Monday, December 21, 2015

21st Century Contemporary Art Museum

New Kanazawa train station with expansive glass atrium 

 Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich 

Color Activity House by Olafur Eliasson

Something that Dwells Inside Life by Kashio Satomi

Eco-Art with misspelling, artist name missing

The 21st Century Contemporary Art Museum in Kanazawa is comprised of free public access exhibitions and an admission-based (not cheap) section. Because we arrived in the late afternoon, we decided to visit areas that were free-access only. The museum is divided into multiple sections connected by white-walled corridors. It has several outdoor installations as well as segmented indoor exhibitions (painting section, eco-art section, installation section). Overall, I felt the collection was uneven. I loved Kashio's fiber art installation but many of the contemporary works by Japanese artists left me cold. I felt that the artists only grasped the surface sensibility of Western conceptual and eco-art and had not yet transformed the media into their own. 

Entrance to museum

Connecting corridors

Friday, November 27, 2015

City Walk: POPOS

"POPOS (privately-owned public open spaces) are publicly accessible spaces in forms of plazas, terraces, atriums, small parks, and even snippets that are provided and maintained by private developers," San Francisco Planning Dept. I took a City Guide walking tour today of several POPOS located South of Market between 4th and 2nd Streets. Click this link for other POPOS.

Contemporary Jewish Museum with the Four Seasons Hotel in the background

The circular shape on the Marriot represents the lotus. Their POPOS is the walkway between Mission and Market Streets

A spacious, enclosed POPOS at 101 2nd St. The space includes tables and chairs for dining and a cafe.

In the ornate lobby of the former Pacific Telephone building by architect Eliel Saarinen.  

Outdoors POPOS at 100 First Plaza

Outdoors POPOS at 100 First Plaza

535 Mission Street, glass blends into sky

City Walk: Chinatown

Early morning view of Chinatown merchant. Note soldiers standing guard on roof.

Early morning view of the Eastern Bakery, an old-fashioned sweets shop in Chinatown. My friends used to love their angel food cakes and double duck yolk moon cakes.

Originally a Chinese telephone company with Chinese women operators who had to memorize every resident's name, address and phone number to connect calls through. There was no phone book for them to look up numbers - and in any event looking up numbers would have taken too long. It took women with extraordinary memory skills to work the lines.

The Ghee Kung Tong, which is purportedly where Sun Yat Sen stayed when he visited the States from Taiwan. Now associated with Raymond Shrimp Boy Chow.

A faint outline of a door which served as an escape route for the workers and guests of the gambling and prostitution den across the way. A board would be laid across the two buildings for a quick getaway when the police raided.

A fully utilized fire escape in Chinatown

Taiwan flag over building in Chinatown

Mural art of Peking Opera singer

Dragon motif near Le Central bistro outside Chinatown

City Guide walkers basking in the bright winter sun

Monday, January 5, 2015

City Lights

I recently read an article about light installations in the City They even included a walking map. On Saturday night I decided to visit a couple of them. The curtain of lights is at the Hyatt Regency, temporarily put up for the Holidays. The lollipop lights on the right are called SOMA by the Flaming Lotus Girls. The lights interact with each other and with the viewer. The Bay Bridge Lights are the largest orchestrated LED lights in the world, created by Leo Villareal. I am happy that they are now permanently installed.

2015 Bridge Walk

January 2 is Kirk's birthday and he invites his friends to walk the bridge with him. Mike is still too injured to walk but Geoffrey agreed to walk with me. With the little exercise I've gotten in the second half of the year, I wondered if this was possible to go all the way across and all the way back. Going was a little challenging because we shared the walkway with bicyclists. Part of the appeal is the beauty of this bridge and the inevitable desire to stop and take photos. It was nearly 4 by the time I made it across, and the sun was going down on the walk back. But amazingly, the bicycles had  disappeared. They had opened the other side for bicycles and we were free to walk at our pace, take photos, and enjoy the scene. Walking the bridge each year is a validation for me that I can still do it. And a great way to greet this beautiful city that is my home.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Keith Haring The Political Line

My experience with Keith Haring has been limited to a few happy-looking sculptures in public gardens and Swatch watches..His large scale works at the DeYoung were a revelation. He turned out to have been a much more politically inclined artist than I had thought. The crowded, stylized people/animal drawings remind me of ancient friezes or hieroglyphics. And the busy imagery, like those of ancient times, are violent and disturbing when viewed up close.