Filtering by Category: art
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.
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!!
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
Seeing Time at the KALA Art Institute, 2nd Hand at Pier 24, Fertile Ground at the OMCA, Toulouse Lautrec at the Crocker, Botticelli to Braque at the de Young....
BOTTICELLI TO BRAQUE @ DEYOUNG
May 30, 2015
If you'd like to get inspired and view masterpieces spanning from a period of over 450 years, then you are in for a treat at the de Young Museum, San Francisco. Botticelli to Braque features some fifty plus masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland with the majority being true gems to revel in forever: the exhibit includes religious and mythological paintings, landscapes, portraits and still lifes.
I fell with love with John Singer Sargent's Lady Agnew of Lochaw (1892), her striking yet delicate pose and the masterful rendering of her silky dress. Then the detailing Allen Ramsay did on Margaret Lindsay of Ewlick, Mrs. Allan Ramsay (ca. 1759) is exquisite. I caught myself wanting to caress the lace of her satin dress and steal the roses off the painting. Just has I wanted to snatch the strawberries off Sandro Botticelli's The Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child (ca. 1485).
Camille Pissarro's Chennevières-sur-Marne (ca. 1865) is equally fascinating with its capturing of the hilly, riverside landscape of this Parisian commune, as is River Landscape with a View of a Distant Village (ca.1750) by Thomas Gainsborough. Or André Derain's Collioure (1905) and Pierre Bonnard's Lane At Vernonnet (ca. 1914), both are absolutely captivating in their color scheme depicting the vibrancy of Southern Europe. Eduard Vuillard's The Candlestick (ca. 1900) is superb in its unique viewpoint, composition and rending of the different textures. And not to mention Reverend Robert Walker, Skating on Duddingston Loch (ca.1795) by Sir Henry Raeburn, which is as simply as it is brilliant in captivating the reverend enjoying his favorite sport.
But there is also Frans Hals, Paolo Veronese, Gerrit Dou, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Edouard Vuillard, Paul Cézanne, Piet Mondrian…..So much to say, however this should suffice. Go and see for yourself!
Learn more, visit Botticelli to Braque.
Through May 31, 2015.
TOULOUSE-LAUTREC @ CROCKER
March 30, 2015
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) has always been a favorite artist of mine. He has been an inspiration not only for his masterful depiction of the colorful Parisian nightlife of theaters, cafe-concerts and the demimondes of the Belle Epoque but also for his huge contribution to the renaissance of the art of lithography. With his elegant yet exciting creations he immortalized formidable artists such as Yvette Guilbert, La Goulue, Jane Avril, Marcelle Lender, Aristide Bruant and Valentin Désossé.
This traveling exhibition at the Crocker was drawn from Dutch private collections featuring lithographs, paintings, drawings, book illustrations and rare zinc show puppets by more than 50 artists. Classic lithographs by Toulouse Lautrec are juxtaposed with works by other well known avant-garde artists such as Pierre Bonnard and Juan Gris documenting modern life around them. While I enjoyed immersing myself into this colorful ambience - with Louis Abel-Truchet's Le Café-Concert, József Rippl-Rónai's Portraitand Henri Gabriel Ibles' Mère Moderne being especially eye-catching - I also found myself wanting to see more of Toulouse-Lautrec and his vast oeuvre. It felt as if they were trying too hard to re-create the vibrant fin-de-siècle atmosphere of Paris by including all these different artists and subsequently neglecting Toulouse-Lautrec and the art of lithography a bit too much for my taste. Nevertheless, the exhibit is very much worth seeing!
As a side note, the Crocker museum is one of the oldest museums on the West Coast. Created as trust for the public by Margaret Crocker in honor of her shared vision with her late husband Edwin B. Crocker, the E.B. Crocker Art Gallery was built in 1871. It opened to the public in 1890. The museum's collection focuses on Californian and American as well as European Art. In 2010 - after an extensive eight year expansion designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates - the museum reopened with triple of its former exhibition space.
