Marching On—Terra Cotta Warriors exhibition at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum closes Monday, May 27, 2013
Of course, ten Terra Cotta Warriors—the maximum allowable number to travel outside of China at any time —are the stars of the Asian Art Museum’s breathtaking exhibition, China’s Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor’s Legacy, which closes on Memorial, Monday, May 27, 2013. Made of earthenware, they are in armor and both standing and kneeling, and all of them were hand-picked by the AAM’s director Jay Xu for the unforgettable exhibition kicking off the Asian’s 10th year in its present Civic Center location.
First unearthed in 1974, these representatives of the army amassed by China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang (259-210 BCE) to guard him in the afterworld, are presented without glass barricades. There are also several life-size horses. Visitors can see them all up close and at eye level and marvel at their distinct personalities and craftsmanship in a beautifully-lit environment more intimate than that in China. In China, the burial complex is so vast that visitors gazing down upon it from several yards distance, cannot get a close-up experience. At the Asian, rich details emerge from multiple viewing angles and comparisons can be made between the finest examples of warriors of several ranks. One of the figures on display, an armored kneeling archer, retains traces of his original pigment. Another, a very rare massive general, one of nine unearthed from the tomb so far, wears a uniform adorned with fluid looking ribbons, an indication of his high status. All have elaborate hair-dos. Even the horses have slightly different faces indicating a high degree of craftsmanship.
The entire first floor of the museum is dedicated to the exhibit which also includes 110 other recovered items which explore the themes of Immortality, Innovation, Archaeology and Unification. Particularly stunning are several life size bronze water birds discovered in 2001from a pit thought to represent a royal park or sacred water garden.
We’ve come to rely on excellent scholarship from the Asian, but this exhibition, presented in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau, the Shaanxi Cultural Promotions and the People’s Republic of China, presents the 8th wonder of the ancient world as it’s never been seen before.
Best times to visit: weekday afternoons or Thursday evenings after 5 p.m. when it costs just $10. Worse time—weekend. The Asian Art Museum is located at 200 Larkin Street (at Civic Center Plaza), San Francisco. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $20 Adults; $16 seniors, students; $8 youth 13-17 and free to 12 and under. On weekends, admission is $2 more. Parking: The Asian Art Museum does not have a parking facility, but it is served by the following parking facilities—all within walking distance of the museum: Civic Center Plaza Garage is the closest and most reasonably priced has 840 spaces. From Van Ness, turn left on McAllister. Entrance is on McAllister, between Polk and Larkin Streets. Info: www.asianart.org.
Wine Country Museums: “Napa Valley Collects” focuses on Napa Valley’s elite art collectors, at the Napa Valley Museum through May 26, 2013
Margrit Mondavi, Jan Shrem, Francis and Eleanor Coppola, Norman and Norah Stone, Donald Hess, Ronald and Anita Wornick, Peter and Kirsten Bedford—you’ve heard their names and likely attended some Bay Area cultural event they’ve bankrolled. “Napa Valley Collects,” at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, closes next Sunday, May 26th 2013. This important exhibition features 65 exquisite and quite diverse artworks representing 53 artists from 30 Napa Valley collectors, many of them well-known patrons of the arts and some who are just starting their collecting journey. Fifty-six of these artworks, including pieces from Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Helen Frankenthaler, Wayne Thiebaud, Joan Brown, Matthew Barney, Stephen DeStabler, and Peter Voulkos are installed in private homes, so this is the public’s only chance to view them. Several years in gestation, the exhibition is guest curated by Ann Trinca, of Napa, and is presented in partnership with Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley. Sadly, there is no catalogue but grab a guide off the counter and you’ll get some useful background information on the collectors and artworks represented. Below, is a photo gallery that includes some of the collectors and artworks in the exhibition.
Best times to visit: mornings on weekends or weekdays to avoid wine country traffic jams. Worse times: weekend afternoons and evenings—extreme traffic coming from St. Helena and around Sonoma.
To read ARThound’s previous coverage of “Napa Valley Collects,” click here.
Details: Situated mid-valley in the historic town of Yountville, between St. Helena and Napa, Napa Valley Museum is located at 55 Presidents Circle in Yountville next to the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. Admission: $5; $3.50 seniors; $2.50 youth under 17. Info: www.NapaValleyMuseum.org.
It’s International Museum Day and admission is FREE Friday, May 16, at the de Young and Legion of Honor
A fabulous Friday freebie—in celebration of International Museum Day, visitors to the de Young Museum and Legion of Honor can enjoy free general admission all day on Friday, May 17, 2013. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Tickets to see Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis and Rembrandt’s Century will be only $15 instead of $25. Both of these shows close on Sunday June 2, so there are just three viewing weekends remaining.
The de Young will also be open 9:30 am-5:15 pm on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27. Regular admissions fees do apply.
International Museum Day: Every year since 1977, International Museum Day is held worldwide sometime around May 18. In 2012, 32,000 museums from 129 countries on five continents participated in the event.
