Saturday, September 4, 2010

Three Museums in San Francisco

On our recent trip to San Francisco I had the opportunity to visit three very interesting and diversely themed museums. This is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) which is located at 151 3rd Street, between Mission and Howard. Their web site states: "Founded in 1935, SFMOMA was the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art. From the outset, the museum has championed the most innovative and challenging art of its time, and we continue to exhibit and collect work by both modern masters and younger, less-established artists."

Of course I'm a fan of New York's Museum of Modern Art and I was curious to see our western partner's collection.  (all photos will enlarge if clicked on once, and then again)

The SFMOMA building is, in itself, a work of art!  Designed by architect Louis I. Kahn, the interior is flooded with natural light and offers generous open spaces. The full-height central atrium court is illuminated by the enormous circular skylight turret and features a dramatic bridge crossing the space at the fifth-floor level. The Rooftop Garden was designed by architect Mark Jensen, and connects to the museum's fifth-floor galleries via a glass-enclosed bridge.

The five floors of galleries are filled with light and easy to navigate.

A collage of some of the many paintings and a Calder mobile which I found interesting.

From left to right on  top:
Jackson Pollock - "Guardians of the Secret"
Henri Matisse - "La Fille aux Yeux Verts"
Andy Warhol - "Self-Portrait"

Bottom, left to right:
Chuck Close - "James" 
Alexander Calder - "Eighteen Numbered Black" 
Frida (Frieda) Kahlo - "Frieda and Diego Rivera"

Much more of SFMOMA's permanent collection can be viewed online using their interesting "Artscope" feature.
 I was fortunate to be able to see the Calder to Warhol exhibit that was on the entire top two floors of the museum, including the Rooftop Garden, which feature more than 160 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and video works by Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and many more.
This past February the SFMOMA formed a partnership to house and display the collection of Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher.  Their collection consists of more than 1,100 works by iconic 20th-century artists, many of which have never been seen by the public!  This exhibit runs until September 19, 2010.

One Fisher collection on display contained 23 paintings of German artist Gehard Richter.  Their collection consisted of a full range of his styles and is considered one of the finest concentrations of his works in the world. This collage shows four of his works.  Upper left is "Abstraktes Bild 1987," and "256 Farben - 1974." Lower left is "Abstraktes Bild 1992," and "Janus 1983'

I thought this work called "5,377,183 Suns from Flickr (partial) ( 2006-2009)" by Penelope Umbrico would be of interest to bloggers and photographers.  The artist culled and cropped pictures of sunsets from the public photo sharing site Flickr.  It is part of SFMOMA's "Living Histories" exhibition that is part of the 75th anniversary show which runs through Jan 2011.  You can view some of these photographs up close of the artist's Flickr site, and read her fascinating description of how this art work came into existence in her statement.

The next museum I visited was the de Young Fine Arts Museum located in Golden Gate Park at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive. The de Young showcases American art from the 17th through the 21st centuries, international contemporary art, textiles and costumes, and art from the Americas, the Pacific, and Africa.

I was extremely fortunate to see this special exhibit! Unfortunately no photographs of the exhibit were allowed, and I just read on the museum website that this special exhibit, which runs through September 6, 2010, is completely sold out.

The de Young's web site about the exhibit states: "Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay presents nearly 100 magnificent works by the famous masters who called France their home during the mid- to late-19th century and from whose midst arose one of the most original and recognizable of all artistic styles, Impressionism. The exhibition begins with paintings by the great academic artist Bouguereau and the arch-Realist Courbet, and includes American expatriate Whistler’s Arrangement in Gray and Black, known to many as “Whistler’s Mother.” Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley are showcased with works dating from the 1860s through 1880s, along with a selection of Degas’ paintings that depict images of the ballet, the racetrack, and life in the Belle Époque."

Part two of the Musee D'Orsay collection to be displayed in exhibit called "Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d'Orsay," opens September 25, and if you live in the San Francisco area I urge you to purchase tickets immediately for the chance of a lifetime to see these works!

The museum's regular collections were allowed to be photographed and I thought I'd show a couple of my favorites. Above is Edward Hopper's "Portrait of Orleans."

Georgia O' Keeffe's "Petunias"

The last museum I was fortunate enough to have time to visit was the new Walt Disney Family Museum located in the Presidio at 104 Montgomery Street.  No photography was allowed inside the museum, but you can view a synopsis of the galleries collections online, and see photographs from the Disney collection and read the history of Walt Disney's life. 
The museum's web site states: "The Walt Disney Family Museum was conceived to present the real story of Walt Disney, the man, told by him and others who knew him well. The Museum is located in the Presidio of San Francisco, a former U.S. Army base and now a National Park. The three buildings that house the Museum are on the National Register of Historic Places."

For any fan of Walt Disney -- his cartoons, movies, theme parks and brand -- it was a fascinating journey to walk through the galleries of this new museum devoted to his life and to read, listen and watch film clips abut him from his birth to death.  I would say it is not exactly a place to bring very young children, because as of now the exhibits required mush listening and reading activity, but a child 10 and over would probably find it enjoyable.  It certainly made me reminisce about the many ways the Walt Disney brand touched my life as a child.

There was also this wonderful view of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge from a large glass window near the Disney museum's upper floor restrooms, that I could not resist taking a photograph of! The top of the bridge is covered in the iconic fog that often lingers in the bay. I'll be showing many more photos of this beautiful bridge when we go over it on our way to visit Muir Woods, but next blog post I'll take you along on our day trip to the beautiful town of Sausalito.

