SFR Picks

SFR Picks—Week of August 10

Beads and singers, tech and flowers


Artist Hollis Chitto wraps up School for Advanced Research Fellowship with talk, studio tour

Depending on who you ask about beadwork, it can be a painstaking artistry that requires superhuman levels of concentration, it can be a chance to experiment with patterns and color combos or it can fall someplace in between. For artist Hollis Chitto (Mississippi Choctaw, Laguna/ Isleta Pueblo), it’s a chance to get intricate, sure, but also an opportunity to try new things until the piece is just right.

“What I tell people I like about beads is that it’s not like painting,” Chitto tells SFR. “You can cut the beads off and use them again.”

As we speak, Chitto’s in the final states of their stint as the School for Advanced Research’s 2022 Ron and Susan Dubin Native Artist Fellow. It’s an honor their father accepted as well in 2006, and one which has allowed them to dig into ideas of tradition and social statement as seen through a contemporary lens.

“I remember thinking it was the coolest opportunity,” Chitto says of their father’s time as a fellow. “Since then, it’s been one of the goals I’ve been working toward in my career—I’ve always just kind of been working toward this.”

For the fellowship, Chitto set out to create a pair of soft sculpture dolls, a term they describe as ultimately out-of-date, particularly since the name of the game this time out is innovation. Crafting two pieces in such a short time frame proved unfeasible, however, but scaling back the project to one work has allowed Chitto extra time to focus on creating more intricate outfits, such as jeans, a skirt and other ephemera. Regardless, the overall concept is a little more about showcasing Chitto’s modern take on the concept of being Two Spirit—in a nutshell, a Native identity that equally embraces both feminine and masculine energies—or, as Chitto says, “what I see in the world.”

“Tradition has its merit, and we have to keep that going, but at the same time, innovation is traditional,” Chitto explains. “I wanted to make something Two Spirit because I don’t think I’d ever seen one; I wanted to make it a snapshot of the zeitgeist, where we are now, and what I see is a lot of Two Spirits; and we’re kind of -reclaiming that title and that feeling.”

Chitto will explain in further detail this Thursday and also host a tour of their -studio space at SAR. (Alex De Vore)

Artist Talk and Q&A With Hollis Chitto: 5:30 pm Friday, Aug. 12. Free. School for Advanced Research, 650 Garcia St., register at

All In The Hands

Though technology can do wonderful things for artists, it can also be considered a root cause for feeling a little off these days. In true exploratory form, Ranran Fan, as a US-based Chinese citizen, crafted the new exhibit Brutally Sensitive to tackle tech-based questions ranging from censorship to the increasingly blurred lines between machine-crafted and handmade art forms. Her pieces exist to stimulate your senses through sound, texture and visual diagrams of the body that are, shall we say, less than human. It’s an art-meets-tech extravaganza with laser-cut poetry and floating fabric patches sewn together using a 3D filament pen. In addition, Fan adds in musings ranging from her personal experiences with PTSD to the Chinese Communist Party’s feelings on freedom of speech. DIY gallery space NO LAND encourages patrons to come with a friend, partner or whomever to help further explore different ideas of what disconnections and discontent mean from different perspectives. (Riley Gardner)

Brutally Sensitive: Noon-4 pm Saturday, Aug. 13, or by appointment. Free. NO LAND, 54 1/2 E San Francisco St., Ste. 7.

SFO Apprentices Step into the Spotlight

Earlier this summer, mezzo-soprano Emily Fons and tenor Jack Swanson, who star as Rosina and Count Almaviva, respectively, in this summer’s hit production of The Barber of Seville at the Santa Fe Opera, spoke on the SFO Destination Santa Fe Opera podcast about their time in SFO’s Opera Apprentice Program for Singers earlier in their careers. “My opportunities at the Santa Fe Opera and the people that I met have been the most constant source of support for me as I’ve moved on in this career,” Fons said. “And that is something I will be eternally grateful for no matter where my career goes or how long I keep singing.” SFO presents two nights of this year’s apprentice singers and technicians for two distinct nights of staged scenes described by the opera as “fun-filled sampler boxes” of operatic styles.” Come check out the next generation of opera superstars as they take center stage. (Julia Goldberg)

Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Scenes: 8 pm Sunday, Aug. 14. And 21. $15 adults/$5 youth ages 6-22, Santa Fe Opera, 301 Opera Drive,

Floral Arrangements

Wow, Brooklyn indie-folk quartet Florist has a real gem on their hands with their newest record, Florist. Word is that frontwoman Emily Sprague and company took to a rented house in New York’s Hudson Valley to dabble both with the calm-and-pretty sounds for which the band is known, as well as with found sounds, for the new one. Music site Pitchfork likens this to an audio documentary, but we prefer to see it like a talented songwriter coming into her own. Comparisons are inevitable (Cat Stevens, Mirah, maybe a little Feist), but Sprague’s diary-like lyricism feels more like confessional stream of consciousness than it does over-wrought broad narrative. In other words, she’s a one-of-a-kind lyricist, and when the country elements flare up beside sexy synths and you catch a snippet of relatable words, you just kind of feel good for the future of thoughtful and pretty music. (ADV)

Florist: 7 pm Tuesday, Aug. 16. $15. Meow Wolf, 1352 Rufina Circle, (505) 395-6369

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