Details: The de Young Museum is located at Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
“Napa Valley Collects”— the Napa Valley Museum offers a rare peek at art from Napa Valley’s exclusive collectors
In addition to its treasured vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Napa Valley is also home to some exclusive private art collections. Exquisite artworks that have been quietly hanging in Napa County homes for years, including pieces from Marc Chagall, Helen Frankenthaler, Wayne Thiebaud, and Joan Brown, will be the focus of “Napa Valley Collects,” at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville, from April 4th through May 26th 2013.
The exhibition features 65 artworks from 30 Napa Valley collectors and represents 53 artists. Fifty-six of these artworks are installed in private homes, so this is the public’s only chance to view them. Many of the donors are celebrated patrons of the arts in general—Margrit Mondavi, Jan Shrem, Francis and Eleanor Coppola, Norman and Norah Stone, Ronald and Anita Wornick, Peter and Kirsten Bedford, and more. Several years in gestation, the exhibition is guest curated by Ann Trinca, of Napa, and is presented in partnership with Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley. A special preview party, with many of the collectors in attendance, will kick off Napa Valley Collects this Thursday, April 4, from 6-8 p.m., and will feature select Napa Valley wines, live music from the Johnny Smith Group, and culinary treats from Rutherford’s celebrated Auberge du Soleil.
I had the pleasure of meeting curator Ann Trinca, while researching a magazine article on Napa Valley collectors and can attest to the difficulty and delicacy of forging fruitful relations with these high profile residents who are very busy and protective of their privacy. Having built or inherited empires earlier in their lives, their concerns are now turned towards legacy and many of them want to be taken seriously as collectors and benefactors who are building a cultural foundation for future generations. Trinca was allowed into some of the most exquisite homes in the Napa Valley, which she described as a “delirious thrill,” and was largely given free rein to choose artworks from the lenders’ outstanding collections. She chose pieces that were “reflective of their taste and collecting journey.”
Mondavi, Shrem, and Coppola are household names in the Wine Country–you may have visited their wineries and seen portions of their collections but their private collecting habits have not been fully explored. The exhibition will share some “love at first sight” stories about these lenders and their artworks and the special relationships that they formed with the artists in their collections. It will also introduce some less visible but important collectors to the public such as Ron and Anita Wonick, of St. Helena and San Francisco and Peter and Kirsten Bedford.
The Wornicks are not household names but, over the past 30 years, they have amassed one of the most important conceptual craft collections in the country, earning the respect of prominent museums worldwide for their efforts to elevate these finely executed works to the level of fine art. For Napa Valley Collects, the couple lent two works by Northern Irish glass artist Clifford Rainey.
The Wornicks have a longstanding appreciation for Rainey’s work. His “Shy Boy” (2005) was one of 250 artworks from their conceptual craft collection— wood, ceramics, glass, fiber, and metal artworks—that they bequeathed to the Boston Fine Arts Museum. Ron Wornick, who founded the The Wornick Company, amassed part of his fortune through creating and mass-producing MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat) a next-generation of individual combat meals or C-rations for soldiers which revolutionized the way soldiers ate in the field. The rest came when he sold his company. Wornick, a woodworker himself, has a special passion for wood. He and his wife are enthusiastically nurturing and supporting wood artists through purchases, endowments, and fellowships and pushing to get wood its long due recognition in the country’s leading museums. The Wornicks own Seven Stones winery in St. Helena, named after Richard Deutch’s mammoth sculpture, “Seven Stones” which marks the entrance to the property.
Peter and Kirsten Bedford, of Walnut Creek and Napa Valley, have lent three works by Roy DeForest. The Bedfords both have business backgrounds. He was a leading property developer in California and spread out to cable television, radio and restaurants and she was the publisher of Bedford Arts from 1986 to 1991 and is very active on museum boards. They both attended Stanford and supported its Cantor Arts Center with the “Bedford Sentinels,” a trio of bronze works by artist Beverly Pepper situated at the corner of Serra and Galvev Streets on campus. The Bedfords also endowed Walnut Creek’s Bedford Gallery, the largest community-based visual arts facility between the Bay Area and Sacramento. This contemporary art space is housed in the City of Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts.
In the contemporary art world, collectors and philanthropists Norman and Norah Stone, of San Francisco and Napa Valley, are fabled for Stonescape, their fabulously engineered art cave nestled near Calistoga, where they host art happenings for a select and highly international crowd. Norman Stone is the son of Clement Stone, the billionaire insurance magnate and self-help author. The Stones are Trustees of SFMOMA and collaborate with New York art advisor and collector Thea Westreich. They have lent an early Matthew Barney piece to the exhibition, piece they purchased well before Barney captured he attention of the art world.
Their last happening “Politics is Personal,” in 2012, addressed the notion of political viewpoint. Artworks by Joseph Beuys, Jeff Koons, Catherine Opie, Richard Prince, Taryn Simon, Piotr Uklanski, and others explored topics that are inherently political—gender, alienation, freedom of thought, war and violence. “Our art addresses upsetting issues and I don’t feel good about them, but they exist and should not be shirked,” said Norman Stone (quote extracted from 3.2.2012 article Politics is Personal by Thea Westreich Art Advisory Services.) Rubbing elbows with the Stones is always delightful.
