Wednesday, April 30, 2008
The Infantas of Manolo Valdes
Close to a dozen large sculptures by the Spanish artist Manolo Valdes have suddenly sprung up in the Civic Center Plaza and greeted us on our way home from Palm Springs.
The large women's heads with fanciful metal headgear will be standing there through the summer in another "temporary" public art exhibition put on by the San Francisco Arts Commission.
It seems to be a similar arrangement to the Louise Bourgeois spider on the Embarcadero (click here), where an art dealer in New York, in this case the Marlborough Gallery, lends out a famous artist's work to sit in the open air in San Francisco in the hope that a rich collector will buy it for themselves or the city at large.
On Tuesday afternoon at 5PM, with the winds whipping through the plaza, various dignitaries like PJ Johnston congratulated themselves...
...and other commissioners for bringing "world-class" public art to San Francisco...
...while praising the "visionary, forward-looking, and impatient" Mayor Gavin Newsom, who showed up late to the ceremony.
The General Manager of San Francisco's corrupt and ineffective Rec & Park Department, the Nigerian Yomi Agunbiade, also joined in the hosannahs for our brilliant, forward-thinking Mayor...
...and was followed by Newsom, who uttered a few cliched banalities that were painful to listen to. What was fun was waiting to see if his industrial strength hair gel would stand up to the ferocious winds in the plaza, and it did, just barely.
The most charming moment arrived with the short speech of the 66-year-old artist himself (above left), which was haltingly translated by the gentleman on his right.
It was obvious that Valdes was tickled pink with having his work displayed in this very public "espacio," and I look forward to getting to know his Velasquez-inspired Infantas over the summer.