Trough April 26, 2015
FERTILE GROUND @ OMCA
January 30, 2015
Combining their collections for the first time, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) have imaginatively created a remarkable exhibition addressing local histories and social forces that impacted the arts in California. Featuring a vast array of art works by legendary artists such as Diego Rivera, Imogen Cunningham, Mark Rothko, Jay DeFeo. Richard Diebenkorn and many more, Fertile Ground not only illuminates key moments in Californian art as well as social history but also highlights trends happening from the first half of the 20th century up to today.
Learning more about San Francisco in the 1930s, made me want to go and see the murals at Coit Tower again. I also thought that the selected works representing GROUP f.64 were true gems: Water Hyacinth (1920s) by Imogen Cunningham and Dunes, Ocean (1934) by Edward Weston in particular. The main gallery fabulously chronicles the different movements and influences of the postwar area showcasing classics such as Untitled (1953) by James Weeks, Figure on a Porch (1959) by richard Diebenkorn and Horse (1982) by Deborah Butterfield. Barry McGee's Untitled (1996/2009/2014) marks the crowning end point to an excellent exhibition about visionaries and artist communities that have been crucial in shaping the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, California and beyond. A must see!
Through April 12, 2015.
2ND HAND @ PIER 24
January 20, 2015
The photographs presented in this comprehensive show at the Pier 24 in San Fransicso focus on found and reused imagery while resonating with today's digital age of sharing images. Through a simple change of context, existing pictures suddenly appear in a new light and are given new meaning. Works by Erik Kessels, Matt Lipps, Joachim Schmid and others are examined and brilliantly paired with vernacular photographs by pioneering artists such as John Baldessari.
I very much enjoyed Matt Lipps' Horizons and Maurizio Anzeri's Embroidered Postcards. Erik Kessels' 24 HRS in photos installation was quite overwhelming, and left me with a feeling of drowning. I think my favorite were Joachim Schmid's Photogenetic Drafts, a witty series of B&W portraits created with found photographs. And last but not least, the Employee Badges (1930 - 1960) were absolutely fascinating. Do not miss them as you start your visit.
Through May 31, 2015.
SEEING TIME @ KALA
January 16, 2015
Celebrating 40 years of inspiration and creativity, Seeing Time - Time Traveller closes Berkeley Kala Art Institute's 40th anniversary year. This special exhibit, curated by Mayumi Hamanaka, revisits Kala's Seeing Time program (installations and performances throughout the Bay Area 1982-1992) featuring Kala fellowship alumni Freddy Chandra, Desirée Holman, Ranu Mukherjee, and Yasuaki Onishi. Their works explore the fleeting aspect of time ranging from astrology, nature, culture, light, and life.
The various contributions are as diverse in regards to style, technique, medium and hand writing as the artists themselves. Ranu Mukherjee Desert Bloom (2013) is as big as it is fascinating addressing many layers and questions. Xeno-Real (2013), a hybrid film just on the wall next to the entrance sheds light on how it was created. My favorite was Vertical Emptiness KL (2015) by Yasuaki Onishi, which take up the entire left back area of the exhibit space. It is especially striking in its unique form and beauty. It is probably the most ephemeral piece in the exhibit. It will get destroyed - as other works by the artist - once the exhibit closes.
In addition there also works on paper from the Kala Collection on view in the Roger Smullen Print & Media Center.
Through March 21, 2015.
This museum has just made it to my top ten list of favorite things. I love everything about it: the stunning building along with its beautiful sculpture garden and exquisite art collection. The museum was designed by Ladd & Kelsey and opened in 1969. In 1998-99 the museum was renovated by Frank Gehry along with Greg Walsh and landscape architect Nancy Goslee.
