Umberto Eco,Travels in Hyperreality describing Heart Castle:
The striking aspect of the whole is not the quantity of antique pieces plundered from half of Europe, or the nonchalance with which the artificial tissue seamlessly connects fake and genuine, but rather the sense of fullness, the obsessive determination not to leave a single space that doesn’t suggest something, and hence the masterpiece of bricolage, haunted by horror vacui, that is here achieved. The insane abundance makes the place unlivable, just as it is hard to eat those dishes that many classy American restaurants, all darkness and wood paneling, dotted with soft red lights and invaded by nonstop music, offer the customer as evidence of his own situation of “affluence”: steaks four inches thick with lobster (and baked potato and sour cream and melted butter, and grilled tomato and horse radish sauce) so the customer will have “more and more” and can wish nothing further.
An incomparable collection of genuine pieces too, the Castle of Citizen Kane achieves a psychedelic effect and a kitsch result not because the Past is not distinguished from the Present (because after all this was how the great lords of the past amassed rare objects, and the same continuum of styles can be found in many Romanesque churches where the nave is now baroque and perhaps the campanile is eighteenth century), but because what offends is the voracity of the selection, and what distresses is the fear of being caught up by this jungle of venerable beauties, which unquestionably has its own wild flavor, its own pathetic sadness, barbarian grandeur, and sensual perversity, redolent of contamination, blasphemy, the Black Mass. It is like making love in a confessional with a prostitute dressed in a prelate’s liturgical robes reciting Baudelaire while ten electronic organs reproduce The Well-Tempered Clavier, played by Scriabin.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of Davis, go and visit the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum on the UC Davis campus. It celebrated its opening on November 13th, 2016 and has been the latest addition of university art museums in the SF Bay Area. The spectacular floating "Grand Canopy" - designed by the architecture firms Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and SO-IL - houses the UC Davis' unique art collection, a university that has mainly been known for its agricultural sciences and business management. With this museum the art department aims to serve both the community and the university with the focus on coming together and celebrating art while representing the belief of the philanthropists Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem: free public access to the arts.
The inaugural exhibit, Our of Our Way, is a must see. It focuses on the first 12 members of the university’s original art faculty: Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest, Roland Petersen, Manuel Neri, Ralph Johnson, Ruth Horsting, Daniel Shapiro, Tio Giambruni, Jane Garritson and John Baxter. Richard Nelson, founding member of the art department, hired these unique dynamic talents with the goal to bring a divers creative teaching spirit to UC Davis. The exhibit is both delightful and enlightening - a piece of Bay Area art history.
Out of Our Way through March 16, 2017.
Looking East at the Asian Art, Bonnard at the Legion, Oscar de La Renta at the deYoung, Ed Ruscha at the deYoung, and Frank Stella at the de Young.....
FRANK STELLA @ DE YOUNG
November 15, 2016
Frank Stella, born in 1936 Malden MA, was encouraged early to pursue his artistic vocation. He attended Princeton University and moved to New York in 1958. Considered a protagonist of geometric abstraction, he strongly opposed abstract expressionims upon arriving in the Big Apple's art world and has been driven by a desire to push the envelope of abstract painting ever since. I have not come across an artist for quite some time that has been so strongly in dialog with the history of art and the contemporary art community surrounding him. Influenced and inspired by artists as Hans Albers, Jasper Johns, Bernett Newman, Franz Cline but also by Caravaggio, Wassily Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Sonja Delaunay to name a few, he has been relentlessly searching for new color abstractions. I thoroughly enjoyed the pieces shown at the de Young retrospective. Love the way Stella plays with color perspective while juxtaposing different color strips in a deliberate, yet random pattern. You cannot help but try to find rime and reason. And his 3D paintings - an extension of his panting on canvas - never fail to capture the viewer's fascination with their unique shape, color and texture.
Through February 26, 2017.
To earn more, check out deYoung.
ED RUSCHA @ DE YOUNG
August 20, 2016
Text came out of my interest in books. I started looking at books and the pinning of books, so I learned to set type with a printer: clean presses did the dirty work early on, and it just sort of evolved. I began to look at printed words, and words, and saw them as potential for actress made with paint, I guess.
~ Ed Ruscha, 2016
Went to see Wild Wild West at the Legion and Ed Ruscha at the deYoung today. Loved both exhibits! If you get a chance, see them together.
BONNARD @ LEGION
March 19, 2016
Moi, j'observe ~ Pierre Bonnard
We will no longer separate the figure from the background of an apartment or street ~ Louis Edmond Duranty
Pierre Bonnard (1867 - 1947), painter, print maker and member of the Nabis, was already recognized as an artist at the age of 25 and produced during his 60 year career some of the most enigmatic works of art. Bonnard has not only been known for his boldness in color and iconography of intimsme but also for his amaizing rending of texture and pattern. Drawing from inspirations such as Gauguin's cloisonnism, Impressionistic landscape, Art Nouveau, James Morris'Arts & Craft Movement, Japonese ukioye woodblock prints, Rococo elegance, 17h century Dutch interiors, medieval tapestry and classical statuary, he developed a style that would stay with him throughout his oeuvre. Cubism and Surrealism for instance did not touch him. His keen skill of observing the quotidian translated over to asymmetric compositions, high angle views, a masterful capturing of shimmering sunlight, cropped framing and an implicit wit. Bonnard did not paint from life or en plain air. Instead he would sketch or photograph his objects and take notes on color. Back in his studio we would pin rolled-up canvases on the walls to work on several paintings simultaneously and thus avoid being cornered into a set size of the stretched canvas.