Several of the exhibition participants preferred to remain anonymous. One of these generously lent two Picasso lithographs that will be prominently displayed.
“Exploring these amazing Napa Valley Collections, it was encouraging to learn that many patrons collect locally,” said Trinca. “Out of the fifty-four artists included in the exhibition, forty of them are California artists. As the self-proclaimed “artaholic” Rene di Rosa believed, the art of our region defines our local culture. In part, this exhibition helps describe the Napa Valley through the passions of its residents.”
“We are thrilled to host an exhibition of this caliber,” said Kristie Sheppard, the museum’s executive director since 2011. “We’ve pulled together something unique and substantial that will delight our patrons and visitors.” Sheppard noted that 300 people had already purchased tickets to Thursday’s special opening party.
Collectors: Thomas Bartlett, Kirsten & Peter Bedford, T. Beller, Joanne & Ronald Birtcher, Dale & Marla Bleecher, Lee & Moira Block, Stacey & Bob Bressler, Chandra Cerrito & Lewis de Soto, Liz Christensen & Richard Meese, Eleanor & Francis Ford Coppola, di Rosa, Hess Collection, Austin & Sarah Hills, Angela Hoxsey, Dick and Ann Grace, Margrit Mondavi, Val and Bob Montgomery, Louise Newquist, John Nyquist, Marden Plant, Michael Polenske, Felicia and Chuck Shinnamon, Norman and Norah Stone, Janna Waldinger and Anita & Ron Wornick
Artists Represented: Robert Arneson, Thomas Bartlett, Peter Beard, Robert Bechtel, Joan Brown, Squeak Carnwath, Marc Chagall, Enrique Chagoya, Jennifer Clark (Skonovd), Ronald Davis, Wiilard Dixon, Roy DeForest, Stephen DeStaebler, Veronica di Rosa, Helen Frankenthaler, Robilee Frederick, Susan Freedman, Viola Frey, Gade, David Gilhooly, Charles Ginnever, Ransome Holdridge, Tom Holland, David Ireland, William Keith, Alphonse-Maria Mucha, Arne Nyback, Nathan Oliveira, Deborah Oropallo, Pablo Picasso, Alexander Rodchenko, Lordy Rodriguez, Tsherin Sherpa, Dale Snyder, Wayne Thiebaud, Earl Thollander, Cy Twombly, Peter VandenBerge, Peter Voulkos, William T Wiley, Ken Jan Woo
Arts in April™: Napa Valley Collects is a participant of Arts in April™, the valley’s third annual, month-long tasty blend of wine and local culture that offers winery art installations, pop-up exhibitions and tastings—sponsored by Arts Council Napa Valley and Visit Napa Valley.
Details: The preview party for Napa Valley Collects is April 4, from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $100 and are available online (www.brownpapertickets.com/event/338822) or by phone (707.944.0500). In addition to the exhibition, public programming will include gallery tours (free with the price of museum admission), on April 20th and May 18th, as well as a screening of film Art of the Steal on April 25th at 7p.m. Reservations are required.
Situated mid-valley in the historic town of Yountville, between St. Helena and Napa, Napa Valley Museum is located at 55 Presidents Circle in Yountville next to the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. For more information visit www.NapaValleyMuseum.org.
Finally! The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announces a New Director, Colin Bailey, from the Frick Collection
After much anticipation, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) named its new director today, filling the position left vacant since the death of John Buchanan 15 months ago. Colin Bailey, currently associate director and chief curator of the Frick Collection in Manhattan and a noted curator and award-winning author will step into the position on June 1, 2013. Bailey was selected after an exhaustive year-long international search by a 13-member selection committee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Board of Trustees. The announcement was made today at 1 p.m. at the de Young Museum at a highly attended press conference officiated by FAMSF president and board chair Diane B. Wilsey (Dede) with guest speaker San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. At today’s press conference it was made clear that Bailey will initiate a new mandate “moving beyond the museums’ reputation as a home for blockbuster exhibitions to focus more on its permanent collections.”
Diane B. Wilsey said of Bailey, who did not attend today’s press conference, “we all agree that Colin has the qualities that will elevate the museums to the next level.” She added that Bailey will keep “the focus on curatorial excellence, art historical relevance, and continued service to our community.” She also added that John Buchanan had been a lot of “fun to work with” and that that Colin was also “fun.”
Wilsey’s camaraderie with the late Buchanan was legendary and the two, whom ARThound dubbed “the dynamic duo” were responsible for the coup that brought the celebrated French Impressionism shows to San Francisco in 2010. (Read about that here.)
Mayor Ed Lee spoke enthusiastically of Bailey’s selection, acknowledging the difficulty of the search process and thanking the Board of Trustees. In a video shown at the press conference, (watch it below), Bailey said the appointment is “a dream come true,” and his purpose in The City will be “to conserve, to show, to educate.”
