Continuing our two-part tour of Oakland art galleries organized by BART stops (see Part 1 here), we journey in this installment a bit farther afield, to Temescal, Eastlake and Golden Gate. By no means definitive, this guide should nonetheless provide the curious with plenty to see, if not a few new spaces to investigate. Be sure to add your favorite Oakland galleries in the comments section below and enjoy the ride!
Royal NoneSuch Gallery
4231 Telegraph Ave.
Royal NoneSuch Gallery (conveniently shortened to RNG) packs a whole lot of quality into its tiny, 270-square-foot space. Currently helmed by a five-person roster of artists, RNG is experiencing increased and well-deserved attention of late, with write-ups in a variety of local publications for their mixture of solo shows, conceptual pairings and immersive installations. Their experimental programming even extends to their version of a fundraising auction, in which artist-facilitated experiences replace objects. Opening Jan. 30 is Not Much To Look At, an exhibition of “new ugly paintings” by 14 Bay Area artists.
486 49th St.
In a converted horse stall at the end of Temescal Alley, just off Telegraph and 49th Street, Interface Gallery hosts intimate shows both experimental and object-based. In a unique installation challenge, the gallery’s largest wall is floor-to-ceiling brick, prompting a level of site-specific problem-solving in each exhibition. Gallery director Suzanne L’Heureux hosts an eclectic range of makers and thinkers—from Shipping + Receiving’s Feral City to the current atmospheric installation by Carrie Hott, the imagined life of a lamp shop after hours.
5861 San Pablo Ave.
A textile-focused gallery, event space and studio run by Tessa Watson out of a pristine San Pablo storefront, ØGAARD challenges notions of what actually belongs in a “textile-focused gallery” (sometimes sculptures, sometimes ceramics). It’s also a hub of creative activity; along with exhibitions that tread that delicious line between craft and art, Watson organizes workshops covering everything from loom weaving to butter knife carving about once a month. Oakland artist Alice Wiese starts off the new year with a show of embroidery work opening Jan. 24.
Lake Merritt BART
1206 13th Ave.
While Random Parts stretches the BART-able conditions of this list a bit (prepare for a 20 minute walk from the Lake Merritt stop), it’s well worth the journey to this small artist-run space. One year into their programming, they’ve hosted an artist-in-residence from Spain, facilitated a neighborhood mural, exhibited photographs of ad hoc local planters and showed drawings by Bay Area conceptual artist Lowell Darling, to name a few. Their mission, to intermingle international, local, well-known, self-taught and underexposed artists, is true to their name. Except in this case, the “random” parts are always, unexpectedly, the parts you didn’t know you were looking for. Their 2015 season starts off February with paintings by Colleen Flaherty.
3231 Grand Ave.
Since we’ve already strayed from the BART map, the pleasant stroll to Backstock Gallery won’t bother you one bit. Whether you choose to orbit Lake Merritt clockwise or counterclockwise, you’ll wind up just across the street from the picturesque Grand Lake Theatre on a strip full of diversions. Backstock is tucked in the two back rooms of Oak Common, a retail store with a highly curated selection of clothing, accessories, fancy soaps and plant koozies. Operating since Sept. 2013, the gallery shows local and formerly local artists (Lauren Douglas, Anzfer Farms, Simon Pyle), dedicated to the “under-represented genres” of film, video, installation and experimental work. Next up: an exhibition of photographs by recent CCA MFA alum Kristine Eudey, opening Jan. 25.
BLOCK GALLERY could be anywhere, but chances are it’s somewhere BART friendly. This site-specific exhibition program, run by Director Lacey Haslam, negotiates alternative spaces for exhibitions, forging partnerships with local businesses and filling more than just empty storefronts with art. Most recently, Haslam organized Resource, with the work of seven artists in eight public window spaces along Old Oakland’s Ninth Street. Prior to that, you might have noticed the text pieces by Kari Marboe alongside the Latham Memorial Fountain. Currently on view: a solo show by painter Anna Valdez inside Inspired Life Chiropractic, and a two-person exhibition with Valdez and Sacramento-based Andrew L. Rogers at Domain Apartments.