Filtering by Category: architecture
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.
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.
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 ~
If you happen to be close to Redding CA, make sure to take a breather and go for a stroll across the Sacramento River on the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay.
Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava (born 1951), the bridge took eleven years to built and was inaugurated on July 4th, 2004. Seemingly airy and light-weight, it was constructed from tons of concrete, steel and glass. It is the first steel, inclined-pylon, cable-stayed bridge in the US. With a length of 720 feet and width of 23 feet, this pedestrian bridge spans gracefully across showcasing the river's beauty and surrounding landscape. The glass-panneled deck is lit by 219 lights from below - wish I will get a chance see and walk across it at night sometime soon.
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….
R.M. Schindler (1887-1853) studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under Adolf Loos and arrived in the United States in 1914. Initially he was working for Ottenheimer, Stern & Reichart in Chicago. A big admirer of Frank Llyod Wright, he was able to secure work with him in 1918. Schindler left Wright's Studio after completing the Barnsdall project in 1921.
The Schindler/Chase Studio House (1921-22) is one of his most important works. Featuring a modernist canon, the studio house has regarded as the clearest example of Schindler's principles. Built as a double house for the Schindlers and the Chases, the house speaks of honest materials, efficiency and economy. I love the simplicity of the kitchen with its flat red wood panels and ergonomic lay-out. Japanese and Spanish influences are detectable in the way the plan opens all rooms to the atrium as well as the surrounding garden and elegantly marries inside with outside. The Schindler House is beautiful - a classic in modern architecture!
Located on 833 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood CA 90069.
To learn more, visit The Schindler House.
While in West Hollywood...
Two houses to explore down the street.
Top left: Apartment Building, Islamic Revival 1925, Carl Kay, on Sweetzer at Waring Aves.
Top center: Apartment Building, Islamic Revival 1925, Carl Kay, detail.
Top right: Duplex, 1936, William P. Kesling, on 754-756 Harper Ave.
VDL Research Compound
Richard Neutra (1892 - 1970) is considered to be one of the most important modernist architects. Neutra studied under Adolf Loos at the Vienna University of Technology. He came to the United States in 1921 and briefly worked for Frank Lloyd Wright. After accepting an invitation from his close university friend R. M. Schindler, he moved to Southern California, where he lived and built for the majority of his career.
The VDL Research Compound is named after Dir CH Van Der Leeuw, a dutch philanthropist, whose no-interest loan helped Richard Neutra build a radical, two story international style house with rooftop and balcony gardens. It was designed to accommodate Neutra's studio office and two residences. Built in 1933, it partially burned in 1963. The VDL Research Compound, the epitome of Neutra's aesthetic and beliefs, offers daily tours by Cal Poly Pomona Architecture students.
While in Silver Lake…..
Silver Lake, despite being a small district, has a high concentration of first-rate architecture. It is one of the most important places in LA to visit. Modernists: Schindler, Neutra, Ain, Soriano, Harris, Lautner abound!
To learn more, visit Silver Lake Architecture.
Top left: Colony of Neutra Houses at Neutra Place.
Top center: Bubeshko Apartments by R. M. Schindler (1938 right; 1941 left) located on 2036-40 Griffith Park Blvd.
Top right: Bubeshko Apartments by R. M. Schindler, detail.
Barnsdall Art Park has many highlights to offer. First and foremost it is home to the Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House by Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). Originally built between 1919 and 1921 as a private home for oil heiress Aline Bransdall, the 5,000 square foot abode - including the eleven surrounding acres - was donated to LA in 1927 as a public art park in memory of her father Theodore Bransdall. It has just been nominated as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Closed due to extensive restoration since 2003, it will reopen on February 13th 2015 and this much to my delight. I'll have to got back soon to view the interiors; I hear the fire place is spectacular. If you happen to visit, make sure to walk around this magnificent building to get a view of the Wading Pool and Pergola designed collaboratively by R.M. Schindler and R. Neutra (1925). The Garden Wall and Landscaping were designed by R.M. Schindler, as was the Studio Residence A located at the entrance of park. If you happen to get there in the late afternoon, remember to take a breather: sit on the lawn and enjoy the beautiful view.
More Frank Lloyd Wright….
Top left: Storer House, 1923 on 8161 Hollywood Blvd, West Hollywood.
Top center: Wright House, 1928. On 858 N. Doheny Drive, West Hollywood.
Top right: Millard House, 1923. On 645 Prospect Crescent, Pasadena. Its famous view is from a gate on Rosemont.
The Disney concert hall, located Downtown LA, Civic Center is a curious building. Designed by Frank Gehry, it built between 1988 and 2003 with numerous changes being made to the initial design. The exterior seems almost adventurous with its many concave as well as convex surfaces, sharp edges and brilliant reflections. The matt stainless steel panels are be rather bright on a sunny sky and when stepping closer you can feel the heat radiating off. The interior seems equally swooping with is curved galleries and red carpet. However the spruce representing the material wood instruments are made of, is an equalizing contrast to the shiny exterior. The Blue Rillon Garden on Level 3 is a very pleasant surprise in the midst of Downtown LA.
More to see Downtown LA …..
Top left: The Broad, Diller Scofidio + Renfro; opening fall 2015.
Top center: Hall of Records, Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander, 1961-62.
Top right: LA Department of Water and Power with reflecting pool, Albert C. Martin 1963-64.
Top left: LA Performing Art Center; Mark Taper Forum with reflecting pool, Welton Becket Ass. 1964-69.
Top center: Eastern Columbia, Claude Beelman 1930.
Top right: High School for the Visual & Performing Arts, Coop Himme(l)blau w/ HMC Architects, 2002-08.
The Cathedral of our Lady of Angels is located Downtown LA on the northeast corner of Temple Street and Grand Ave. It was designed by Raphael Moneo and built in 2002.
Quoted as one of the most beautiful spaces in LA, this cathedral with its tinted cement walls and alabaster windows takes your breath away. The light that floods through the magnificent thin panels is mystifying and spiritual. Moving in the space, let's you experience it in a fascinating way.
The United Artist Theater (1927) was designed by Charles Howard Crane; building architects were Walker and Eisen. After an extensive remodel by Commune Design, it was reopen in 2014. The interior is a feast in Spanish Gothic style and a marvel in materials as well as colors. Mary Pickford, one of the founders of the United Artists, apparently contributed a fair amount to the design.
To learn more, visit Historic Los Angeles.
A great place to stay….
The Ace Hotel next door.
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