Bonnard's paintings are extraordinary contemplative masterpieces emitting a snap-shot like quality and a suggestive air. They are seductive invitations to look and explore beyond the first glance. Peripheral motives come gradually into focus and keep lingering on like an afterthought. The off-center composition and bird's eye view add dynamic while heightening the fact that we are secret on-lookers on a scene where gazes are turned inwards or towards a pet, a child or other person. These averted gazes are both fascinating and poetic - telling us a story about intimate moments and attachments. A wonderful compositorial connectedness is relieved in Bonnard's rhythmic use of color - tying together foreground and background, interior and exterior, horizontal and vertical, figure and fabrics. Along with a virtuous brushstroke these artworks never fail to evoke a strong sense of materiality and alluring atmosphere. In a time when artists were steering way from academically rendered illusionism in favor of the picture plane being an autonomous two-dimensional surface, Bonnard's paintings were not only revolutionary but also brilliant works of a groundbreaking color-charged, light-infused and texture-rich technique. Go and explore for yourself!
Through May, 15th 2016.
To learn more, check out Bonnard at the Legion.
LOOKING EAST @ ASIAN ART
January 23, 2016
"It is well to remember that a picture - before being a battle horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote - is essentially a plane surface covered with colors assembled in a certain way." ~ Maurice Denis, 1890
Looking East at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, is an alluring exhibit about the influence of Japanese art on the West. Forced out of a 220 year national seclusion by the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854, Japan opened its ports to international trade. With this a flow of Japanese artifacts - especially the ukiyo-e prints - made their way to the West. Regarded as mediocre to Western academic art with its focus on symmetry, one point perspective and naturalistic illusions, these captivating woodblock prints by Hokusai, Hiroshige and Kunisada were enthusiastically embraced by the French avant-garde and avidly collected by Manet, Degas, Bonnard, Toulouse Lautrec and Van Gogh amongst others. Their flatness in space rendering, asymmetric composition, unusual point of view and color schemes represented something never seen before in Europe.
The late 1800s were characterized by great changes brought on by the industrial revolution, advancement in technology, rapid growth of cities and the mixing of private and public life. The counter-culture of Western artists - following Baudelaire's call for the artist being of his own time - sought an alternative to the traditional forms of academic art by experimenting with a new artistic language to match the fast paced lifestyle of the modern swirling times. The pursuit of the autonomy of the art works - to view them on their own terms and not as a window into an illusionistic world - was reflected in a growing urge for simplification towards the abstract, a rejection of naturalistic rendering as well as photographic resemblance and an abandonment local color. These newly discovered Japanese woodblock prints depicting the fleeting moments of daily life in a uniquely dynamic and colorful way proved to be a great inspiration in this quest.
Thru February 6th, 2016.
Learn more, visit Looking East.
Chasing clouds and sunsets is one of my secret passions, hunting down wildflowers equally so. These tiny marvels come in so many different colors, shapes and sizes. Utterly fascinating!! Cannot get enough.
L: Scotch Cottonthistle - Onopordum acanthium; Composite family
C: Mountain Spiraea - Spiraea densiflora splendens; Rose family
R: Mt. Hood Pussypaws - Cistanthe umbellata; Purslane Family
L: Western Pasque Flower - Anemone (Pulsatilla) occidentalis; Ranunculus family; I prefer to call it Dr. Seuss Flower…
C: Bruneau Mariposa Lily - Calochortus bruneaunis; Lily family
R: Pearly Everlasting - Anaphalis margaritacea; Composite family
L: Tidy Tips - Layia platyglossa; Composite family
C: Yellow Tidy Tips - Lalyia glandulosa sep. lutea; Composite family
R: Sticky Cinquefoil - Potentilla glandulosa; Rose family
L: Blue Dicks - Dichelostemma capitatum; Lily family
C: Blue Bottons - Cynoglossum grande; Forget-me-not family
R: Arroyo Lupine - Lupinus succulentus; Pea family
L: Red Columbine - Aquilegia formosa; Ranunculus family
C: Giant Red Paintbrush - Castilleja miniata; Snapdragon family
R: Vollmer's Tiger Llily - Lilium pardalinum subsp. vollmeri; Lily family
L: Balsamroot - Balsamorhiza sagittata; Composite family
C: Pretty Face - Triteleia ixioides; Lily family
R: Mountain Butterweed - Packera streptanthifolia; Composite family
L: Rangers Button - Sphenosciadium capitellatum; Carrot family
C: Purple Owl's Clover - Castilleja exserta; Pea family
R: Baby Blue Eyes - Nemophila menziesii; Forget-me-not family
L: Fireweed - Chamerion angustifolium; Evening Primrose family
C: Checkermallow - Sidalcea glaucescens; Mallow family
R: Redstem Storksbill - Erodium cicutarium; Geranium family
L: Devil's Lettuce - Amsinckia tesselata; Forget-me-not family
C: Cream Cups - Platystemon californicus; Poppy family
R: Blazing Star - Mentzelia pectinata; Loasa family
L: Fremont's Phacelia - Phacelia femontii; Forget-me-not family
C: Scarlet Gilia - Ipomopsis aggregata; Phlox family
R: Wild Iris - Iris missouriensis; Iris family
- Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner & Phyllis Gustafson; Timber Press Field Guide, Portland OR.
- Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierrs and adjoining Mojave Desert by Laird R. Blackwell; Lone Pine Publishing Edmonton AB.
- Field Guide to Wildflowers, Western Region by Richard Spellenberg; National Audubon Society New York NY.
- Wildflowers of the Carrizo Plain Area by Malcolm McLeod; California Native Plant Society, San Luis Obispo CA.
Also check out Calflora, for information on wild California plants for conservation, education and appreciation.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in short SFMOMA, was founded in 1935 under director Grace L. McCann Morley and occupied for its first sixty years the top floor of the War Memorial Veterans building on Van Ness. After plans to expand the museum on its old site were stifled in the 1980s, Swiss architect Mario Botta was selected in 1988 to design the new building in collaboration with Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum. In 1995 the museum opened at its new location on 3rd Street at Howard. With its endless commitment to classical spacial principles, this building is apparently considered one of the last postmodernist buildings in the US.
Following a competition announced in 2006, the SFMOMA opened its Rooftop Garden in 2009. Designed by the award-winning SF based Jensen Architects in collaboration with Conger Moss Guillard Landscape Architecture, this genius concept - featuring two open air spaces to house the museums sculpture collection and to serve as a indoor/outdoor gallery - has been very popular among visitors. And a favorite place of mine downtown. To accommodate its both growing collection (especially the Fisher Collection) and audience, major plans to extend were announced in 2009.
2nd row: L: Bernhard Andre; C: Corinne Sotzek; R: Bernhard Andre.
3rd row: L: Bernhard Andre; C: Richard Barnes; R: Henrik Kam
July 21st, 2010...
Today Snøhetta, the gifted Norwegian firm known for the Lillehammer Museum amongst others, was selected to design the expansion. Construction will begin in June 2013. Joining the Botta museum and spanning from Minna to Howard street, the new addition will open to the public in 2016. Much to my sadness, the award-winning Rooftop Garden will most likely have to disappear. I will miss this contemplative space with its serenity and great views. Also, I have always reveled how the Botta building with its almost defensive outside posture, which never fail to surprise me with its light-filled atrium with the great staircase when stepping inside. The new addition will evade and change this space.
Check out Snøhetta.
Check out EHDD Architecture.
Check out Webcor Builders.
Check out Kreysler & Associates.
August 11th, 2015...
The Snøhetta extension being built in collaboration with EHDD Architecture and Webcor Construction, will feature several levels of indoor and outdoor gallery space. The sculptural cladding panels, produced locally by Kreysler & Associates, will be an eye-catching feature of the extended building. According to principal Craig Dykers of Snøhetta, this composite panels are inspired by the rippling water of the SF waterfront and are to reflect the temperamental maritime climate of the city. So far into the construction I have noticed that the addition has two faces. If the skies is overcast, it feels very present and heavy. If the sun is out, the facade comes alive with reflections of sunlight and its surroundings - the big cream-colored wedge tends to disappear. Interesting to observe.
I look forward to the addition; it will be an exciting place to visit - especially now that Richard Serra's Sequence moved in on today!
Snøhetta unveils new staircase for SFMOMA.
Check out the installation of Richard Serra's Sculpture Sequence.
March 2016 ... almost done
May 2nd, 2016...done!
Today, I had a great chance to go on a member preview of the new SFMOMA. It was quite overwhelming! 7 stories! And exciting! I entered through the Howard Street entrance and my first stop was Richard Serra's Sequence 2006. I always and tremendously enjoy moving in and around his undulating installations. They are labyrinths for the soul - as if time stands still for a moment! Just right to take an inspirational pause....
The first floor is open to the public, to the community. So cool! The galleries above are either accessible through elevators or stairs. Each floor thrives on the indoor/outdoor aspect culminating in a crowning sculpture terrasse on the 7th floor and offering stunning views of San Francisco. Making my way the tugged away stairs, I experience the new galleries light-filled and breathtaking featuring endless walls of art. The Fisher Collection is well represented; new acquisition abound. Some artists have their own gallery - like Alexander Calder, Agnes Martin and Gerhard Richter. And the award-wining photography department has grown even more. But then there are other aspects. Like the Oculus Bridge on the fourth floor. It feels pushed in the corner like an afterthought. It has lost its grandness just like the cantilever bridge has, which had to partially make way for the new addition. The Roof Top Garden is still there - much to my relief. However Blue Bottle Coffee got turned into a busy restaurant with tables everywhere. Gone is the contemplative atmosphere that I loved so much about it.
The new SFMOMA is an amazing space to visit - old and new are well integrated (considering the given parameters). Each of the seven floors has its own world to explore. However it feels quite overwhelming at times - like a size too big, where terrific art, fabulous food and the pulse of the City come together in a giant hub of inspiration.