Normally, ARThound does not repost news from other websites or journalists but Janos Gereben, emailed me his article for the The Examiner (sfexaminer.com) about today’s appointment of Bailey and his reporting on his salary is excellent. Janos has written a series of articles leading up to today’s appointment, which can be found at www.sfexaminer.com. He shared with me that he got Bailey’s earnings at the Frick using old-school reportage—he looked up his tax records which are publicly accessible. Here then quoting Janos…
“From a small but world-renowned private institution, Bailey is moving to a San Francisco city government organization, which is responsible for the de Young and California Legion of Honor museums. He will manage 550 employees, some on The City’s payroll, most paid by the nonprofit Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (COFAM).
Frick operates on a $22 million budget, has 330,000 visitors a year, against FAMSF’s 1.6 million visitors and $54 million operating budget.
Compensation, at least on paper, doesn’t reflect those differences in size: Bailey’s salary at the Frick was $235,000 in FY 2011, according to the latest IRS report available.
His position here is “Director of Museums, City and County of San Francisco Classification 0963, Department Head III,” which has a base salary under $100,000; he is expected to receive additional funding and perks from private sources and COFAM.”
Today’s press conference was scheduled for noon but began close to 1 p.m. due to late running Board of Trustees meeting, where Bailey was officially approved. The scuttlebutt among the press, impatient for the show to get on, ran the gamut from speculation about the delay in announcing a new director to criticism of Wilsey’s leadership during the recent period of curator dismissals and staff resignations to the organization’s press relations team which has recently been in flux. Several FAMSF curators were in attendance and they too seemed to eagerly await the announcement, one acknowledging that things had been “unsettled.”
At the press conference, Wilsey explained that the board meeting was delayed until today, to give Bailey “the courtesy of talking his own [Frick] board, which he did yesterday.” This, she said, enabled Bailey “to give proper notice.” He will start at FAMSF on June 1, 2013. She did not explain why the trustees’ meeting itself ran late.
Colin Bailey, the new Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in an introductory video screened at today’s press conference
More about Colin Bailey: Born in London, Bailey earned his doctorate in art history at Oxford University. He specializes in 18th- and 19th-century French art, was named Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1994 for his contribution to French culture and was promoted to Officier in 2010. He also held a residency under Henri Loyrette, the former president and director of the Louvre in Paris. He has been chief curator of the Frick since 2000, when he narrowly lost the competition for the museum’s directorship. Previously, he worked at the Getty Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kimbell Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada, where he was deputy director and chief curator. He is returning to California 30 years after a fellowship at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu.
He has organized more than two dozen exhibitions, including the recent Renoir, Impressionism and Full-Length Painting at the Frick, many of which have represented new scholarship and have been praised for providing keen insights into individual artists. Other exhibitions include Masterpieces of European Painting from Dulwich Picture Gallery; Renoir’s Landscapes, 1865-1883; and Rembrandt and His School: Masterworks from the Frick and Bailey’s many publications include The Loves of the Gods: Mythological Painting from Watteau to David; Masterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection; and Patriotic Taste: Collecting Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Paris, the book that won the Mitchell Prize.
Colin Bailey and his partner will be spending the Easter holiday here in the Bay Area, having Easter dinner with Wilsey at her home and finalizing the signing on a spacious apartment that the couple will share with their dog. Details on the dog to follow…
ARThound’s most recent coverage of the Frick Collection— ARThound in New York: A Dresden goldsmith and court jeweler works his magic and catalogues it in small booklets—“Gold, Jasper and Carnelian” at The Frick Collection through August 19, 2012
Get your warp on! Draping expert and pattern designer Sandy Ericson and 4 weaving artists give live demos in the galleries today (February 16) at the Petaluma Arts Center
If you haven’t stopped by the Petaluma Arts Center yet to see their exciting new exhibit, 4 Weavers: Contemporary Expressions of an Ancient Craft, Saturday afternoon (Feb. 16, 2013), from 2 to 4 p.m., is a good time to visit. Internationally recognized Bay Area fiber Artists/weavers Barbara Shapiro, Suki Russack, Ulla de Larios and Candace Crockett, whose work is featured in the exhibit, will be giving live weaving demonstrations on looms in the galleries. Sandra Erickson, founder of St. Helena’s the Center for Pattern Design (CPFD), who designed several pieces of clothing in the exhibit, will be demonstrating some fascinating draping principles. What’s made very clear in this captivating show, expertly curated by Kathleen Hanna, is that weaving, considered a craft by some, is a practice with sophisticated principles of form and color that are every bit as evolved as those employed in painting and sculpting. The exhibition, which runs through March 10, 2013, features over 40 multi-dimensional woven artworks, ranging from sculptural textiles to woven baskets to clothing and costumes.
