This weekend, I took the Caltrain up to San Francisco to visit my aunt and uncle. Saturday evening, we dined (with great beer, I might add) at Walzwerk, an East German restaurant, and then got up the next morning and headed to Golden Gate Park to visit the fantastic de Young Museum, which showcases collections of American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, and art of the native Americas, Africa, and the Pacific.
Completed in 2005 and sheathed entirely in copper and brass, the building is meant to blend into its Golden Gate Park surroundings as the copper oxidizes and turns green with age.
As it stands currently, the building is an imposing brown structure that some critics have alternately called “a huge shed,” an “Internet start-up company,” an “aircraft carrier,” a “Howard Johnson’s of the future,” “atrocious” and “ugly” (Wikipedia).
Inside, the building seems to do a better job of merging the industrial with the natural. Its use of small atriums filled with ferns and other greenery, plus rough concrete and open-air spaces gives the interior a ruggedness found in both nature and in modern industrial life, while the building’s interesting and unexpected turns and angles suggest some of the whimsical, yet mathematical, properties of natural life.
The Entry Way
The angular museum entrance and courtyard houses an intersting sculptural installation by stone artist Andy Goldsworthy, named Drawn Stone, that features one long, continuous crack that winds through the flooring and several large stones placed throughout the courtyard.
A view of the courtyard from above
The museum cafe
Cool wire sculptures by Ruth Asawa decorate the sparse corridors leading to the observatory elevator.
The observation platform at the top of the museum’s tower had an unexpectedly intimate view of San Francisco.
Also seen from above is the new Planetarium being constructed across the way from the de Young, scheduled to be completed in 2008.
Some Indoor and Outdoor Art
My aunt and I sitting on the upside-down apple sculptures. We missed the “please do not sit on the apples” sign on the other side of the garden.
The Safety Pin, by Claes Oldenburg
Some indoor abstract paintings
An African tapestry made out of discarded bottle caps. Coolness.
An African wood sculpture
The de Young Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Admission is $6 for College Students with ID, and the first Tuesday of every month is FREE admission. See Visiting the Museum on the de Young website for more information.
More great photos of the museum can be found here.