Through my new job with MSK Design Build, I got the great opportunity to check out one of our vendors, Crystal Cabinetry in Princeton, Minnesota, and with this a chance to explore a rare Minnesotan gems. Took tons of pictures of the Twin cities. Here are some highlights - mainly of Minneapolis.
SFO to MNP
Evening Stroll, Downtown Minneapolis ...
Staying the Foshay Tower by Magney and Tusler (1929) turned out to be great location. Love the closeness to everything - especially to my favorite building, the ING 20 Washington by Minoru Yamasaki and Associates (1965).
The Central Riverfront:
Backstage tour at the beautiful Guthrie Theatre by Jean Nouvel (2006) with its midnight blue skin and stunning views. A walk on the spectacular Stone Arch Bridge by Charles C. Smith (1883). And a visit at the fascinating Mill City Museum - Adolph Fischer and William Barre (1880), rebuilt after the fire (1928), interior destroyed by fire (1991; renovation and new construction by MS&R Architects (2003).
University, Nicollet Island
A walk along the Mississippi river to the coolest campus ever! Visit at the Fredrick Weisman Art Museum by Frank Gehry (1993), then a tour at the absolutely stunning Walter Library by Clarence H. Johnston (1925) and the fantastic Mcnamara Alumni Center by Antoine Predock (2000).
The Walker Art Center, Lowry Hill
Another highlight: The Walker Art by Herzog deMeuron (2005) - a great space to enjoy art! Original by Edward Larrabee Barnes (1971); sculpture garden by Edward Larrabee Barnes (1988) and Designee-Dalnoky (2007). Too bad the sculpture garden was closed for renovation.
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Whittier-Lyndale
Another fabulous place to enjoy art - tons of it from antiquity to modernity!
McKim Mead and White (1915), Hewitt and Brown (1916), Kenzo Tange (1974), and Michale Graves (2006).
Christ Lutheran Church, Longfellow
Also went to see an early modernist masterpiece: Christ Lutheran Church designed by Eliel Saarinen (1949) with an education wing designed by Eero Saarinen (1962). Love how the four walls aren't parallel, the ceiling slants towards the undulating north wall and above all how the light pours in from a concealed south window. Beautiful materials, too.
And finally Crystal Cabinets, Princeton
Our stay at Crystal was fabulous with everyone being super nice and so generous with their time. It was great to meet everyone and to tour the factory. I was amazed how much is still made by hand. Much attention to detail! And much pride in their work! A very inspiring place to be and to work with!!
The New BMA/PFA
"It is about reframing the world around us." ~ Charles Renfro, 2016
On January 27th, 2016 I was invited to a lecture by Charles Renfro, partner with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the New York based interdisciplinary design studio that designed the new Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archives. How inspirational to hear Charles Renfro talk about the design of the BAM/PFA in context of other DS+R projects. And to learn about their design philosophy! To play with our senses as well as to manipulate our standards of perception through space that is what they are after. Hyperception was the term Charles Renfro used. For DS+R a museum should be more than a closed box to contemplate art. A museum should be a vehicle for the act of viewing itself. It’s about perceiving art, the space its in, the neighborhood and the community it inspires - perceiving with it the world around us. With this in mind, the new BAM/PFA was designed as a museum that offers visitors a continuous flow of the space celebrating the experience of art, food and movies all at the same time. The museum functions as a hub of cultural activities and stands for more than just a one path experience to contemplate art. Especially through the movie screen programming out on the street, the museum engages with the City of Berkeley like never before.
The new BAM/PFA, which opened on January 31st, 2016, is located on the corner of Center and Oxford Street at the foot of the University of Berkeley Campus. At first glance the building captivates with its asymmetry of old versus new, a white box perforated with windows versus a structure clad in panels of shimmering metal. Asymmetric as it may appear, the complex comes across grounded. While both preserving its industrial feel and giving it a new identity as an art museum, the 1939 Art-Deco Cal Press Building was refreshed and brought back to life with a great attention to detail. The extension - the new home for the movie theater and the archives - is located on Addison Street. Where the two buildings meet, the steel clad structure lifts its veil as if to let us have a peak inside (and outside) - reminding me of The Broad in LA. Above, the cantilevered cafeteria projects through and goes passed the Art-Deco building marking with its hang-over the museum’s entrance on Center Street. The light-filled interior greets you with a dynamic, soaring openness inspiring both curiosity and wonder. Wherever you are, you can see the galleries, the Craven forum, the cafeteria Babette, the theater, the library and archives. The presence of both buildings is felt - as are the Berkeley arts' district and the campus across the street. The materials and colors used are simple and beautiful - I really dig the orange staircase connecting the different levels. It feels like both floating in a big void and experiencing see-through moments simultaneously. It is about getting lost in a play of wonderful moments! Go, check it out yourself!
