SFMOMA and Catch Up Time

25 May

Woo, I suppose I haven’t had much personal time to catch up and post a blog.  Nor has Megan, for that matter.  Plus, my fingernails are extremely long making it quite a doozy to type.  Nevertheless, I’ll catch you up on our lives up to last Friday because we actually have pictures of our activity yesterday (Oakland Zoo) that I don’t feel like uploading at the moment.

So, originally on Friday, Megan and I were going to drive up to San-somewhere up north to go to a Guitar Center to sell her electric (Fender Strat).  However, we went to breakfast with her Mom and invited her to come with us.  Instead, we went to the Guitar Center in SF.  They told Megan that she could get a much better price for her guitar off of Craigslist or something.  So, we decided not to sell it there, but we did, however, buy something.

A Boss Loop pedal.  Since then, Megan’s been having a lot of fun creating songs with only vocals that sound amazing!  Each one of them – her just screwing around – sounds like a real song.  She’s so comfortable with it she’s actually improv-ing lyrics, too.

Funny thing is, I paid for the pedal because being the dirty little Oregonian I am, we wanted tax exemption.  Well, the employees had never heard of tax exemption (my second experience of this in California so far) and had no idea how to do it on their computer.  Instead, they just gave us a $30 discount which was actually more than tax exemption would do.  They were really cool about it and it was a pretty fun experience as compared to the normal pissily waiting around to fill out a 3 page sheet for a store I’ll never come back to.

After that, we went to SFMOMA to check out some artwork.  There was some pretty neat stuff, but we forgot our camera (since we originally believed we were going to San-wherever) and we only had 15 minutes to explore the last level which was some really experimental sculpture-like things.

The first floor with actual art was more like a variety of things with some Kiki Smith, a pretty neat poodle thing, and some other stuff.  I was really happy to see some Litchenstein paintings:

Especially the Cathedral ones because they’re some of the more famous ones.  I really enjoyed getting up close and looking at the precision of creating the half-tone dots.  The middle one was my favorite because some dots were a mix of blue and red and the painting created the subject through the dots on a white background.  It was also really interesting to walk away from the art and look back and see it completely different.  Even though Litchenstein is most famous for his portrayals of comic art, I’m more glad to see his other work.  However, I’m jealous I didn’t get to see the full retrospective exhibit of his work at SFMOMA a couple years back.

Here’s the one Warhol piece we saw:

Elizabeth Taylor - Warhol by BeckySnyder.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never been much of a Warhol fan, and this didn’t help much.  It’s such an easy screen print and the only thing that was interesting was the massive size of the endeavor (this image doesn’t show all of it).

We also saw some classic Duchamp with his urinal casting.  It was either the fourth or from the fourth series, I don’t remember.

Sure, it was cool, but I wasn’t blown away.  I guess there was just a lot more interesting stuff around.

For an artist I had never heard about, I really, super enjoyed Joseph Cornell’s work.  It’s incredibly intricate and time consuming.  His work often reminds me of little keepsakes that children create.  Here’s some of his work, but we didn’t see these specifically.

We also saw some classic Diego Rivera:

I’m not a huge fan of him or Frida Kahlo, but I really enjoyed seeing the age in (all of) the paintings where there would be cracks in the paint.  Or, I’d like to see the oil raising off of the canvas from a quick brush stroke; the three dimensional qualities.

There was a Picasso, too.  That was next to the prints area which was okay.  I thought it was pretty cool to see a print edition 100 out of 100.  Like the artist was thinking “Thank Goodness, it’s finally over!”… but in German.

The next floor was entirely dedicated to the Photographer Robert Frank and primarily his book “The Americans.”  I’m not a huge fan of his type of Photography which is sort of Street with a mix of Documentary.  Sure, I don’t like things posed so much, but I’m more of a fan of the abstract.  However, his craftsmenship is exquisite with beautiful contrast.  I found it most interesting seeing his contact negatives (where a whole sheet of his negatives is printed for him to figure out his favorites) and seeing how many substandard photographs he had to get to for a great one… and then seeing him acknowledge when he had a great one.  So, the process was almost more interesting than the actual photographs for me.  Nevertheless, he had some really strong juxtapositions of photographs for the book, and some really great photos in general.

The next floor had a really wonderful exhibit for William Kentridge.  He is basically the premier artist for South Africa specializing, and he explores a variety of mediums including: stop-motion video, animation, film, charcoal, abstract, theater, opera, and a bunch of other stuff.  My favorite of the exhibit was some of his newest work for a reworking of “The Nose” where an army soldier’s nose leaves his face and ends up being higher in rank than him so he tries to convince the nose to come back to his face.  This was presented through transcripts of a trial involving Stalin on one video projector along with various other videos displaying similar themes in the whole room.  You sit in the middle and ADD look around at the 7-8 different videos going on.  It was impressive that he somehow could make all of these videos work so well with each other.  Megan’s mom is now obsessed with him.  Here’s a frame of his film about going to the moon:

I find it really interesting how much he’s accomplished in such a short amount of time.  Plus, he comments on very strong topics like apartheid so he’s not an artist who’s merely trying to say something about art; he’s trying to say something about the world which I find is a greater accomplishment.  Plus, I really enjoy how he includes himself into his art.  In interviews he says it’s because it’s easier to draw himself than pay a model, but I believe it plays on a much deeper level.

Another incredibly fantastic part of his show was an idea a shitload of people would probably kill for:

Okay… so, what is this?  This is a spinning video shot down from overhead from a projector onto a circular table with a metal cylinder in the middle.  His drawings are projected onto the circular “canvas,” but are completely warped and abstract, and then, almost by accident, the viewer discovers that the metal cylinder in the middle somehow makes the warped images on the “canvas” discernable.  It’s incredibly amazing and I cannot really describe how it works (although, I have some ideas).  This is something you truly have to experience in person.

After that, we only had about 15 minutes to explore the last level.  I felt really bad for rushing through everything, and there were a lot of great picture oportunities (my head against a giant, sculptured anus!).  While heading to the brand new roof top sculpture garden, we spotted a Waldo from Where’s Waldo on top of the roof across from SFMOMA.  Apparently there’s some contest for it.

To sum up the adventures at SFMOMA: it was awesome for the $7-8 we paid to get in.


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