14 November 2007

The Art of the City

Part Two of My Annual San Francisco Travelogue

San Francisco is one of my favorite art towns. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was one of the first U.S. museums devoted to 20th century (and now 21st century) art. I rarely miss a visit when I hit the city — and last week was no exception.

Looking up at the SFMOMA atrium

I was most excited about seeing the Joseph Cornell show, and it was wonderful. Cornell created boxes and collages using found objects, something I’ve always wanted to do.

Joseph Cornell: Tilly Losch

Joseph Cornell: Cockatoo with Watch Faces

Joseph Cornell: Lauren Bacall

My favorite piece in the Cornell show was one dedicated to Emily Dickinson, but I couldn’t find a snap or postcard of it.

SFMOMA also had a Jeff Wall exhibition I enjoyed. With the snaps below, you lose the impact of Wall's huge photos (most of them backlit). I should be embarrassed to admit how much I identify with The Destroyed Room (but I’m not).

Jeff Wall: The Destroyed Room

Jeff Wall: Picture for Women

SFMOMA has a phenomenal permanent collection of photography —the Westons (bell peppers!) to Nan Goldin, Irving Penn to Harry Callahan, Lucas Samaras to Cindy Sherman, and everyone in between. Think of a photographer, and he or she is probably represented in the permanent collection. Here’s a new photo I saw and loved:

Seiichi Furuya: Graz

But art isn’t limited to gallery walls in San Francisco. Defenestration is alive and (fairly) well at 6th and Howard streets, near the Tenderloin. Artist Brian Goggin’s installation has furnished the exterior of this building for ten years. I’ve been by this corner several times, but it didn’t catch my eye until last week.

And is there anything more lovely, more moving, than this?

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At 11/15/2007 07:11:00 AM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

I've always wanted to post pictures of that bolted on furniture on my blog and you've beat me to it ; )

I'm glad you checked it out in the daytime. If you go back towards Market as you travel on 6th Street, the little section between there and Mission Street is called, "6th and Mayhem" by the police.

At 11/15/2007 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Erik Donald France said...

Way cool. I'm fond of SF too. Nifty fifty!

At 11/15/2007 09:49:00 AM, Blogger landru said...

Very nice travel blog. The Coffey Express is gonna give Rick Steves a run for his money.

Loved the artwork.

At 11/15/2007 10:25:00 AM, Blogger Michael K said...

Do they still have that gigantic ceramic staue of Michael Jackson with his chimp on display at SFMOMA? That thing creeped the shit out of me.

At 11/15/2007 10:40:00 AM, Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

When you make your Cornell box, be sure to post a pic!

At 11/15/2007 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

You have convinced me that I have to convince the family that San Francisco should be our spring break destination. I must see this fabulous place.

I have made a Cornell box, but it looks like crap compared to those.

At 11/15/2007 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Mother Goldstein said...

lovely pictures, Jeff Wall: The Destroyed Room - looks a little too much like my bedroom.

SF is great, Love the Museum of modern art. Legion of Honor is another one of my favorites.

did you make it out to Tommy's Joynt for a Beer and a Hot Pastrami on Pumpernickel?

At 11/15/2007 12:38:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Thanks for the artsy update!

At 11/15/2007 01:27:00 PM, Blogger SkylersDad said...

Great pictures, but why is that room referred to as destroyed? It looks just like my living room.

At 11/15/2007 02:20:00 PM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

I made a diorama in third grade. Does that count?

At 11/15/2007 03:28:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

Oooh, I like the photos. I need to go back to SF with someone that loves the town as much as you do. I went for a day and barely did anything.

At 11/15/2007 06:44:00 PM, Blogger Allison said...

One of my biggest regrets when I visited San Francisco was not being able to make it to the SFMOMA. Next time.

I love those Joseph Cornell pieces. Brilliant. Thanks for posting the pictures. Glad you had a lovely time!

At 11/15/2007 08:48:00 PM, Anonymous glassmeow said...

Going down there myself week after next! Expressly for the Cornell show.*

Hee! That Jeff Wall show is following me. I saw it at the Tate Modern in Nov. 2005 then last summer at the Art Institute of Chicago now I'll get to see it again in SFO. It made me kind of homesick in London. There's a couple shots of forest-y spots near Vancouver B.C. which look much like forest-y spots 'round here as well. They're so big you feel like you could walk right in & I swear I could smell the cedar trees and the moss.

*actually missing Robyn Hitchcock shows in Seattle to go to SFO. Got a screaming deal on Travelocity - what can I say?

At 11/15/2007 08:49:00 PM, Anonymous glassmeow said...

meant his photographs are so big, of course!

At 11/15/2007 11:35:00 PM, Blogger jewgirl said...

you captured the best of san francisco. I can't believe you caught those installations. stunning.

At 11/16/2007 07:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW did you get a picture of my daughters bedroom????

At 11/17/2007 07:16:00 AM, Anonymous gifted typist said...

Defenestration. That's a must-use, for sure.


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