In earlier posts, I complained about various aspects of the new de Young Museum in San Francisco. But a visit to the de Young offers many rewards. Below is a sample of the artworks that I enjoyed last month at the museum.
Charred remains of black Southern Baptist church destroyed by arson.
Foreground: Josiah McElheny, “Model for Total Reflective Abstraction” (glass, 2003)
The above painting is auto-biographical. In the mid-1940s, as a draftee in the Army Corps of Engineers, Jess worked as a nuclear chemist for the Manhattan Project. In distress at the Post-War threat of nuclear war, he turned away from science in 1948. The painting includes a nuclear mushroom cloud, children playing under nuclear fallout, a parrot (mindless imitator) devouring an owl (wisdom), and a man looking backward on it all with a deck of cards in his hands.
2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Part II (1999).
Zhan Wang, “Artificial Rock” (stainless steel, 2005)
The above shows one face of a very irregular sculpture, different on each side. There are craggy holes running through it, transverse to the above view. The second photo shows the bottom. The third photo shows the intense sky reflections at the top, on the side facing away from the museum, which looms in the background.
The above was part of a Ruscha prints exhibit that has ended. (Image from Adam Biesk Fine Art website.)