I hope everyone is having a safe and happy Labor Day Weerend!

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Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Pat, you guys have had the greatest trip!! I have loved your pictures. I have never been to California, but I sure want to get out there, now that I have seen your beautiful pictures. You are such a great tour guide. Love & blessings from NC!

Claudia said...

I wondered about your ability to take photographs early on! The Impressionsitic exhibit would certainly draw me in - lucky you to have seen it. I cannt wait until the next post.

Cherry Chick said...

Fabulous photographs and post...I'm looking forward to the next installment.
♥•.*.Thank you.*.•♥
♥•.*.from Vicki.*.•♥

Carole Burant said...

Such wonderful art museums, it's mind boggling the talent that is out there. I got a kick out of that "apple core" work of art:-) That one of the many suns taken from Flickr is amazing as well. I haven't been to an art museum in so long, actually the boys were just little when I went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) in Toronto. I need to make plans to go there again in the near future!! Your photos are always breathtaking and it's such a pleasure for us that you share them with us:-) xoxo

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Pat, Thanks for the tour of the museums. I would also tend to compare them to the New York museums. That bridge view is just awesome! Looking forward to more wonderful SF posts.
Being stuck inside today...not so bad when I can watch the Yankees play.
♥, Susan

Sarah said...

Pat, you picked my two favorites to spotlight first. But I don't know the Walt Disney Museum, so thank you for sharing it as well. So happy you had a terrific vacation in San Francisco and that you are sharing the photos with us.
Hope you have a fun holiday weekend. ~ Sarah

GailO said...

This is what I love to do in any city I visit....check out the museums! Wish I were with would have been fun!

RoeH said...

I'd love to have at least two of those paintings. I love art museums.

Debbiedoos said...

What a fun trip you had. Love the bridge shot with the fog...such a cool shot. Looks like a trip of a lifetime. Have a wonderful weekend. Debbie

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow! I'm still caught up with the SFMOMA website!! It's a HUGE website!! I love the "Arstcope" feature - that's just brill - I'm completely lost in it.There's also a fab feature where you click on the artists and get a lovely pictorial and video history of the artist's life - of course I had to read up on the amazing Ms Frieda. I have to admit I only heard of her because of the film with Salma Hayek!

The link to Gehard Richter is also very good - I love his "Beauty in the Ordinary". I can't think of a better way to convey my appreciation of "modern art"! They baffle and confuse me and mesmerise me in equal measures!! Some very recent modern artits (e.g Tracey Emin) I just cannot fully comprehend because I never know if the artist's piece is something more profound and psychological or if it's just as Mr Richter says "structures and ideas". Like that big apple core! LOL!

Now Impressionism I can relate to! LOL! And that is one amazing collection at The deYoung Museum for this special exhibit. I'd go to both if I were there - it's worth the ticket price!

Yay!! Walt Disney Museum!! LOL!!!! There's a Walt Disney Museum. How fab is that?!?! Oh but my pc doesn't like the museum link - lots of red crosses appear saying unable to connect to Walt Nevermind!! I love my disney films.

Thank you again for a fantastic foray in to SF!! Wonderful!!!

Take care

Jenny said...

Did you wear flowers in your hair?

What a lovely trip. I love San Fran. Haven't been there in years so tagging along with you was wonderful!

Thank you for being the best tour guide in blogland!

Pondside said...

You really are one of the best tour guides! I'd love to go museum hopping with you.

pam said...

Pat, I'm loving my little get away through your pictures and GREAT info about all you got to see. As always you're an excellent tour guide.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Beautiful pictures from all of the museums you visited, Pat.... I loved seeing ALL of them --but the two which caught my attention were the sunset one (how fascinating) and the petunias....

Thanks again--and I hope you have a great weekend.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I'm going to have to get back to SF if only to see that modern art museum. Love, love Chuck Close's work. How great that you got to see that impressionist exhibit.

Judy said...

It looks like there are many more interesting places to visit in SF...if I ever have the opportunity to return. Thanks for being our tour guide!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful trip with so much art. Here it is very hard to take phots in any gallery. It's a shame because I think art should be shared as an imspiration world wide not just for the few who can make it to a particular exhibition.

Thanks so much for sharing what you could Pat.

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

You are the best tour guide, Pat! Have you ever thought of going to the Departments of Tourism for NY (or San Francisco) and seeing if there's a customer for your work? It's really
THAT good!!

La Petite Gallery said...

Thank you for thebtour. Liked
Chuck Close, and Frieda, Did you see the movie?

Loved Ed Hopper and first time I have seen the Petunia's.Georgia
paintings are a favorite of mine, She was fasinating. You would never get me out west with those snakes.


Vee said...

Wonderful experience for you! My favorite piece of art is that photograph you took of the Golden Gate Bridge...just amazing! (John just bought a book on Walt Disney so I know that he'd love to see that museum. It is amazing to think how many times and ways that Disney has affected our lives, oddly enough.)

Regina said...

Wow awesome captures Pat. Thank you for the tour.
Enjoy your vacation.

RNSANE said...

How wonderful, Pat, you did get to see so much during your time here. I am so happy you got to the DeYoung and to MOMA. I haven't been to the Disney Museum at the Presidio but I am often at the Presidio so I will have to check it out.