“From pre-history to the industrial revolution, all textiles have been handwoven,” said Hanna. “Today, the hand loom is a tool for creating fabulous three dimensional sculptures as well as elegant textiles for clothing design. This project presented the opportunity to show extraordinary contemporary work and the chance to dispel some of the common myths about hand weaving that probably began in the early 20th century. Beyond the fine and intricate weaving you’ll see here, these artists are not afraid to cut into, sew, and manipulate what they’ve woven and that gives them tremendous creative freedom.”
The four featured artists, all currently living and working in the Bay Area, have been part of the same weaving community for the past 30 years. All of them have either studied or worked with Candace Crockett, legendary for her creative and inspirational studio courses at San Francisco State University’s Art Department, where she has taught since 1974. An important theme in Crockett’s work is the innovative use of historical and ethnic techniques and imagery. She has been studying Kuba patterns for decades and revisioning them into patterns that have deep associations for her. The Kuba are part of the African country that has been called Zaire, the Congo, and the Republic of Congo and their patterned images, which have a spontaneous and improvisational quality, incorporate simple geometrical shapes in a variety of repeats. Their textiles are embroidered with raffia on a woven raffia ground. Crockett works extensively with dyeing, repetition, and dimensional surfaces that absorb and reflect light. “I build my patterns by manipulating the fabric, cutting up images, and by layering the repeats through printed and painted dye, and by adding and subtracting color. The complexity that comes from color, weave structure, and pattern changing from band to band, builds a whole that reminds me of light playing on a landscape at different times of the day.” (from the artist’s statement)
While Crockett has influenced each of the artists in the show, over the years, each has pursued her own unique path of artistic development, from Barbara Shapiro’s passionate exploration of indigo and its place in her meditative weavings to Ulla de Larios’ three-dimensional textile sculptures to Suki Russack’s voluptuous warp ikat women and her flowing dance costumes. And while each of these women might be associated with a certain technique or series of work, the exibition shows that they’ve built their reputations through bold experimentation and by welcoming the cross-polinization of other art forms. Of course, because weaving is so time intensive and requires a significant investment of effort up front, it requires a special persistence and a certain kind of zen attitude. Barbara Shapiro likens this to “being OK with failing and then seeing that you haven’t failed but moved in a new direction.”
“I like to tell people what any particular work of mine takes whatever time I’ve put into it, plus 30 years of experience,” say Shapiro. “and that’s hard won experience.”
One of the works that struck me strongly was Shapiro’s “Silver moon,” a small and quiet woven silk tussah landscape whose fibers seemed to hold a trove of memories. At no more than 15 x 15 inches, it is so masterfully woven that its delicate indigo sprigs seem in protective harmony with the silvery sphere. It feels timeless, Asian and alive. Shapiro, a weaver, dyer, and basket maker who works with and teaches indigo dyeing, has done a number of these moonscapes, each seemingly etched in history and each a subtle exploration of indigo. She is teaching “Greener Indigo,” an all day seminar on February 23, which will explore non-toxic indigo dyeing procedures and resist techniques. Resist dyeing involves clamping fabric/fiber/paper or using some method that will inhibit it from taking dye and then submerging it a dye vat. This is just one of several informative seminars associated with this thoughtful exhibition.
In the video below, Shapiro chats at the exhibition’s opening about the various techniques she employed to create “Silver Moon” which has a particularly intriguing texture and color.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of sitting in on Sandy Ericson’s sold-out three-hour class, “Draping the Vionnet Bias Cut Skirt,” in which she demonstrated the basic principles of draping a la 1930’s pattern designer Madeleine Vionnet. Sandra taught fashion design, pattern design, and textile courses at City College of San Francisco (CCSF) for 31 years. In 2006, she established the Center for Pattern Design (CFPD) in her hometown of St. Helena, as a way to focus on the actual art of cutting and draping cloth. At CFPD, Ericson teaches advanced courses in cutting, draping, pattern design and construction and takes these courses on the road. She is the turn-to resource for a lot of fashion insiders and museum curators and is a respected authority on French designer Madeleine Vionnet who pioneered draping on the bias, the bias cut and ruled haute couture in the 1930’s. Vionnet designed sensual gowns for Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, and Greta Garbo that did marvelous things for their bodies. I’ll be posting more about Sandy and her innovative teaching methods later but here is a clip of Sandy explaining what draping is, why it’s so important in clothing design and why draping is sculpting. If you drop by the Petaluma Arts Center today, don’t miss her refreshingly straight-forward and time-saving approach to designing clothing that really fits.
Details: “Four Weavers – Pathways in Contemporary Fiber Art,” runs through March 10, 2013. The Petaluma Arts Center is located at 230 Lakeville Street, Petaluma. Free parking is available at the center. Hours: Thursday-Monday noon to 4 p.m.