Bidding Adieu to an Icon
Today on December 22nd, 2014 the BAM/PFA as we know it, closed its doors forever. Located on Durant Street in Berkeley, the museum was designed by Mario J. Ciampi (1907-2006), whose other works include St. Peter's Church in Pacifica, and built in 1970. In 1997 it was deemed seismically unsafe. The museum has always held lots of inspiration for visitors, students and artists alike. I love this Brutalist building with its striking core, its ramps and overhangs. It never ceases to surprise me how the ramps gently lead you up to the galleries and back to the center again.
The Farewell Ravel on this final day was both spectacular and bitter-sweet. It is sad to see it go. However, I do so only with one eye crying... The other eye is full of enthusiasm for the new museum to come. Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DSR), the new BAM/PFA will open to the public in 2016. The design includes the retrofit and extension of the former University of California Press, a 1939 Art Deco building, located in Berkeley's art district. I cannot wait for its doors to open. Being a big fan of DS+R, an interdisciplinary design studio based in New York City, I have always admired their work! Notable projects are the High Line New York, the ICA Boston and the Blur at the Expo.02 Yverdon les Bains amongst others.
Three exhibits mark the beginning of the end of the soon to be closing Berkeley Art Museum on Durant Ave.
American Wonder draws upon the BAM/PFA collection, apparently one of the finest of American folk art in California. Predominantly made by itinerant artists, these works reflect the years between 1776 and 1861 while capturing the lives of Colonial settlers and their aspirations during a time of enormous change. I enjoyed exploring a world that seems so far away, yet is still so close. Some of the dresses and the detailing were quite surprising.
Matrix 255 is John Zurier's first solo show in a museum. Born in 1956, he graduated from UC Berkeley in 1984. Inspired by Iceland where he has been traveling since 2011, Zurier applied - as a new element - tactile materials such as jute or coarse linen onto the frame. With a remarkable technique, he excels in merging line and mass, translucency and opacity to fix even the most subtle of textures onto canvas. These abstractions evoke nature's elements such as earth, grass, ice, water, fog and light. They may speak to us on many levels, however I think they also strike a very contemplative note. My eyes constantly wanted to scan the picture plane appreciating the various levels of subtle tactility.
Hofmann by Hofmann is a fitting tribute to an excellent artist, brilliant teacher and generous donor, who was renowned not only in his native Germany but also later in the US. Hans Hofmann (1880 - 1966) came to teach at UC Berkeley in 1930 inspiring generations to come. He later moved on to New York. These paintings - being part of Hofmann's generous gift to the then burgeoning University art museums - are a fine representation of Hofmann's push/pull spacial theory and his thoughts on color as plastic medium. I have always enjoyed his paintings. They speak of enormous vitality, you cannot help but getting pulled in.
To learn more, visit BAM/PFA.
Through December 22, 2014.
The Anderson Collection at the Standford University is always a treat and especially during the holidays. The gallery was designed by the world-renowned architects Ennead and completed in September 2014. Though blocky and heavy as it may appear at first sight, the building draws you right in with its light-filled and open interior. It houses one of the finest private collections in the South Bay featuring 86 artists and 121 modern and contemporary American paintings and sculptures. The Andersons, after a visit to Europe, began collecting in the 1960s and keep doing so to this very day.
Vitra is a Swiss family-owned furniture company founded by Willi and Erika Fehlbaum. After WWII they moved the production facilities of their small furniture shop located in Biersfelden, Switzerland, to Weil am Rhein, Germany, and named their company Vitra. On his US trip in 1953, Willi Fehlbaum discovered the designs of Charles & Ray Eames. Subsequently, he acquired the production licenses through Herman Miller not only for Eames but also for George Nelson. In 1967 the Panton chair by Verner Panton was launched, the first cantilever chair made out of plastic. In 1977 son Rolf Fehlbaum took over and in 1984 the partnership with Herman Miller was terminated - without loosing the rights to designs by Charles & Ray Eames and George Nelson for Europe and the Middle East. Today, Vitra produces furniture for homes, offices and public areas. Their home collection includes not only classics by Charles & Ray Eames, Verner Panton and Alexander Girard but also pieces by designers such as Antonio Citterio, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and Hella Jongerius to name just a few.
The Vitra Campus is always worth a day visit. At the VitraHaus, designed by Herzog & deMeuron, you get a chance to stroll around, explore your love for design and place an order for any design piece your heart desires. The Frank Gehry's Vitra Design Museum consistently features exquisite exhibits on the works by important designers such as Alvaro Aalto, Gerrit Rietveld, Charles & Ray Eames. And there is also a two-hour architectural tour (both in German and English), which gives you a closer look at the production facilities designed by a group of the most notable architects of today.
Vitra Campus Architecture
The architectural campus features following buildings:
Petrol Station, Jean Prouvé, ca. 1953/2003
Airstream Kiosk, 1968/2011
Dome, Richard Buckminster Fuller, 1978/2000
Factory Buildings, Nicholas Grimshaw, 1981/1986
Balancing Tools, Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, 1984
Vitra Design Museum Gallery and Gate, Frank Gehry, 1989
Vitra Design Museum, Frank Gehry, 1989
Factory Building, Frank Gehry, 1989
Fire Station, Zaha Hadid, 1993
Conference Pavilion, Tadao Ando, 1993
Factory Building, Álvaro Siza, 1994
Bus Stop, Jasper Morrison, 2006
VitraHaus, Herzog & de Meuron, 2010
Diogene, Renzo Piano, 2013
Promenade, Álvaro Siza 2014
Vitra Slide Tower, Carsten Höller, 2014
My trip to Switzerland this year took me again beyond Zurich as well as the Swiss border not only to visit with family as well as friends but also to enjoy fabulous art and architecture ...
