November 22 was a day to play tourist in our own back yard. We had reservations to see the Diego Rivera exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We also included a visit to Salesforce Park, an amazing park situated 70 feet in the air and spanning four blocks.
Our outing started with a short drive to the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station. We were concerned about parking, but when we got to the station at 11 a.m., there was an abundance of empty parking slots. We rode the train into the city and got off at Montgomery Station. It was noon when we exited the BART station. Downtown San Francisco was like a ghost town. There were very few people and many of the restaurants were closed. We walked the short distance to SFMOMA and headed to Café 5 on the fifth floor.
We both ordered the Chicken and Cilantro soup and then found a table outside in the Jean and James Douglas Family Sculpture Garden. One of the gingko trees was in full fall display and the “Love” sculpture seemed to be calling me. I’m hearing “can’t buy me love,” by the Beatles.
The soup was delicious, although it was a bit tepid by the time it reached us. Our tickets for the Diego Rivera exhibit were for 2 p.m. so we had some time to explore the museum. The Oculus Tunnel by Olafur Eliasson was fun.
Then it was time to explore the Diego Rivera exhibit. I was able to pull up the audio tour on my iPhone and listen to the discussion about Rivera’s work. My hearing aids act as wireless earbud, which makes for easy listening. While I was aware of some of Rivera’s work, I had forgotten about his involvement with communism and the influence he had on the art world. It is quite an extensive display and well worth a visit.
One of the pieces on display is the Pan American Unity mural which is huge. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could photograph it in sections and stitch the sections together. My effort worked better than I had imagined, although I ended up losing some of the top and bottom of the work.
From SFMOMA we walked to the Salesforce Transit Center where we found our way up to the park, home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants arranged in 13 different ecological zones. I was intrigued with the “Bus Fountain” that dances to the movement of the busses on the lower level.
Playing tourist in our own back yard was fun. Sometimes we forget how much there is to see and enjoy here. We’re making a list of more things to do locally so stay tuned. In the meantime, feel free to view more photos online.
On July 17 our route took us through Taos, where we stopped at Ranchos de Taos to see the San Francisco de Asis Catholic Mission Church; always a notable stop with the abode buttresses and surrounding architecture providing plenty of photo opportunities in both color and black and white.
Then we passed through Santa Fe, making a brief stop for ice cream. Consulting the map we noticed an alternate route, so rather than blasting through on I25 we headed for Highway 14, also known as the Turquoise Trail. The drive took us through several small towns. We stopped Los Cerrillos, where we explored the grounds of the church and some of the colorful buildings around town. The town was very quiet during our visit, but it was clear that a number of art galleries and artists would make this a busy spot when tourists are out.
We had to do a double take as we passed a herd of colorful origami horses. Having driven past, we made do a U-turn to take a closer look; something that’s not uncommon, and one of the reasons we like the less travelled routes. I wouldn’t even think about doubling back if we were on a four-lane divided highway. The Outside the Box Studio was closed, but we had a clear view to look over the barbed wire fence.
Continuing on we were struck by a small church near Golden, and again stopped to take a few photos.
Then it was back on the main highway, I25, to make our way through Albuquerque and on to our campsite at The Golden Rose Ranch near Prewitt, New Mexico.
With museums opening up we decided to visit the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in San Francisco. We bought tickets ahead of time for an off-peak visit for an 11 AM entry on June 22. This was our first venture out into a public space in over 15 months.
To experience the exhibit you enter a large room where animated images of Van Gogh’s work are projected on all four walls of the room as well as the floor. Music accompanies the visuals. It’s a spell-binding experience. In the middle of the room is an elevated viewing platform. We waited for the opportunity to climb the stairs and spent some time on the platform letting the images and music wash over us. Then we returned to the ground floor where we found a spot to sit with the cushions provided and experience more of the show. My still images do not do the show justice.
I’ve been around long enough to recall when a high tech slide show used two slide projectors and dissolve-synchronizer, so this seemed mind-boggling considering how many projectors were involved and the technology required to create and produce this show. The show was created by Massimiliano Siccardi and a team of creatives.
