Saturday, June 28, 2008

recovering from art, art and more art

What a truly glorious day I had, riding up and down the Capitol Corridor thanks to Amtrak, then traipsing around San Francisco led by my friend Mary Ann, she of Nocommano, my first-in-the-morning daily blog read. But let's slow down here and take the day in tiny, rich bites.

The train service from Sacramento to San Jose is a real treat. It is also increasingly popular; it was full of commuters with laptops, newspapers, books and cell phones. Not to mention students headed for Berkeley with their bikes. I hopped on at 7:15 AM, did the NYT X-word, got a pretty good cup of coffee, and enjoyed the scenery. Tearing up and down I-80 you don't get to see the "back roads" along the way. There were acres of sunflowers holding their lovely heads up to the smoke-obscured sun, bright green fields of something edible for some creature, man or beast. Then down under the bridges, around the Richmond shoreline and into the Emeryville train station. You get off the train, walk through the station and get onto a bus that takes you across the Bay Bridge and deposits you at one of 7 possible stops. I got off at the Moscone Center, walked around the block and arrived in front of the SFMOMA at 9:45. I had finished the puzzle, had my coffee, enjoyed the scenery, and didn't have to drive or park. And 5 minutes later, there was Mary Ann, looking exactly as I remember her (it's been probably 20 years) except for the long red fingernails. We worked together lo those many years ago as copywriters for the long-gone Capwell's. Despite the years, it took all of 10 minutes to get caught up (have our lives been that uninteresting? No, it was just so easy and familiar.). After coffee it was up to see the Frida Kahlo show. The part I liked best were the old photos of Frida and her parents and sibs, and with hubby Diego Rivera. You can see her transformation from a beautiful but restrained young woman into a flamboyant member of the artistic and political avant garde in both Mexico and California. Her painting is interesting, but self-indulgent to the point where you ask whether she ever did anything except look in the mirror and paint what she saw. Although I would agree she is an artist in her own right, her partnership with Diego must have opened many doors to her. To her credit, however, she walked through them and made the most of it.

Next stop was the Cafe de la Presse for lunch. More catching up. Good lunch. Sat on the sidewalk. Almost Paris. Almost.

Then it was out to the De Young and the Dale Chihuly exhibit. If you can possibly arrange it, see this show. It is so astonishing what this man can do with glass. And when you do see it, you still can't believe it. It does what art should do; amaze the senses, confound our understanding, as in "How does he/she do that?" And give enormous pleasure to the eye. Here are a few pieces.

This green flower was one in a whole garden, in many different colors. This piece measures about 3 feet across with a wavy edge. The curating of the show must have been a nightmare. Each of these pieces is so delicate and fragile and worth a fortune.

There were two regular-sized row boats filled with glass pieces; this one has hundreds of glass balls of different sizes, colors and patterns. The work was inspired by the glass floaters used by Japanese fishermen up in the Puget Sound area to float their nets. There is another boat too, filled with a variety of shapes, sizes and colors of glass objects, but the pictures of it didn't come out well.

This resembles a fantastic garden of plants whose genetics just said, "To hell with it, let's have fun."

This thing looks alive. It's tendrils seem to wiggle and swirl as you walk around it. It is the last piece in the show and its bright colors and organic design make you stop and stare. Here's where the "How does he do that?" hits home.

Aside from the sheer beauty and mystery of the show, it is so well designed and laid out. Much of the work is displayed on black glass that mirrors what's on it. It appears to be floating on a dark sea. Very dramatic. There is also an eye-popping glass ceiling; we never did figure out how they put it together. The colors are so deep and rich and clear.

When we recovered from that experience we took the elevator up into the new tower. Spectacular 360ยบ views of San Francisco. Across from the museum is the new Aquarium and Science museum, set to open in September.

By now it was time to head down to the Ferry Building so I could catch my east-bound train. Right on time the bus arrived, got to Emeryville without slowing down, the train pulled into the station only a bit late. I was home by 6 PM. Exhausted. But so happy at having had such a full, satisfying day. It's so easy. I should do it more often. And I will. There is still the women Impressionists at the Legion.


At 9:57 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Oh, the photos are great and this is a fabulous post. I sent the bad photo of you to Ginger and she said, "I'd
know that languid smile anywhere". I had a wonderful day with you, we will do it again (and again).


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