection are works by friends such as Nathan Oliveira, Joan Brown, Elmer Bischoff, Wayne Thiebaud, and other significant Bay Area artists.

 “Campbell was well-known for his eye for enduring talent and commitment to living artists, some of whom he helped push to the forefront of Bay Area art in the period after World War II,” explains Susan M. Anderson, Guest Curator. “A study of the Campbell Collection’s development reveals a confidently intrepid character, one who was warm and witty, and who helped to extend the limits of Bay Area art.”

Wayne Thiebaud, Fish Circle, 1979, pastel on paper

Both shows run through August 11.

The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art is located at 551 Broadway, one half block up from Sonoma’s historic Plaza. Current Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. General admission is $10 and free for SVMA members; additional information is available at or 707.939.7862. Wednesdays are always free.


One thought on “Bay Area art connection highlights new SV Museum show

  1. Victim or the crime?
    Russia has been in the news as a kleptocracy. “Kleptocracies… are societies (Jared) Diamond describes as taking wealth from the common people of a society and transferring it to the elite.” The elite are the few, the oligarchs. Oligarchs of all stripes and nationalities, authoritarian or “free” have laundered assets, offshored bank accounts, avoided taxes, and concentrated wealth to the detriment and exploitation of the people who work to create that wealth.

    We see the greatest inequity ever in the world today. Big oligarchs are followed by mini-oligarchs, like a Russian doll set, all hoarding what they can from the masses below. Big fish eat little fish.

    The US Department of Justice now has a “kleptocapture team” to go after Russian billionaire oligarchs, seize their jets, yachts and bank accounts, to punish them for being complicit in ripping off the Russian people, under Putin’s flavor of systemic rip off.

    Maybe we also need the Justice Dept. to go after US oligarchs like Zuckerburg, Bezos, Musk, Gates, Buffett, Dimon, Weil etc. and on down the line and claw back the immorally obtained wealth these people have ripped off from our people?

    How about a “kleptocapture team” for Sonoma County? Sonoma Valley is a klepto-fractal: serious poverty surrounded by opulent wealth. How is this somehow OK and Russia is not? A “free” rip off is less filling and tastes better than an authoritarian rip off? Here we see why an Art Museum union is so threatening: unions are kleptocapture by and for the people. What if all noblesse oblige Valley non-profits had to pay a living wage rather than have work done by retired volunteers and the sequestered value trickled down to the peons by local oligarchs?

    If a Sonoma County kleptocapture team repossessed all the “Estate”, faux aristocratic wineries and sold them to…. who? New kleptocrats and oligarchs? Uh oh, this is leading to that the whole world financial system is corrupt and we of any means are complicit. When we start pointing the finger on corruption, there we find ourselves as criminals too.

    A few kleptocapture laws to start: one, no rents allowed over 25% of annual income; two, rent and mortgage tax breaks made equal so renters can write off the same percent of housing costs as property owners; minimum wage linked to cost of living index; 50% tax on multi-millionaire’s wealth to pay for free health and education services and for tax credits for low-income housing developers. This plan keeps oligarch Russian dolls but fleeces them good to support the others.

    The world has big fish and little fish. With our vaunted intelligence and targeted kleptocapture programs, we can manage them all so the 1% don’t end up with 99% of the value.

Comments are closed.

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA