Nothing Artificial Here

Zhan Wang’s Artificial Rock.

January 6th was a perfect Friday.  I’ve been battling Bronchitis from my holiday excursion back East and started to feel “human” again.  As a result, what makes an artist happy?  Undoubtedly, an afternoon at the de Young Museum!  A weekday visit means no throngs of tourists and spacious walkways allowing the art to breathe.  I could roam and enjoy art at my pace.

Andy Goldsworthy’s Drawn Stone greets visitors entering the museum.  A crack starts in the sandstone starting at the de Young’s front concourse up to the main entry.  Guests walk on top of the art to see art.  According to Goldsworthy: “…When people experience this piece, it may appear as if the lines are heading in lots of different directions.  Instead, they’re all heading to the museum’s entrance.  They’re all inviting people to enter…”

Outside in the Osher Sculpture Garden, I discovered Zhan Wang’s stainless steel sculpture: Artificial Rock.  The highly reflective piece mimics the mountains in traditional Chinese painting.  The surface changes with the day’s passing of light remaining new but constant.

On the way to the de Young’s viewing deck in the Education Tower, Ruth Asawa’s amazing sculpture installation greets and delivers.  Fifteen metal wire sculptures are like frosting on a cake.  Just when you thought you’ve had a good day at the art museum, you realized it just got exceptional.

However, what makes the de Young so unique is not just the art it houses but its architecture.  Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron both born in Basel and received their architecture degrees in Zurich, designed the museum.  Herzog: “You cannot only design a building to make it beautiful.  It has to really work well with the huge crowd that is using it.”

That’s the brilliance of great art and design, it works well alone or in a crowd.

The links:

http://deyoung.famsf.org/

http://www.herzogdemeuron.com/index.html

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1610464,00.html

http://www.kqed.org/arts/programs/spark/profile.jsp?essid=4157

http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-02-23/entertainment/17143022_1_sculptures-zhan-wang-chinese

http://deyoung.famsf.org/about/architecture-and-grounds

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