Suddenly, it’s “Snow White’s” moment. Adaptations of the 19th century Brothers Grimm fairy tale are popping up everywhere, from J. Searle Dawley’s 1916 silent feature “Snow White” to Walt Disney’s 1937 animated classic to Spanish director Pablo Berger’s Oscar-nominated 2012 “Blancanieves.” There are two Hollywood films—Rupert Sanders’ 2012 action adventure “Snow White and the Huntsman” and Tarsem Singh’s 2012 “Mirror Mirror” with Julia Roberts as the couture-clad queen—and the TV series, “Once Upon a Time” which has a woman with a troubled past in a New England town where fairy tales characters are real. At its core, the Snow White story is one of transformation. A motherless and oppressed young girl—with hair as dark as ebony, skin as white as snow and lips as red as blood— defies death and matures into a young woman whose heart of gold is obvious to all. Her victory requires suffering, a journey into a dark forest, hard work, and a healing kiss. If you’re a fan of the enchanting story, here are three “Snow White” film events in the Bay Area you’ll want to catch—
Disney Museum’s 75th anniversary celebration of Walt Disney’s 1937 film— Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic, at the Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco, through April 14, 2013. Art exhibition, two new books, daily screenings of “Snow White”
Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was the first full-length animated feature in motion picture history, the first film produced in full color and the first to be produced by Walt Disney Productions. The Walt Disney Family Museum, at San Francisco’s Presidio, is celebrating this revered film’s 75th anniversary with a comprehensive retrospective, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: The Creation of a Classic (November 15-April 14, 2013), two new books, and almost daily 4 p.m. screenings of “Snow White.” (check the screening schedule here.)
Guest Curated by Lella Smith, Creative Director of the Walt Disney Company’s Animation Research Library (ARL) in Los Angeles, the exhibition features over 200 artworks, including conceptual drawings, character studies, detailed story sketches, and animation drawings, along with thumbnail layout watercolors, pencil layouts, rare watercolor backgrounds, and vintage posters. Many of these have never been exhibited before and appear for the first time in print in the exhibition catalogue written by Disney scholar J.B. Kaufman. The artworks are drawn from the Disney Family Museum and from the ARL which acquired an important collection of cleanup animation, layouts, backgrounds and Snow White story sketches from art collector Steve Ison about five years ago.
If you haven’t visited the museum before, now is the time to go as this is a delightful and comprehensive exploration of the film and all that went into it. It is also the museum’s first exhibit in its elegant special exhibition hall in the Riley building, just behind the main museum. Built in 1904, this spacious hall was previously the military post’s gymnasium.
Especially fascinating are the detailed story sketches which trace the evolving storyline that Walt Disney and his artists had for the film and the massive collaborative process this entailed. It literally took a village—32 animators, 1032 assistants, 107 “in-betweeners,” 10 layout artists, 25 background artists, 65 special effects animators, 158 inkers and painters and countless production staff—working non-stop for three years.
The exhibition shows every aspect of this collaboration from concept to layout to design—and everything is painstakingly hand-drawn. Also on display is artwork from scenes that were never fully developed, or that were deleted from the film such as one of Dopey where he is sent up to look for Snow White, or one in which the dwarfs build and carve a bed for Snow White, and another in which she dances in the stars.
“Snow White” continues to garner accolades—it is on the American Film Institute’s 2007 list of the 100 greatest American films of all time, ranking 34th and in 2008, the AFI also named it “the greatest American animated film of all time.”
Two lavish publications, both by film historian and Disney scholar J.B. Kaufman, trace the film and its art work in breathtaking detail. These were published in November 2012 when the exhibition opened at the Disney Family Museum.
The hardcover catalogue, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: the Creation of a Classic (2012, 256 pages) covers the entire exhibition and includes never-before-seen art and behind-the-scenes stories. The book, The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (2012, 320 pages) is the definitive story of the film. It covers the origins of the fairy tale, the impact that the 1916 silent feature had on Walt Disney, the genesis of each sequence in the picture, the conception and development of each of the characters, the merchandising the film generated, the film’s success in subsequent theatrical reissues, and the reuse of the Dwarfs in a handful of wartime short films.
J. Searle Dawley’s 1916 silent feature film “Snow White”—screens Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 10 a.m. at Castro Theatre, San Francisco as part of The San Francisco Silent Winter Film Festival sponsored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival (SFSFS).
Thought of as a lost film until a print was recently found in the Netherlands and restored, this 1916 motion picture feature stars Marguerite Clark as Snow White. Clark was 33 at the time and had played the role in the popular 1912 play “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Clark’s popularity in the play and other Broadway productions had led to a silent film contract in 1914 with Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. The 1916 film is one of the first features that Walt Disney watched as a 16-year old newsboy in Kansas City and would remember all his life. Disney attended a special free screening attended by sixteen thousand children, all packed into the Kansas City Convention Center. The hall was arranged with four separate screens set in the center of the room and the children circled round. Four projectors ran simultaneously and the film included live musical accompaniment. “I thought it was the perfect story. It had the sympathetic dwarfs, you see? It had the heavy. It had the prince and the girl. The romance. I just thought it was a perfect story.” Walt Disney
“Although this film is quite different from Disney’s animated film, I think you can see sparks of Marguerite Clark’s performance in Walt’s Snow White,” said Anita Monga, SFSFS Artistic Director. “There are also big differences, notably in the depiction and feel of the wicked stepmothers.”
