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The rediscovery of Rudolf Bauer, nightlife at the museums and Pi Day

Rudolf Bauer's "Spiritual Pleasures," oil on canvas, 1935-1938, is on exhibit as part of the retrospective
courtesy Weinstein Gallery

"Realm of the Spirit," a retrospective of the works of German artist Rudolf Bauer will be opening at Weinstein on March 15. The last major retrospective of Bauer’s work was in 1997, also at Weinstein Gallery, Bauer, an acclaimed contemporary of Kandinsky, Chagall and Klee, survived Nazi persecution, only to see his works ignored and related to museum storage.

Born in Germany in 1889, Bauer overcame his family's objections to become a painter. Later, he became involved in the avant-garde group Der Sturm in Berlin and later taught there, In 1917 he met Hilla Rebay, an important artist and art promoter, who became his lover.

In 1930 Solomon Guggenheim and his wife, Irene, traveled with Rebay to Germany to meet Bauer and Kandinsky. By this point, Bauer’s work had moved from lyrical to geometric abstraction, which would dominate the rest of his artistic career. Guggenheim bought several of Bauer’s new works and also put him on a stipend, which allowed Bauer to open his own museum for his work and the work of other Non-Objective painters such as Kandinsky. He called his museum Das Geistreich, or "The Realm of the Spirit."

Bauer remained in Germany until 1939 when an arrest by the Gestapo and further Nazi persecution forced him to immigrate to the U.S. Unfortunately his life in America proved to be difficult. Bauer married and relations with Rebay became strained. The Guggenheim changed its artistic vision and Bauer lost his stipend and his works were sent into storage, not to be seen again for two decades. In 1953 Rudolf Bauer died of lung cancer. When the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum reopened in 1959, they did not have a single work of his on its walls.

The rediscovery of his work began with a 1967 show at the Guggenheim, followed by a 1969 retrospective in Cologne, Germany. Since then, his work has steadily gathered more critical attention.

In March 2014, the SF Playhouse is hosting the premier showing of the play Bauer, a historically-accurate yet fictionally told interpretation of Bauer's affairs with his wife, Hilla Rebay, and Solomon Guggenheim, as told through the story of a high-tension meeting between Bauer, Bauer's wife, and Hilla Rebay

"Realm of the Spirit" runs March 15 to April 20 at Weinstein Gallery (383 Geary Street). Bauer runs March 18 to April 19 at the San Francisco Playhouse (450 Post Street).

Interview at SF Gate with Rowland Weinstein: http://www.sfgate.com/art/article/The-Realm-of-the-Spirit-A-Retrospective-of-5312004.php

Hunt Slonem "Quantum Leap" at Sorokko Gallery.

There's no point in looking for the Easter Bunny among Hunt Slonem's works. Inspired by his discovery that he was born during the Year of the Rabbit, the works are sought by museums and collectors (at least accoding to the press release. The wikipedia article on him, citing issues of "spatial complexity, compression and density" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunt_Slonem) doesn't bear any relationship to the gallery images so it will be interesting to see how the reality lives up to the art hype.

Apparently he's been painting bunnies for 30 years, claiming that the work is a holy mantra. Interesting to see that magazines like "Art Forum" don't have a lock on pontificating piffle.

Sorokko Gallery specializes in the decorative and the popular so whatever the reality of the work, it's bound to look nice over the sofa. http://www.sorokko.com/

Night at the museums: If you’re looking for a little bit of culture, check out nighttime events on Thursday at either the California Academy of Sciences or the Asian Art Museum. This week’s March Madness Nightlife at the Academy of Sciences includes a pop-up sports bar (with pub trivia), sports talk, live music and arcade games. (6-10 p.m., tickets $10-$12). At the Asian, the museum will be open until 9 p.m. on Thursday, and admission is $5 if you show up after 5; it’s $10 for the “Yoga” show.

CAAMFest 2014: The Center for Asian American Media’s 11-day festival starts Thursday, celebrating contributions of Asians and Asian Americans in media. Thursday’s opening night film, “How to Fight in Six Inch Heels,” screens at the Castro, followed by the opening gala at the Asian Art Museum. Opening weekend events include a spotlight on filmmaker Grace Lee (Sunday at the Castro), the CAAM Fellows Showcase (Sunday at Pa’Ina) and a tribute to Run Run Shaw (Saturday at Great Star Theater). Through March 23; more info at www.caamedia.org.

Pi Day: Friday is Pi Day (a.k.a. 3.14), and you can celebrate in a number of ways. Mission Pie and Paxti’s Pizza will sell slices for $3.14. The Exploratorium will offer free admission all day, offering up pi-themed activities and plenty of pie. Instead of "let them eat cake," eat pie instead.