~ EUROPE BOUND over the East Bay and via Pfannenstiel ~
~ ZURICH in winter ~
Sunny but cold skies over old town and my Alma Mater.
~ ZURICH by night ~
Especially beautiful around the Holidays. The town is always looking so festive decked out with tons of Christmas lights.
~ ZURICH: University ~
Library at the Law Research Center, Santiago Calatrava 2004
~ ZURICH: Kunsthaus ~
Juan Miró Wall, Frieze, Mural - a fantastic exhibit on Juan Miró (1893-1983), a prolific artsit, whose oeuvre radiates an irresistible immediacy and material quality.
~ ZURICH: Museum Haus Konstruktiv ~
(Un)Ordnung. (Dés)Ordre was put together in honor of Vera Molnár's nineties birthday. Born in 1924 in Budapest, she has lived in Paris since 1960 and is considered one of the ground-breaking pioneers of computer and algorithmic arts. A delightful exhibit!
Learn more, check out Vera Molnar.
~ BERN: The Museum of Fine Arts ~
Toulouse-Lautrec and Photography is a comprehensive exhibit on Toulouse-Lautrec, which pulls you right into his world of fin-de-siècle Paris and his fascination with photography. While I enjoyed viewing his lithographies, I was very fascinated by his oil paintings and especially his drawings!
The second exhibit Embracing Sensation featured artist couple Silvia Gertsch (1963*) and Xerxes Ach (1957*). Each artist has their own artistic language regarding style, technique and materials. Gertsch's stained glass paintings are truly magnificent in technique and the way how they capture the sunlight - bestowing to them an almost spiritual glow. Whereas Ach's painting have a fascinating textural quality about them radiating off shades of beautifully rich and deep colors.
~ RIEHEN: Beyeler Foundation ~
A visit to the Beyeler Foudation is always a must. Designed by Renzo Piano, the museum was built from 1992 to 1997 and is situated in the park of the 18th century Villa Berower. Piano succeeded in immersing the building in the surrounding greenery while having it entirely lit by natural light.
In 1915/16 The Last Futurist Exhibition on Painting should prove to be one of the most influential exhibits in the history of modern art. It was here that Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) exhibit his Black Square. With In Search of 0,10 the Beyeler Foundation accomplished to put together yet again a brilliant exhibition, which is orchestrated into two parts: While 0,10 features most of the surviving works of the original show, Black Sun juxtaposes them with paintings, sculptures, installations and film of artists inspired as well as influenced by Malevich - such as Alexander Calder, Olafur Eliasson, Wassily Kandinsky, Yves Klein, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra and many more. Loved it!
~ WEIL AM RHEIN: Vitra Design Museum ~
While in Basel, a quick drive to the Vitra Design is worth the detour!
Please also check out my blog on the Vitra Design Museum (December 13th, 2015) featuring more pictures of the campus and the Vitra Haus.
~ BASEL: Basler Minster ~
Landmark of the city of Basel, the minster was built in red sandstone between 1019 and 1500 in Romanesque and Gothic styles. The so-called Galluspforte is one of the oldest Romanesque Tympana in the German hemisphere and dates back to 1185.
~ ULM: Ulm Minster ~
The minster is the tallest church in the world, with a steeple measuring 161 meter. We climbed all the 768 steps of the spiraling staircase to the top to enjoy the magnificent view of view Baden-Wurttemberg and Neu-Ulm Bavaria. The foundation stone was laid in 1377 and construction lasted; but is was not until 1890 that the building was completed. The church consists of five naves, the main with a height of 41 meter being almost three times high as it is wide. The stained glass windows are stunning, and so are the wood sculptures of the choir seating.
~ ULM: Die Malweiber von Paris at the Edwin Scharff Museum ~
A inspiring exhibition about German women artists of the early 1900s, who had the fortune to study art in Paris, at a time when it was considered indecent for a woman to develop artistic ambitions in Germany. Maria Slavonia (1865-1931) especially caught, especially her two self-portraits from 1887 and 1910 respectively (center: Houses at Montmartre 1900, oil on carton detail).
~ VASMEGYE ~
A visit to Hungary is always a treat. This time my travels took me to my relatives on the Western border, where I got treated like royalty, was served heaps of delicious food and shlepped all over the region: Meszlen, Szombathely downtown and art museum, Köszeg downtown and Sacred Heart Church, Novákfalva in Velem.... Köszönom szépen a kedves vendéglátast!
~ HOMEWARD BOUND over the Canadian Rockies to the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area ~
The wine country not only offers fabulous wine and delicious food for you to enjoy, but also notable art collections. Here are some must-see art galleries...
