de Young Museum / Birth of Impressionism Exhibit / Goldsworthy
Particularly fortunate for me was that my visit coincided with the exhibition “Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay. I attribute my birth as an artist to the works of the impressionists and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, undoubtedly has the greatest collection of works from this era. Fortunately because the Orsay is undergoing renovations there is a very rare opportunity to have a significant collection of their works travel out of France.
Being a big expensive exhibition there was a separate admission charge over the normal one for visiting the de Young. Also given the stature of this show the entry were by reserved times. We did a quick tour of part of the regular de Young exhibits then lined up for the Birth of Impressionism about 15 minutes before the 12 noon time on our tickets. I was happy when just a few minutes before 12 they let us in, well let us head downstairs to where the show is. Unfortunately downstairs we encountered another queue – much larger than the one upstairs – and so we waited…
Now I didn’t mind waiting since (I figured) that meant they were doing a good job of controlling the crowd. Unfortunately once I got in I was very disappointed – It was very crowded. The experience was not one i expect when looking at art and I must say it really detracted from the experience. I was really hoping to study these masterpieces – to look up close at the brushwork then move back, sit down and take in the whole image. Generally this just wasn’t possible. So while there were a number of the very masterpieces that I’d seen in books about Impressionism I wasn’t able to make the connection with them.
So would I recommend this exhibit? Would I have gone knowing what it would be like? Would I go again? Yes, probably. It is one of those almost once in a lifetime experiences that you just have to go to say you did. Perhaps i was just there at a bad time (midday on Sunday) but still I would have thought the point of timing entrance was to minimize this very crowding. *
So what about the rest of the museum? Well unfortunately we only spent about half an hour looking through one quarter of it before taking in the “Birth of Impressionism” and then we left to do other site seeing immediately after. I was however very excited before we even went in the front doors of the de Young, because this is what I saw:
Andy Goldsworthy ( http://www.morning-earth.org/artistnaturalists/an_goldsworthy.html ) in an artist I have admired for a long, long time. Most of his works are of a non-permanent nature ( made of nature in fact: leaves, ice, etc) and appreciated only through photography. Goldsworthy’s piece extended from the front street maybe 30 meters to the front doors of the museum. This is what it looks like:
I had fun explaining to my family that this crack was a work of art and this other crack over “here” is, well, just a crack. Joking aside i truly do admire Goldsworthy work and wish I could create like that.
especially interesting and admirable is when the one crack splits and travels up and over these large blocks of stone:
If you ever find yourself in San Francisco be sure to venture into Golden Gate park and at the absolute very least check out the Goldsworthy at the entrance to the de Young Museum.
*also worth noting is that in the fall of 2010 the de Young will be hosting a companion/follow-up exhibit entitled “Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay”. I personally would enjoy this one even more and wouldn’t miss it if I happen to be in San Francisco anytime between September 25, 2010 – January 18, 2011 – crowded or not!