It is so enjoyable walking around this wonderful building featuring Heath ceramic tile cladding and rounded corners. I caught myself thinking of Richard Serra's Band (2006) by doing so. It meanders through the property spreading its four arms and revealing a delightful sculpture garden and café in the rear. The sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Jacques Lipshitz, Aristide Maillol, Auguste Rodin and many others seem thoughtfully chosen and displayed around the pond and amongst the colorful shrubs. The Café invites you take and seat and revel in the peacefulness of the garden.
When entering the museum and walking through the galleries, I noticed once again how thoughtfully the sculptures were displayed. The collection of Degas sculptures is remarkable. However it was the collection of paintings that has left me stunned. Featuring works by outstanding artists from the 14th through the 20th century, the collection has many a highlight to enjoy. The three paintings by Zurbarán, especially The Birth of the Virgin (ca.1627), are magnificent. And so are the two small works by Edgar Degas, Olive trees agains and mountain background and Wheat Field and Green Hill (both ca. 1892). I am also in love with Still life with Flower (1887) by Emile Bernard. And there is Vassily Kandisky's Unequal (1932). I could go on and on and on…. best to go and see it yourself.
While in Pasadena, make sure to check these out…
Top left: The Gamble House by Charles & Henry Greene 1908; 4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena; Reservations highly recommended.
Top center: The Cole House by Charles & Henry Greene 1906; 2 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena
Top right: Mansion Fenyes by Robert Farquhar 1906; 170 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena; to visit, check out Pasadena Museum of History
Bottom left: The Bentz House by Charles & Henry Greene: 657 Prospect Blvd, Pasadena
Bottom center: The Millard House by Frank Lloyd Wright 1923; 645 Prospect Blvd, Pasadena
Bottom right: The Millard House by Frank Lloyd Wright 1923; 645 Prospect Blvd, Pasadena
Talking museums….. here is a list of my favorite ones in LA:
The J. Getty Center for the Arts
- located on 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles CA 90049
- architect: Richard Meier (1992-97)
- highlights: pavilion, garden, patio system; extensive painting, manuscript photo collection
- visit The Getty.
- located on 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036
- architects: Pereira & Associates (1964), Hardy, Holzman and Pfeiffer (1982-83)
- highlights: largest museum of the western states; huge collection
- do not miss James Turell's Ganzfeld in the Resnick Pavilion (make reservations @ iPad kiosk)
- visit LACMA.
A + D Museum
- located on 6032 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036
- will relocate to the Arts District and is expected to open in spring/summer 2015
- highlights: continuous exhibits on architecture and design
- visit A + D.
- located on 250 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles CA 90012
- architect: Arata Isozaki (1983-87)
- highlights: European and Amercian contemporary art
- visit MOCA.
- located on 221 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles CA 90012
- architects: Diller, Scofidio + Renfro
- highlights: contemporary art collection of philanthropists Eli & Edythe Broad
- to open September 20th, 2015
- visit The Broad.
- to learn more, check out Mega Patron.
Built as part of John Entenza's Case Study House Program, the Eames Studio House (#8) is one of America's great 20th century houses. Charles and Ray Eames purchased the lot in 1945 shortly after they had moved to California. Initially designed jointly by Charles Eames and Eerio Saarinen, the original plans of a cantilever were changed during the construction phase (1947-49) to accomodate the current lay-out. The final design consists of two metal-framed double-height boxes - one pavilion used as residence, one as studio. Set against a eucalyptus-covered hillside, the Eames House overlooks a beautiful meadow with a magnificent view of the pacific ocean.
We got lucky enough to enjoy an outstanding private interior tour, which was didactically very well thought out. For almost three hours we immersed ourselves into the world of Charles and Ray Eames. The open, maximized space of the interior was very impressive and their collection of memorabilia astounding. Apparently the house has not been altered over the years; kitchen and furniture - all is still original. We left with a fulfilled and inspired heart taking with us one of Charles Eames fitting quotes: "We take our pleasures seriously" .
