Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Farewell to the Fine Arts Museums
High winds cleared San Francisco's foggy coastal skies today, and I decided to check out an exhibit of rich French people's jewelry at the Legion of Honor Museum in the Richmond District.
At the Membership Desk at the front of the museum, I admitted my ambivalence about renewing the membership to a trio of middle-aged white ladies who were hovering around the computer screens.
"Why is that?" asked one of them. "Because of this institution's and Dede Wilsey's opposition to Healthy Saturdays," I told them, "which struck me as just crummy. You could have stayed out of it."
"Well, I live in that neighborhood near the deYoung," one of the women replied, "so I don't have any sympathy for your position. In fact, I waited for four hours at City Hall to testify against the closure." This was no doubt while parking and driving in my neighborhood, an irony lost on her. I grabbed my membership card back from her colleague and announced that I had changed my mind about renewal.
It's bad enough that San Francisco's so-called art museums seem to be devoting themselves to stupid rich womens' obsessions lately, from French jewelry to Nan Kempner's dresses, but the sheer arrogance involved in that Membership Volunteer's reply, with her refusal to have her suburban lifestyle within San Francisco inconvenienced for one second, seriously pissed me off.
So after a walk along nearby Lands' End, I returned home and cut up the membership card. Then I checked the internet to find out how much all of us are subsidizing these elitist institutions as taxpayers. However, the budget is nowhere on the Fine Arts Museums website and though the amounts may be hidden somewhere on the sfgov.org site, good luck trying to unearth it. As for finding an actual human being to answer the phone at the Fine Arts Museums, the only person I could find was Brian in Accounting, who didn't know where the budget might be on the web, but at least he was helpful and actually working. Give the guy a raise.