'Bay Area Now 5' showcases local art 

"Bay Area Now 5," the multi-disciplinary exhibition of emerging and established local artists, is back with an ambitious four month-long program. Presented by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the triennial event brings the best of the San Francisco Bay Area’s art scene to the public with a rich showcase of cross-generational and cross-disciplinary work.

"There are so many artists in this community and you just don’t have the opportunity to see them all, says curator Kate Eilertsen. "By selecting some of the ones that we feel are the most interesting, provocative and beautiful, we can present work to the general public who would not have access to it otherwise."

The fifth installment of the Bay Area-focused survey on contemporary art kicks off today with an opening-night party set to feature the union of performance artist and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and Italian designer Alessandro Moruzzi in "Aria."

The installation explores the many permutations of air; "Aria" becomes an interactive piece at the YBCA Galleries beginning Sunday.

At the heart of "Bay Area Now 5," which extends through November, is an underlying idea of globalization and its influence on art.

Eilertsen and associate visualarts curator Berin Golonu visited more than 80 studios in their search for a broad cross-section of work that not only reflects the Bay, but beyond.

"The thing that seemed most evident was the kind of globalism that we saw in the work," says Eilertsen, YBCA’s acting director of visual arts.

"When we visited the artists we talked with them about the four themes: people, place, idea, and ideals," she said. "We wanted to pick work that fit into the four themes, but also work that was exceptionally compelling."

Initially started as a visual-arts survey, Bay Area Now has expanded its programming to highlight performing arts, film and video.

With such promising Bay Area talent on display — "Bay Area Now" has been credited with launching the careers of Barry McGee, Chris Johanson and Todd Hido — who should the public keep an eye out for?

Performance artist, technologist and cultural theorist Praba Pilar is buildingthe Church of Nano Bio Info Cogno in the YBCA Gallery, where attendees can confess and be absolved of their technological sins.

As guest curator, the Iranian-American artist Taraneh Hemmi presents "Theory of Survival," a dialogue about the Iranian diaspora that features artists’ responses to a historical archive belonging to the library of Iranian Students Association of Northern California.

IF YOU GO

Bay Area Now 5: Opening Night Party

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco

Tickets: $12 to $15

Contact: (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org

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