The website “A Lost Film blog” (www.alostfilm.com) has a fascinating side-by-side comparison of film stills from the 1916 film with the 1937 Disney film, showing four cases where Disney drew heavy inspiration from the 1916 film (click here to go to the article)
Film historian and Disney scholar J.B. Kaufman will introduce the film on Saturday and speak about its enduring impact on Walt Disney who was clearly influenced by the film but made his own artistic statement through brilliant and unforgettable animation.
Following the screening, Kaufman will sign his two new books on Snow White, which will be for sale, in the lobby of the Castro Theatre (“Snow White” screens February 16, 2013 10 a.m. with Musical Accompaniment by Donald Sosin on grand piano and Introduction by J.B. Kaufman.
“Blancanieves,” Spanish director Pablo Berger’s mesmerizing Oscar-nominated black and white silent film—coming soon to select Bay Area theatres
A spellbinding original! This lush black and white silent film from 2011 inventively situates the Snow White story in 1920’s Seville where a young girl Carmen/Snow White (played as a child by Sofía Oria, and later by Macarena García) is the daughter of the once-renowned matador Antonio Villalta (Daniel Giménez Cacho). He was crippled in the ring and is still grieving for his wife, who died during childbirth. Carmen is brought up by her flamenco dancer grandmother (Ángela Molina), then tormented by her tyrannical narcissistic stepmother Encarna (Maribel Verdú). She is secretly schooled in the art of bullfighting by her father, just before his malicious new wife enacts a terrible revenge on him. Knowing that she’s in grave danger, Carmen escapes Encarna’s custody and joins a travelling troupe of bullfighting dwarves, eventually rising to fame in the corrida under the stage name Blancanieves. The drama, infused with fascinating story twists, is propelled by Alfonso de Vilallonga’s hypnotic musical score which includes thrilling flamenco passages. Kiko de la Rica’s chiaroscuro photography, with its compelling close-ups, adds even more interest to this remarkable dram. (2011, 104 minutes, in Spanish with English subtitles, Spain’s official foreign language entry to the 2013 Academy Awards.) To see this film, check the listings for art-house theatres that are screening Oscar nominees. Last month, the film screened to a full house at San Rafael’s Smith Rafael Film Center and it is sure to emerge again. With its cinematography and captivating story, this is a silent film to savor on the big screen.
I’ve written about clever British Television ads and ranted about Super Bowls ads that backfired but here’s an ad campaign from the folks at VisitScotland for 2103 Year of Natural Scotland that I ADORE. Bottom line—it’s all about branding and I stand with the ponies! I want to visit Scotland, wrap myself in natural fibers and see these wee Shetland ponies in their native surroundings, roaming over the heather clad hillsides of the Shetland Isles.
The photographer is Rob McDougall and these adorable Scottish ambassadors—Fivla and Vitamin— are purebred Shetland ponies from the Thordale Shetland Stud Centre. They stand about 42 inches high and are wearing cardigans made of Shetland wool created for them by Shetland knitter Doreen Brown, of Shetland Collection. Posing in these plush winter woollies against a backdrop of breathtaking Scottish landscapes, the duo have become international stars.
Here’s a YouTube video of the two getting dressed.
Jay DeFeo shows are closing—“Renaissance on Fillmore” at Napa’s Di Rosa Preserve and “Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective,” at SFMoMA
Anyone interested in artist Jay DeFeo—and who isn’t?—should not miss two important shows which are closing this week.
Situated in Napa Valley’s Carneros region amidst a lake and wildlife preserve is di Rosa, visionary collector Rene di Rosa’s art-filled paradise, one of the Northern California’s most important contemporary art collections. Its impressive stone Gatehouse Gallery is pure poetry. Situated on the edge of a bird-filled lake, with a wall of windows to take in the panoramic view, the space is filled with natural light and a sense of openness. It houses rotating exhibitions which draw from di Rosa’s own collection and which offer a look at important work by emerging and established artists, all with an essential link to the Bay Area.
“Renaissance on Fillmore, 1955-65” is a compact gem, thoughtfully curated by Michael Schwager, chairman of Sonoma State University’s Art and Art History Department and a former di Rosa curator. It brings together works from 17 artists, including Jay DeFeo and Wally Hedrick, who were a pivotal part of the remarkable and eclectic group of painters, poets and musicians who came together in San Francisco’s upper Fillmore district between 1955 and 1965 and literally changed the course of American art. The 17 featured artists either lived and worked in the building at 2322 Fillmore or were active in the neighborhood’s pioneering art galleries, such as the Six Gallery, King Ubu, and Batman Gallery. Works by Paul Beattie, Joan Brown, William H. Brown, Jerry Burchard, Bruce Conner, Jean Conner, Jay DeFeo, Sonia Gechtoff, Dave Getz, Wally Hedrick, Craig Kauffman, James Kelly, Les Kerr, Hayward King, Ed Moses, Deborah Remington, and David Simpson are included, along with photographs, posters, and exhibition announcements documenting this extraordinary period in Bay Area art.
