The museum is quite familiar by now, of course, since we've been there several times. My thoughts on the De Young, in general, as a physical specimen: the new outside (It was closed for several years, demolished due to earthquake damage, and reopened in its new guise in 2005.) is ugly ugly ugly. It looks, to me, like something the castaways would have unearthed in the jungle on "Lost," all rusty and junky and sinister. One of Lisa's friends calls the De Young "The Gates of Mordor," for similar reasons. I've seen it called "avant-garde," to which I say ... meh. Ugly.
As to the interior? They need more drinking fountains. A girl's gotta keep hydrated while she looks at art! Otherwise, the museum's inside rocks.
And so ... on to the art itself. My conclusions after an hour or so of the "Masters of Venice" exhibition: I am most decidedly not a fan of Renaissance paintings. There were a great many portraits of bearded men wearing voluminous black clothing, several paintings of portly women wearing no clothing at all, and many many paintings of clothed portly women who looked like their lives were extremely unhappy. Some of them looked pissed off; some looked resentful; and Shannon said that the least grumpy of them just looked "stoned." There were also several Jesuses (some of whom also looked stoned) and some guys in armor, one of whom looked (to me) very sad that his armor was so heavy that it prevented him from floating away on the boat that was visible out the window over his shoulder. There were also a surprising number of Mars/Venus/Cupid scenes, all mixed in with the Jesuses, and in one of the Mars/Venus/Cupid paintings, it looked like a Christian-style winged angel might be helping them out from the sidelines. It made me a bit curious about the mingling of the religions and mythologies during that period ... but probably not curious enough to actually seek out real information. Maybe if I'd actually liked the art more I'd have more energy to do further research.
When we left that exhibit, I felt like I was being released from jail. "It is Renaissance art! The Renaissance was wonderful! You must like it!" Nooooo! Let me out!! Not my cup of artistic tea.
I did like this one Titian painting of a gargantuan man (dressed in black, of course) with a veeeerrrrry tiny head, though. It cracked me up. Seriously: check out the picture! His hands are bigger than his head!
The other exhibits we checked out while we were there were more interesting, though weirder. There was a bizarre exhibit of b&w photographs by Ralph Eugene Meatyard (a most appropriate name, given what we saw in this collection of his work) that featured all kinds of combinations of kids, doll parts, abandoned houses, decaying wood/brick/plaster, and creepy masks. Unfortunately, he seemed particularly fond of darkness as a way of conveying the creep-out factor, and so some of the photographs had so little contrast that we couldn't pick out much at all except some vague shapes. But some of the photos were pretty fun. We didn't take them very seriously and pulled our usual "cracking wise at the museum" antics, but I enjoyed the creepy kid-and-doll tableaux more than Shannon did. I appreciate the macabre more than he.
We also went to see the "New Dimensions" exhibit, which was full of stuff that was bizarre in a very different way. There were a bunch of "lead reliefs," for example, which didn't impress us much, and there was some weird bundle of periodically writhing yellow cloth with a giant silver button on its head that I quite vehemently loathed. Note: It's apparently intended to be an "ice bag," and you can see a video of it in action if you like:
But we both liked several items in a "Modern Head" series by Roy Lichtenstein. This stuff wasn't what I usually think of when someone says Lichtenstein's name (bright primary colors, comic book images, dots, etc.), but they were interesting pieces -- all on a single theme, but in a variety of different media. It was neat, seeing several variations on one idea. Here are some of the examples:
brass sculpture, "Untitled Head I"
linocut, "Modern Head #3" (I really liked this mustachioed guy with a monocle.)
three-dimensional brass relief, "Modern Head Relief"
embossed graphite with die-cut paper overlay, "Modern Head #5"
print/lithograph/linecut/embossing, "Modern Head #2"
screenprint on aluminum, "Modern Head #4"
I was going to download all these images so I could make this entry all pictorial and whatnot, but I'm too tired. So you can click on links, or you can choose not to -- it's like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" journal entry. Embrace the challenge!
It isn't like we ran any marathons or hauled any stone blocks toward a pyramid-in-progress or anything, but for some reason Shannon and I were both absolutely exhausted when we got home. Art! So very tiring! So we had dinner, gave Cobweb her sub-q fluids, and then ... zzzzzzzzz. We both fell asleep. I'm not sure how long Shannon slept, but I think I was pretty deeply unconscious for almost 2 hours. And I'm still tired now!
I blame those damn Renaissance Men. They were good at everything, or so I hear, except making me like their art! Instead, I wore myself out with trying!