We were mesmerized by the moving visuals and the music, and we found ourselves using our iPhones to capture video clips. Here’s a two minute compilation of clips that will give you the feel for the show.
The show cycles about every 35 minutes and we found ourselves staying through two cycles. Our only regret was driving. Parking was a challenge. In hindsight, it would have been easier to take BART. After driving around looking for parking we ended up paying $25 for public parking a short distance away.
“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” is an exhibit currently running at the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland. The exhibit runs through February 16, 2020.
Burning Man had its origins in 1986 when Larry Harvey and Jerry James built a human effigy and burned it on a San Francisco beach. The fire drew a crowd of 35 people. Since then the event has moved to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, where it now draws over 70,000 people from all over the world.
An entire city rises out of the dust of the desert and provides a canvas for experimental art installations. Some of those art pieces along with a glimpse of the history and culture of Burning Man are on exhibit. Burning Man is governed by ten principles: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy.
Having not been to Burning Man, I found the exhibit quite enlightening; I recommend it to anybody with an interest in culture, art and creativity.
The ultimate goal of Burning Man is to encourage the culture of creativity. -Marian Goodell
You can view more photos from the Oakland Museum exhibit here. Burning Man now has a network to facilitate and extend the culture that originates with the Burning Man event into the larger world.
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. – Leonard Cohen
What is the ultimate machined object? This question is explored in fascinating detail at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco. The exhibit is titled Dead Nuts: A Search for the Ultimate Machined Object. The exhibit runs through December 1, 2019.
We stumbled onto this exhibit several weeks ago when we were out on a photo shoot. We being my assistant and myself. We had a couple of hours of down time between photo shoots and and the museum was close to our work sites.
The museum is located on Third Street in the Dog Patch neighborhood. It’s off the beaten track for most tourists, but it’s well worth the visit if you’re in this part of town or if you are a hardware geek.
The exhibit covers everything from the humble nut and bolt, to a microprocessor, to the space shuttle with all sorts of fascinating subjects. The exhibit originated out of an online forum called Practical Machinist. The members of the forum debated the question “What is the ultimate machine object/mechanism?” They proposed their favorite ideas in an ongoing conversation. Much of that discussion is represented in the exhibit.
May 28. Our first day of touring in Barcelona starts with a tour of La Pedrera, one of the architectural wonders created by Antoni Gaudi. Casa Mila, or La Pedrera as it is commonly known was built in the early 20th century. Construction began in 1906 and the building was finished in 1912. Well worth the tour if you are visiting Barcelona. Get your tickets ahead of time though. We arrived at 9:00 am, a little flustered since we started off on the wrong direction on our walk, and then discovered that we had left the tickets in the motel room. Internet connection was sparse so we had trouble pulling up the confirmation email on Joann’s iPhone. It seems that the clerk at the counter was gracious enough to believe our story and we were able to tour. The tour is self-guided with handsets to listen to narration about the features of the building. Gaudi in known for drawing inspiration from nature and his devotion to the Church.
The tour starts on the roof of the structure with the fanciful design of the roof vents. From there you go down the the attic where you can see the rib like structures that support the roof. The attic served as the work area for servants. The building itself was designed as an apartment building.
From the attic you go down to one of the apartments which is furnished as it might have been in the early 20th century.
May 7, 2019 2 pm. We are at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art touring an exhibit “The Sea Ranch.” The exhibit ends on June 2, so if you are a fan of architecture and California modernism this exhibit is worth seeing.
Sea Ranch is a development on the California Coast about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Architect and planner Al Boeke envisioned a community that would preserve the area’s natural beauty. Boeke hired landscape architect Lawrence Halprin to create the master plan which grew to encompass 10 miles of the Sonoma County coastline. The development is considered a beacon of modernism on the Northern California coast. The first building was completed in 1965 and the development was envisioned as a progressive, inclusive community, guided by the idealistic principles of good design, economy of space, and harmony with the natural environment.
The design guidelines require that the buildings become part of the landscape. Exteriors are unpainted wood or muted stains and the roofs lack overhanging eaves.