Aa a side note: driving along Chautauqua Blvd, you will notice a Brutalist cliff hanger. In case you are curious, it was built in 1979 by Robert Bridges….
Today, I ventured out to Alcatraz, located in the San Francisco Bay, for the first time in my life and the reason was Ai Weiwei, a political activist and vocal critic of the Chinese government. Consisting of seven site-specific installations, @large was created exclusively for Alcatraz and poignantly raises questions about human rights, freedom of expression and liberty. By addressing the fate of people around the world, who have been deprived of their individual rights for something they believe in, this exhibit touches you at the core.
Greeting visitors is With Wind, a breath-taking dragon kite meandering through the entire first exhibition hall showing off not only its colorful coat but also many quotes by activists, who have been imprisoned. Trace consisting of 176 portraits entirely made of Lego is striking and especially touching through the corresponding stories each of them has to tell. Featuring a magnificent larger than life bird's wing, Refraction can only be viewed through cracked and rusty windows and left me wanting more. I thought it added a potent edge to the feeling of restriction. Stay Tuned, a sound installation occupying a series of cell, invites visitors to sit and listen to music, poetry and spoken words of activists, who have been detained. Again, I thought it was heartrending just as Illumination, which occupies the former hospital and pays respect to people who have resisted cultural oppression. @large is as stunning as it is poignant. An absolutely must-see. I left very inspired however also with a heavy heart.
Through April 26, 2015.
To learn more visit Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz.
Or listen to How Alcatraz Became a Canvas for Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei: Forum Archive 10/22/14.
Have passport, will travel: where will Ai Weiwei go?
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) opened in 1969. Designed by architect Kevin Roche in collaboration with Dan Kiley (landscape design) and Geraldine Knight Scott (gardens), this concrete building with its pavilion system and its integration of outdoor/indoor spaces signifies an important example of mid-century modernism. The museum features three tiers housing the art, history, and natural science collection. In 2009 plans for a major renovation and expansion were announced: Mark Cavagnero Associates was selected for the design. In 2013 the museum reopened showing off the collection in a new light.
I always enjoy strolling through their permanent collection and exploring the works by Richard Diebenkorn, Ruth Asawa, Mark Rothko and many others. The OMCA has a imaginative way of orchestrating temporary exhibitions with focus on the Bay Area in particular and California in general. Their permanent collection on California History on Level 2 is a must see.
The equally terraced sculpture gardens have a very inviting feel about them and are accessible from all three levels. They are home to more than 80 spices of plants and more than 50 sculptures. These gardens are one of my favorite outdoor spaces in Oakland to visit - both peaceful and inspiring - especially in spring when the cherry trees blossom.
FRIDAY NIGHTS @ OMCA…..
This is one of my favorite (museum) buildings in the Bay Area, mainly because I am a secret admirer of the Swiss architects Herzog & DeMeuron. I think their way of working with materials and space is rather unique and fascinating.
Named for its founder and newspaper man M.H. de Young, the former building, which opened in 1895 and remodeled in 1915 by Louis Christian Mullgardt, was deemed seismically unsafe in 1989 and subsequently demolished in 2003. The new building designed by Herzog & De Meuron in collaboration with SF based architects Fong + Chan, Swinerton Builders and Hood Landscape Design opened in 2005.
The exterior skin is of perforated embossed copper and acts more like an natural organism. Exposed to the salt air it will with time patina and turn blue-green reflecting the foliage of the surrounding Golden Gate park. This idea of the museum having a constant relationship with the park is also repeated inside. Interior fern courts and glass panels connect the inside with the outside and play with the visitors indoor/outdoor experience.
Interestingly enough, the main museum and the tower are two structurally disconnected buildings. While the main museum is placed to emphasize its connection with the park, the tower rotates as it ascends/descends in a way so it orients itself with the grid of the City offering panoramic views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Park. Make sure to check out Ruth Asawa's wire sculptures in the tower lobby.
