For San Francisco gallerists Jackie Im and Aaron Harbour, who run their gallery Et al. out of the basement of a dry cleaning business in Chinatown, getting a second space four times the size of their original location was a pretty big deal. Since founding Et al. in 2013, Im and Harbour have gained the reputation of having one of the coolest spaces in the city—the gallery is hidden down an unmarked hallway and flight of stairs, after all—and now they have more space than ever to put on the experimental shows they've become known for.
Et al.'s original program allows an artist the freedom to create their own show concept. "We don't go to artists' studios and choose works," Harbour explains, when referencing an exhibit by Oakland artist Anthony Discenza who, for his five-week run, put on five separate one-week shows. "Our artists constantly surprise us, and that's key to what we do."
Setting up their second space at Minnesota Street Project, a new complex of affordable artist studios and galleries in the city's emerging Dogpatch neighborhood, the two gallerists have taken their program to the next level. Calling the new space Et al. etc., they put on two shows at once: one organized by themselves, and another by a guest gallery. "As we started to crystallize what we'd do in the new space, we built off the way we work with artists as curators," Harbour explains. "It's more of a guest-host relationship, versus us acting as the authority."
Since opening in March, they've hosted Baltimore's Springsteen Gallery, Toronto's Cooper Cole, and New York City's Queer Thoughts, and have another collaboration planned with Mexico City's Yautepec. And, alongside some of the other exciting galleries to open up at Minnesota Street—including Rena Bransten, Casemore Kirkeby, and Ever Gold—they're helping to turn the once industrial Dogpatch into one of the city's coolest destinations.
We wanted to get to know Dogpatch a little better, and who better than Im and Harbour to show us around the up-and-coming neighborhood? Come along on their tour!
Hard Knox Cafe
"When we first started coming to Dogpatch to check out the Minnesota Street Project while it was still under construction, we decided to try this Southern soul food place. It's such a great, down-home environment, and the food is really good. The portions are huge, so we always end up sharing something," Im says. "The sides are great," Harbour adds. "Get the macaroni and cheese or red beans and rice."
2526 3rd Street
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
"Before Minnesota Street Project opened, I'd come out to Dogpatch to visit the San Francisco Art Institute Graduate Center studios, which are right next door to this great ice cream shop on 3rd Street," Im says. "I still associate Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous with going to see a bunch of student art and then popping over for a cone. I always get something different because they constantly change their flavors, but my favorites are cookies and cream and malted milk.".
699 22nd Street
"You can't miss this cafe because there's always a crowd outside. They have really good coffee and baked goods. Recently they had an amazing cake with seasonal berries and local stone fruit from the farmers' market. On weekends, I always see people walking out with boxes of pastries—my all-time favorite is the croque monsieur," says Im.
2343 3rd Street
"Piccino is another great place to get a coffee and a pastry," Harbour says. "The cafe also serves sandwiches. The last one I got was chicken confit and pickled fennel—it was really good. Piccino also has a connected restaurant, which has great thin-crust pizza."
1001 Minnesota Street
"This place is very much a neighborhood bar—very laid-back—but it's also a beer drinker's bar. They make a really good brew that references the Old Fashioned cocktail. It's made with rye, bitters, and citrus, and it's really good," Harbour says.
1050 26th Street
"At the Workshop Residence, an artist works in tandem with artisans to create various gilts and unique products. There was an artist-designed doorstop, shoes, and Jason Polan did a Dogpatch map. Our friend Leah Rosenberg made a serving tray—her practice is all about color, but she's also a great pastry chef," Harbour says. "There's a store up front for shoppers, and also a workshop in the back where you can take classes to make your own clogs or plaster objects, for example."
833 22nd Street
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
"This is our favorite art institution in the Bay Area right now. They have ambitious exhibitions, and their show right now is one of the better shows that's been in the city for a long time," Harbour says. "It's by a Los Angeles-based artist named Laura Owens, and it kind of has to be seen to be believed. You can text the paintings and they'll text you back—there are a lot of secrets. It's epic."
360 Kansas Street