Art Colonist: 10 Year Anniversary of White Walls

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In 2003, Justin Giarla took a chance on a rough part of the Tenderloin -- Larkin near Geary -- and opened an art gallery that specialized in street art and other contemporary work. Amid the drug dealers and other neighborhood denizens, the Shooting Gallery thrived, showcasing artists who've become well-known in everything from political campaigns (Shepard Fairey) to the world of tattoos (Shawn Barber). Giarla eventually opened two more galleries on the same block -- White Walls and 941Geary -- but he's now consolidated his galleries into a single, nearby building at 886 Geary. Besides a sunnier location on the northern side of the block, it's a gigantic space -- 5,000 square feet, with side-rooms that are essentially mini-galleries. The new space is holding a White Walls 10 Year Anniversary Show that surveys artists Giarla has worked with and artists who are new to Giarla's orbit.

Fairey is there with Duality of Humanity, a large mixed-media canvas of a
weapon-toting man. Barber contributes Self Made, a portrait of Giarla's forearm tattoos that contain the same words. British artist/photographer Russell Young offers Kate Moss, a series of large prints with shiny sprinkles featuring model Kate Moss wearing very little as she stands in a bathroom. And Peter Gronquist checks in with A History of Violence, which is one part taxidermy and one part gold antlers that look like rocket launchers. The list goes on. The show is an exhibit of all-star proportions -- a chance to see under one big roof a collection of art that has the imprimatur of Justin Giarla, a former nightclub manager who found his calling in San Francisco's Tenderloin.

The White Walls 10 Year Anniversary Show runs through April 6 at White Walls Gallery, 886 Geary, S.F. Admission is free; 931-1500 or whitewallssf.com.


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