The Hess Collection, Napa CA
The Hess Art Museum, designed by Swiss architect Beat A. H. Jordi and built in 1989 in collaboration with Richard Macrae Architects, is one of my favorite places in the wine country to visit. The galleries house one of the finest pieces of contemporary art in Napa Valley. The amazing collection not only reflects Donald M. Hess' personal passion but also the dialogue with the artists he has built over the years. Immerse yourself and explore the worlds of Magdalena Abakanowicz, Georg Baselitz, Franz Gertsch, Rolf Iseli, Per Kirkeby, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter and many others. There are quite a few pieces that are dear to my heart, Markus Raetz's Metamorphose, 1991 being one of them. Do not miss it on your way out.
To learn more visit Hess Collection.
Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma CA
Cornerstone Gardens are a unique concept of gallery style gardens featuring innovative designs from the finest landscape architects and designer from all over the world. This site is another favorite of mine. For one both the works of art and the installations are splendid. Second the natural setting is beautiful, especially in winter. And last but not least, since the gardens keep changing with the seasons, they always offer something new to explore.
Free and open to the public seven days a week.
To learn more visit Cornerstone Gardens Designer.
Mumm Napa Winery has one of the finest photography galleries in the wine country. In the main gallery they usually feature temporary exhibits paired with their amazing private collection of superb Ansel Adams photographs - the biggest outside Yosemite National Park.
To learn more, visit Mumm.
Di Rosa, Napa CA
Di Rosa is a non-profit art gallery featuring a broad range of contemporary San Francisco Bay Area art. The collection embodies the shared vision of Rene and Veronica di Rosa and consists of over 2,000 works by more then 800 artists. The Gatehouse gallery features current exhibits and is open on a drop-in basis. To visit the permanent collection, which is on view in the Main Gallery, historic residence and throughout the gardens, guided tours are available. Reservations are highly recommended.
To learn more visit diRosa Collection.
Paradise Ridge, Santa Rosa CA
Off the beaten path, Paradise Ridge Winery offers not only amazing views of Sonoma County but also a splendid sculpture garden. This inspiring exhibit site at home in the four-acre Marijke's Grove shows off the Byck family's passion for sculpture and invites everyone to embark on an explorational stroll. The art works by sculptors based locally and nationally are free to the public seven days a week. Their up-coming exhibit 20@20 will celebrate Paradise Ridge's 20th anniversary featuring 20 works of art installed throughout the winery.
Free and open to the public seven days a week.
To learn more visit Paradise Ridge Winery.
Stonescape, Calistoga CA
Norman and Norah Stone purchased the Stonescape property in 1991 and over years transformed it into a place for the enjoyment of art as well as the contemplation of nature. The site is both an art collaboration of multiple talents and an unconventional project whose catalyst was a sky space by James Turrell.
Tom Leader, Berkeley based landscape architect, designed the landscape of the property including a so called "land bridge" emerging from a forested hillside and a lavender garden. San Francisco based architect Jim Jennings was commissioned for the entertainment pavilion as well as the infinity edge pool working closely with James Turrell to realize the artist's vision. Stone Sky, 2005 is the culminating element of the pool and can only be entered by swimming underwater. Aligned with these components is the entrance to the Art Cave, the work of New York based architects Bade Stageberg Cox, a rare cavernous exhibition building and home for the Stone art collection.
Stonescape is quite unique is its overall design and art collection especially the Stone Sky by James Turrell, whose installations never cease to amaze me. If you get a chance, go to the LACMA in Los Angeles and check out James Turrell's Ganzfeld. It will transform your senses and perception of the natural world.
To learn more, visit Stonescape.
To learn more about James Turrell, click here.
Please note: while the SFMOMA was fortunate enough to arrange a tour for members a few years back, they no longer have an on-going relationship with Stonescape in that capacity.
Maryhill, Goldendale WA
If you happen to be on the Oregon / Washington border driving east towards the Walla Walla wine country, make sure to stop by at the Maryhill Museum of Art on the Columbia River. This cultural resource offers insights into local history, current exhibitions and stunning views of the area. Originally design as a residence by Washington, D.C. architects Hornblower & Marshall for Maryhill Museum's founder Sam Hill (1857-1931), the mansion's destiny was altered in 1917 before it was completed. Hill determined that the mansion should become a museum.
First Look at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is an exhilarating exhibit showcasing recent acquisitions to their growing contemporary art collection. These exciting explorations into various techniques, mediums and materials - pencil, oil, acrylic, ink, lacquer, paper, fabric, wood block, rattan, bamboo, metal, assemblage, photography, digital animation - radiate reflections on nature, urbanism, society, cultural history while mirroring dialogues with both Eastern as well as Western traditions.
Artists such as RongRong&irni, Pinaree Sanpitak, teamLab, Zhu Jinshi, teamLab, Zheng Chongbin, Yang Yongliang, Sopheap Pich and Chen Man among others are represented with eye-catching pieces that speak to the viewer with their mesmerizing technique and individual themes - engaging us on many levels. It is fascinating to trace how ink meets acrylic in Zheng Chongbin's creation or the contemplative nature of teamLab's animations! Chen Man's photographs are stunning. And Zhu Jinshi's thick sensual use of paint echoes a hint of Turner's groundbreaking technique of brushwork in a radically expressive way.
A must-see exhibit featuring works of art one cannot help but keep going back to!