The collection focuses on American Art from 17th century onwards, international contemporary art, textiles and costumes and art from the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Their current exhibitions cover many a topic with focus on the 20th century.
Their scupture garden is a must and open to the public. Do not miss James Turrell's Skyspace Three Gems (2005) located in the sculpture garden on your right.
Queen of Wire…
Ruth Asawa (1926 - 2013), one of California's most admired sculptors, has been a brilliant inspiration not only for generations of San Franciscans but also nationwide. She will always be remembered for her extraordinary wire sculptures, public commissions and community art projects.
In 1982, February 12 was declared "Ruth Asawa Day" by the City and County of San Fancisco.
Top left: Untitled, Oakland Museum of Art, 1974
Top center: Andrea Mermaid Fountain, Ghirardelli Square, 1968
Top right: Hyatt on Union Square Fountain, 1973
Bottom left: Buchanan Mall Fountain, Japantown 1976
Bottom center: Aurora Fountain, Bayside Plaza, 1986
Bottom right: Wire sculptures installation at de Young, Tower lobby, 2006
The Maison l'Homme of Zurich, Switzerland, today the Centre Le Corbusier / Heidi Weber Museum, is an inspiring art museum, which I always make a point of visiting when I am back home.
The center was commissioned on the initiative of Heidi Weber, owner of the interior design gallery Mezzanin. She met Le Corbusier (Charles-Eduard Jeanneret, 1887- 1965) in 1958 in Roquebrune Cap Martin and maintained a close professional relationship with the architect throughout last years of his life.
Thanks to her inspiration and tenacity, Le Corbusier completed his sketch of the kind of dream house he had been working on since 1950. Heidi Weber's vision was a museum / an exhibition hall serving as the perfect space to house Le Corbusier's works of art - a Gesamtkunstwerk reflecting all aspects of his oeuvre: architecture, sculptures, paintings, furniture, design and theoretical writings in unified harmony. Construction began in 1964. The center was completed in 1967, after the death of Le Corbusier.
To learn more, visit Heidi Weber Museum.
With our hometown being out base, this trip took us to beautiful Alsace and Burgundy to enjoy fabulous wines, delicious food and medieval architecture.
~ EUROPE BOUND over the North Bay ~
~ ZURICH on a rainy day ~
~ ZURICH on a sunny day ~
~ ZURICH: Reliefs at the Grossmünster ~
~ BASEL: Kristof Kintera at The Museum Tinguely ~
The museum was designed by Mario Botta and opened in 1996. It houses a permanent collection of the works of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), whose kinetic sculptures never fail to delight the young and the old to this day. Therefore the Museum Tinguely provides a fitting backdrop to the works by Czech artist and sculptor Kristof Kintera (1973*).
~ ALSACE ~
~ BURGUNDY ~
Please feel free to check out also my blog on the Abbeye of Fontenay (September 02, 2014).
~ HOMEWARD BOUND TO THE BEAUTIFUL SF BAY AREA ~
This is one of the most interesting and inspiring places San Francisco has to offer. The San Francisco Art Institute, founded in 1871 and with the main campus being located on 800 Chestnut Street, is a two-story complex featuring two versions of exposed, reinforced concrete. The original, older part, designed by Bakewell & Brown (1926), was crafted as a Mediterranean Revival, a monastary complete with cloister. Its later companion was designed by Paffard Keatinge-Clay (1970) and cast as a brutalist addition.
Don't miss the Diego Rivera legendary mural The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City (1931) inside the older building. And make sure to enjoy the magnificent views of San Francisco, The Russian Hill district and beyond.
Impressions from Edge Effect May 14-17, 2015 at Fort Mason, Herbst Pavilion
Artists at the SFAI's graduate exhibition presenting their eclectic visions: installations, panting, photography, film/video, sculpture, printmaking, performances and hybrid forms.
To learn more, visit SFAI.