At this moment the best floral designers in the Bay Area are assembling dazzling arrangements behind closed doors at the de Young Museum, readying for the opening of a Spanish-themed Bouquets to Art 2011. To call the creations "bouquets" is a misnomer; many of them are themselves sculptural artwork.
To be fully transparent, I must tell you that I've volunteered for this event and worked for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. But, honestly, I can put all that history aside to say that this is one of the most fantastic design events of the year.
The premise is simple: floral designers create arrangements inspired by artwork in the de Young's collection. This year, since the highly anticipated exhibition Balenciaga and Spain opens March 26, the event celebrates Cristobal Balenciaga's home country.
Get thee to the de Young. You have just over a week to see the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Beyond exhibit before these post-impressionist masterpieces are shipped back to the Musee d'Orsay for good. In case you didn't hear, the de Young has had the privilege of being the only museum in the world to play host to two exhibitions of work on loan from the esteemed Musee d'Orsay while it undergoes extensive renovations. The first exhibit focused on the birth of Impressionism and drew more than 432,000 visitors. Bets are, that by the time it's over, the current exhibit will have drawn even more.
If you're not island hopping this weekend at the TI Music Fest, add high art to your agenda and take advantage of this great deal: $5 admission this Saturday, 10/16, to both the de Young and the Legion of Honor in celebration of two important anniversaries for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Oh, Starry Night. I’d say my taste is more of the boundary-breaking contemporary art kind, but the Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, and Beyond exhibit currently on view at the de Young gave me a new appreciation for French art of the 19th century. And as much as I’d like to say I fell in love with a more obscure work of genius, I admit that I fell victim to the magnificent allure of Van Gogh's oft overplayed masterpiece.
Tie dye is getting its due as high art, thanks to an exhibit opening this week at the de Young. But instead of hippies and Haight Street, the inspiration for the show featuring over 50 textile artifacts from around the world comes from fashion’s current obsession with the fabric dyeing method, which has popped up on runways over the last year in collections from labels such as Gucci, Calvin Klein and Proenza Schouler.
Immortalized on dorm room walls of every undergrad from here to Beijing, it could be said that Monet's water lilies have entered the dreaded realm of cliché. But in the late 19th century, his work was revolutionary. Critics in 1874 found dappled sunlight and thick swabs of bright paint painfully offensive, and those who slathered such rot on their canvases were relegated to the fringes of the art world.
But there are no water lilies in Birth of Impressionism, the new exhibit that opened at the De Young this week. Instead, there are turkeys, a surprising number of dead fish (still lifes aren't all chrysanthemums and lemons, people), cherubs riding dolphins, and naked women rising from seashells (as naked women are wont to do).
The old Amish order is known for their devotion to God and communiy, avoidance of technology, plain clothing, and the Pennsylvania Dutch language. But Amish culture is also one of America's enduring culture of makers—farmers, canners, seamstresses, crafters, painters, and quilters. "Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown" at the de Young (through June 6) displays 48 full-sized crib quilts made between 1880 and 1940 that exemplify the traditional Amish style of bold colors and patterns.
The de Young Museum and Precita Eyes muralists have teamed up to bring a bit of the Mission to Cultural Encounters: Friday Nights at the de Young. The partnership kicks off this Friday, November 6, starting at 5pm with a free book launch party for Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo, a photographic archive of some of the Mission's most vibrant and notable murals, edited by Annice Jacoby with a foreword by Carlos Santana. The party will feature poetry, music, and a talk given by the book's editor.
If you're looking for something different to do for happy hour on Fridays, head over to the Golden Gate Park for Friday Nights at the de Young. Every Friday through November, the museum will stay open until 8:45p, with hands-on art workshops, film, poetry, lectures, and live music from Intersection for the Arts: Jazz at Intersection musicians. Tonight's featured act is VidyA, whose blend of jazz and classical Indian music SF Weekly called "madly percussive and sparkling." The cafe will stay open late and drinks are available from a no-host cocktail bar.
It's official. The Boy King is back in The Bay. It's been 30 years since the record-breaking Treasures of Tutankhamun exhibit hit San Francisco, and now Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs is ready to reign supreme at the de Young.