Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Enjoying the de Young Museum (SF)

Joseph McElheny (detail, see below)

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.

Background: Cornelia Parker, “Anti-Mass” (2005)
Charred remains of black Southern Baptist church destroyed by arson.

Foreground: Josiah McElheny, “Model for Total Reflective Abstraction” (glass, 2003)

Doris Salcedo, “Untitled” (concrete, wood, steel, 1998)

Bruce Nauman, “Double Poke in the Eye II” (neon, 1985)

Jess [Collins], “If All the World Were Paper and All the Water Sink” (oil, 1962)

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.

Mel Ramos, “Superman” (oil, 1961-62)

Bruce Conner, “Snore” (mixed media, 1960)

Part of the above sculpture has unraveled. This can be seen by comparing it to the photograph for Conner's most recent retrospective, in the book 2000 BC: The Bruce Conner Story Part II (1999).

Frank Lobdell, “31 December 1948” (oil, 1948)

Mark Rothko, “Untitled” (oil, 1949)

Richard Diebenkorn, “Ocean Park 116” (oil, 1979)

Edward Hopper, “Portrait of Orleans” (oil, 1950)

Wright Morris, “Houses on Incline, Virginia City, NV” (photograph, 1941)

Anonymous 19th Century kindergarten collage

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, “Corridor Pin, Blue” (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.


Ed Ruscha,“Safe and Effective Medication” (lithograph, 2001)

The above was part of a Ruscha prints exhibit that has ended. (Image from Adam Biesk Fine Art website.)


John said...

The Wang piece is pretty. Or maybe I should be embarrassed to be interested in the proverbial shiny object.

I've never had the chance to see a Ruscha print in person, but I yearn to see one of his gas station-scapes with its elegant geometry.

Bob said...

The Wang sculpture is shiny but highly irregular in shape. So you're off the hook, I think.

Ruscha is an artist who can really deliver in the print medium. His prints don't feel like diluted versions of something else.