Northern, California seemed an especially welcoming environment for both Abstract Expressionist painting and this new hybrid of art, music, and literature that was lumped under the rather inelegant rubric “Beat,” a word with multiple associations—the rhythm of Bebop jazz, the cadence of spoken poetry, or the sometime desperate conditions under which these artists struggle to create their work. (Michael Schwager, curator)
There are three works by DeFeo in this show, all from 1957-58, as well as three portraits of her in her Fillmore Street apartment/studio taken by Jerry Burchard in 1958. No matter the scale, whether it is a 4×6 inch graphite and colored pencil drawing or “Song of Innocence,” (1957), a 40 x40 inch oil painting which presents a flurry of pastel colored brush strokes organically bursting into a flaming bloom, DeFeo was a master of her space.
If you go, don’t skip Swinging in the Shadows: San Francisco’s Wild History Groove (DVD, 2011 directed by Mary Kerr), an informative video which covers the entire Fillmore art scene, including slow birthing of Jay DeFeo’s colossal masterpiece, The Rose (1958-66). Not only does it capture the vibrant life that DeFeo and her husband Wally Hedrick led during that magical era that they lived with the painting which dominated the front room of their famous flat-studio, it recounts several legendary parties. One included a very drunk Willem de Kooning being pried off DeFeo and then driven around in a sports car. When finally sober, de Kooning thought he had been in New York because of the remarkable art he saw that evening and DeFeo’s painting in particular “blew his mind.”
Details: di Rosa is located at 5200 Sonoma Highway Napa, California 94559. Directions: Mapquest. Hours: NOV-APRIL: Wednesday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Closed Monday & Tuesday Fee: suggested donation $5. Tours: Guided tours of the collection and grounds are available Wednesday through Sunday. Tours are $12-$15 and are a wonderful way to learn more about di Rosa and its important collection of Northern California art, and offer plenty of time to enjoy the art collection and grounds.
When Jay DeFeo died in 1989, at age 60, she was at the height of her creative powers. Despite her iconic status as the creator of the monumental painting “The Rose,” she was little known outside a small circle of art insiders. SFMOMA’s retrospective (finally!) offers a revelatory, in-depth encounter DeFeo’s work, giving this artist her well-deserved tribute. Presenting close to 130 works, including collages, drawings, paintings, photographs, small sculptures, and jewelry, this definitive exhibition traces DeFeo’s distinctive vision across more than four decades of art making. How did she do it? Aside from innate talent, she worked obsessively throughout her life, never letting go of ideas until she had thoroughly exhausted them.
Prepare to be mesmerized and, as a rule of thumb, double the time you think you think you’ll need to take this in. There’s no need to hurry. “Only by chancing the ridiculous, can I hope for the sublime.” said Jay DeFeo in a 1959 Museum of Modern Art catalogue statement. “Only by discovering that which is true within myself, can I hope to be understood by others.”
Details: Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective closes Feb. 3, 2013. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) is located at 151 Third St., S.F. (415) 357-4000. www.sfmoma.org
Oakland Museum releases photos of the historic 19th century gold jewelry box stolen on January 9, 2013
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) has just released photos and a detailed description of the Gold Rush-era quartz and gold jewelry box stolen from its permanent collection on January 9, 2013. The historic jewelry box, was made between 1869 and 1878 by A. Andrews, a San Francisco goldsmith, and is signed. The artifact features a rectangular moulded top and base that rests on four feet formed of four miniature female figures depicting allegorical California. It is seven inches in height; nine inches on length; and seven inches in depth. The top pilasters and mouldings are of veined gold quartz in tones of grey and cream with veining of gold. The interior of the top is recessed and engraved in full relief with scene of the early days of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads, mounted Native Americans, herds of buffalo, and a train of cars. The gold quartz is cut and set in mosaic fashion in the top of the lid, exterior and the sides are gold veined quartz. (Read ARThound’s 1.9.2013 coverage here.)
Reward: A reward of $12,000 is offered for the safe recovery of the stolen artifact.
Anyone with any information about the burglary is encouraged to immediately contact the Oakland Police Department’s Major Crimes Section at (510) 238-3951 or the TIP line at (510) 777-2805. The reward is subject to certain terms and conditions required by the insurer, including that the reward claimant not have any involvement in the theft or any previous or post-theft complicity. Questions about the Jewel Casket artifact or the Oakland Museum of California should be directed to 510-318-8460 or email@example.com.
In an open letter to the public appearing on the OMCA website January 9, 2013, OMCA director Lori Fogarty, wrote—“We are appealing to the public for assistance in recovering the artifacts stolen in November and in this latest incident. Beyond their monetary value, these objects convey the story of California and our heritage and are held in the public trust to be cared for into perpetuity for the learning and enjoyment of Museum visitors. We hope that, thought this broad media effort and the attendant reward, we will be successful in gaining assistance in bringing these objects once again to the Museum and our community.” More information can be found at museumca.org/reward.