We found the exhibit to be quite interesting with many photos and drawings and some of Lawrence Halprin’s original notes and photos by Morley Baer .
At the moment there are some 1800 homes in the development with many of them serving as vacation rentals.
It remains to be seen what effect our Global Cooling Event will have on global temperatures. If nothing else, we raised some awareness of global warming and had some fun in the process.
The event took place as part of Dance-A-Rama 2019, an annual open studio event with free dance performances. While I do not profess to be a dancer, I have been involved with Dance-A-Rama since 2003. I had been working with dancers on a dance photography project for several years and one of the dancers suggested that I do a performance piece.
At 2:45 this afternoon, I stepped out into the middle of the performance space and invited the audience to join me. After a few minutes assigning roles to the willing audience members, we had one person holding a large inflatable globe, three people with fans cooling the earth, two people holding a scroll with the words of Brother Eagle Sister Sky, an excerpt from a speech by Chief Seattle, and three people with cameras capturing images. At the sound of a chime, the earth begins orbiting the room. The fans, and photographers follow. A reader begins reading the words on the scroll. I continue to use the chime to direct the motion of the earth. When the reading ends I thank the participants and they return to their seats. I have yet to compile the video and still images into something presentable, but here are a few stills from the event.
Dance-A-Rama is sponsored by Terrain A Dance and Performance Collective. I would like to thank fellow Terrain members Mary Reid, Ruth Botchan and former Terrain member Ann Swigart for their help with today’s piece. I would also like to thank the members of the audience that were courageous enough to leave their chairs to join us on stage. Dance-A-Rama marks a 20 year anniversary with today’s event.
March 5. My birthday! I decided to play hookie. Client work will have to wait. Started the day by walking the dog. My wife Joann joined me. Just as we were heading out the door she asks “how does 69 feel?” I think she’s referring to the weather so I responded that it doesn’t feel that warm. She replied saying that I was in denial. Perhaps. I told her I was feeling younger this week than last week. I spent a good long day Sunday in a kayak, came back exhausted and with a few sore muscles, but nothing like physical activity to make me feel younger. I said “feels like 55,” which was probably closer to the temperature outside as well. Not sure I’m willing to admit that next year is the big seven-oh. Get your party hat ready!
Claude Monet was born in 1840 in Paris and died in 1926 in Giverny. Not being much of a student of art I was surprised that he was painting in the early 20th century. I was also surprised by the size of some of the canvases, and with his fascination with water and flowers. It was an inspiration to see his work in person.
Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.
After the exhibit we headed home by way of Love at First Bite Bakery in Berkeley where we bought a cup cake, chocolate caramel sea salt.
On the evening of January 29 I decided I wanted to check out some of Ricardo Breceda’s sculptures, While Borrego Springs is notable for spring wildflowers in the surrounding desert, it’s also home to a collection of amazing sculptures, called the Metal Sky Art Sculptures. There are more than 130 sculptures here that represent everything from a 350 foot serpent that crosses the road, to dinosaurs and historical figures. I was hoping to find an opportunity to photograph a few of these on this trip. After a quick visit to a few of the sculptures the previous morning, I decided that afternoon or night time might afford some interesting photo opportunities. Our timing was a bit off though since we reached the serpent just as the shadows from the mountains were creeping across the valley floor. We only needed to wait a few minutes for sunset though which lit up the sky with color that seemed appropriate for a fiery serpent.
The sculptures were part of the vision of the late Dennis Avery, heir to the Avery Dennison label fortune and a self-made success on his own. Mr. Avery envisioned ‘free standing art’ on his property, Galleta Meadows Estates,. The steel welded sculptures were created by ‘Perris Jurassic Park’ owner/artist/welder Ricardo Breceda.
The sculptures are spread out around the north end of Borrego Springs. I had to search on-line for a map to help me locate them. They are all easily accessible and there is no fee to view them.
We noticed that bikes seemed to be quite popular in Borrego and I discovered a couple of places you can rent bikes including electric fat-tire bikes you can ride up the some of the sandy dirt roads. There are also tour operators that will take you on an off-road adventure.