October 11th, 2015
To learn more, see press release.
"Every glance is a glance for study, contemplating and defining qualities and causes, effects and incidents, and develops by practice the possibility of attaining what appears mysterious upon principle." - JMW Turner, 1809
James Mallord William Turner (1775 - 1851) was one of the greatest and most controversial painters of the Romantic era. He was born in 1775 London during the Industrial Revolution and the dawn of the French Revolution. As a landscape pioneer, Turner overshadowed the British landscape painting during the first half of the 19th century - a period of great change not just socially, politically and technologically but also culturally and artistically. Renowned for his oil paintings, watercolors, engravings and book illustrations, he would inspire generations to come.
Turner's success was immediate. Upon his father's encouragement to pursue his talents, he entered the Royal Academy of Arts in 1789 at the age of 14. In 1796 he exhibited his first oil painting from where his career took off. In 1802 he was elected to full academician status. Two years later he opened his own picture gallery to showcase his work; and in 1822 a second. His many admirers and collectors - among them a new generation of rich, private patrons - embraced his works not only for their audacity in form and style but also for their celebration of nature and choice of contemporary subject matter.
Turner was a passionate itinerant throughout his life. Prosperous by 1800, he was able to travel freely and independently. The outbreak of the war with France in 1793 made traveling through Europe unsafe, so Turner limited his voyages to Britain. En route he would always take notes and make pencil studies in a pocket-sized sketchbook; these visual records would serve him as aides-mémoires for his oil paintings and watercolors back at his studio. Academically trained, he did not paint from motif in oil nor watercolor en plein-air. Instead he focused on training his visual memory in such a way that color sketches deemed unnecessary to him.
The Peace of Amiens in 1802, allowed him to travel abroad. His first tour took him to Paris and Switzerland and proved to be extremely inspirational. First, it reenforced his endless fascination with the sea in relations to the sky. Second, the Musée de Louvre offered him a unique chance to study the old masters - Claude Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin, Salomon Ruysdael in particular. It also sparked in him the idea of opening his own gallery. Third, the Swiss alps with their heroic grandeur left an enduring impact on his conception of landscape painting.
1803 marked the beginning of the Napoleonic wars and it was not until 1817 that Turner was able to pursue his continental travels. In 1819 he made his first trip to Italy, where he fell in love with the mediterranean (sun) light in general and Venice in particular. For the next few decades his continental travels would take him to Luxembourg, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria; he would return to France, Italy and Switzerland several times. After his final tour to France and a long, creative life, Turner’s health began to deteriorate in 1845. He died in 1851; he was 76.
JMW Turner left behind a unrivaled volume of breath-taking works in regards to not only an immense diversity of subject matter but also a dazzling evolution of technique - a sixty year transition from topographically exact renderings to creations of visual audacity. It is a prolific outpour of his creative genius and limitless imagination - 540 oil paintings, 1,600 watercolors, 150 literary vignettes, and 19,300 sketches.
One of Turner's biggest legacies is how he accomplished to dislodge history painting from its privileged, highest rank within the academic genre hierarchy by challenging long-held beliefs such as landscape painting should solely be regarded as a record of a given location. By producing highly creative responses to contemporary life and showing how strong of a potential for imagination in both execution and contemplation landscape painting was capable to possess and evoke, he elevated this low genre to new heights. He was endlessly fascinated by the authenticity of a personal experience, the vulnerability of men vs elements and by nature's force.
Most importantly, Turner's oeuvre is a visual testimony of his fascination with atmosphere, light and color - he rendered atmospheric perspective in such a fluid and breathtaking. It is also a testimony to his compulsive exploration to break down conventional forms of representation while relentlessly searching for a new language of stylistic application. His water colors are superb and stand in a fascinating contrast to his oil paintings: they have an abstract, if not modern feel about them. Late in his work, both techniques - watercolor and oil painting - seemed to converge. Light effects were the primary focus with some details almost indiscernible.
By retracing Turner’s supreme artistic technique over the picture plane - the painterly yet rough brushwork, the vibrant colors, the magical rending of the atmosphere - the canvas suddenly becomes alive. It is no longer a glossy, smooth surface, nor merely a structured window to on the world with a moral message trying to appeal to our intellect and reason. His luminous works try to reach us on an emotional level - much in the spirit of the romantic era. With their seemingly out-of-balance, fluid compositions they pull us right in and this with an invitation to experience Turner’s persona coming through, his emotions, his thoughts, his personal experience.
By appealing to our senses with a turbulence of big waves, dark clouds, heavy rain, gleaming sun rays, blazing flames, Turner’s creations cannot but evoke intense feelings such awe, drama, terror, horror, suffering and grief. And in this moment - when our gaze is turned to the surface of the painting - we happen to witness the truest form of the aesthetic and artistic intend: the manifestation of the creative journey, the thoughts and emotions involved - through which personal experience turns into art.
What his critics decried as shockingly radical - the dazzling, sometime expressive use of color, the atmospheric light effects, the indistinct if not abstract blotches of shapes, the thick sensual paint application, the contemporary subject matter and the non-representational tendencies - are now seen as heralds of modernism.
Sam Smiles, JMW Turner, Tate Publishings, 2000