Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gold Curtained Poodles at SFMOMA



The remainder of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was its usual grab bag...



...of pretty modern paintings...



...crammed haphazardly onto large white walls...



...sandwiching silly faux Eva Hesse sculptures...



...and bad, boring video art.



To think Don Fisher wants to hang his crappy collection of Warhols and Lichtensteins in a new, ugly museum in the breathtakingly beautiful Presidio still amazes me for its sheer wrongness.



He should be sentenced to looking at collages by Jess for the rest of his natural born life.



One of the floors features "Participatory Art" which is mostly stupid...



...though the couple above were managing to enjoy themselves...



...and my friend Patrick Vaz was amused by the framed score of John Cage's 4'33".



Our favorite, though, was the circular crowd of black poodles menacing a helpless baby in the middle of one of the galleries.

11 comments:

Jon said...

I haven't been seriously involved in the arts since I was just out of my teens. I wish I knew why so much modern art makes me so angry. It seems to have a similar effect on you. Whenever I look at the stuff, I end up using many of the same words you use in this post, "boring", "stupid". "ugly", "crappy" and "silly". That goes mostly for museum exhibits. I don't get as upset when I see bad recent art in a gallery or an artist's studio, but when it becomes "museumized" I want to shriek. Is it the sanctification of bad art that comes with a museum show? I don't know. I'm still moved by good art. A painting can stop me dead in my tracks and hold my attention for hours. I mostly avoid the SFMOMA.
When I was a teenager in the late sixties and early seventies, I would cut school to go to the NYMOMA. My parents were convinced that I was running off to take drugs. I couldn't convince them that I was going to bookstores and museums. Anyhow, back then, I loved the stuff I saw at the NYMOMA. I think I took the museum very seriously. A lot of the stuff I saw seems like crap to me now. Who cares about Claes Oldenburg?

sfmike said...

Dear Jon: There are still awesome artworks at New York's Museum of Modern Art. If I lived in Manhattan, I'd definitely have a membership. The problem with the San Francisco version is that they're trying to imitate their New York peers which only makes them look provincial.

I much preferred the museum when it was in smaller digs in the Veterans Building in Civic Center when it was more experimental, and not quite as obsessed with how much something is supposedly worth. Don Fisher's ridiculous Oldenberg Bow and Arrow on the Waterfront is probably the most obvious example of this latter syndrome, and his proposed Presidio museum a monument to his own crass consumption.

Jon said...

I'm sure I would enjoy the New York MOMA. I saw artwork there that changed my life. I also used to enjoy the SF MOMA in it's old location. I know it's kind of a dopey painting, but Roy De Forest's 'Country Dog Gentlemen' is still a favorite. I first went there some time in the mid '70's. I remember thinking that the collection seemed very 'California', and I meant that in a good way.

I too dislike the thought of Fischer's museum. Somehow, the very rich seem to have convinced each other that buying art is a creative endeavor. They believe that their purchases need to be shown, not on their own merit, but as a tribute to the creative buying power of the patron's money.

I've been thinking about this for a while now. I first came across the concept of creative buying in a yachting magazine. ( In a doctor's office) Yacht builder's ads butter clients up with references to their (the buyers) uniquely creative qualities. In practice, they are just offering to let the client pick out color schemes and upholstery, but they assure the clients that they are eager to work with them because their financial success is proof of their artistic nature.

sfmike said...

Dear Jon: It's not just the rich who "have convinced each other that buying art is a creative endeavor." The rot has spread to the general public, where buying anything is considered a creative endeavor. It's not. The seminal word is "create," not "buy," and the two terms are grotesquely confused. One of the silver linings of the coming economic collapse is that some of this confusion will disappear like ether, or so we can pray.

pjwv said...

I'd just like to clarify that "amused" means "happy and delighted to see" -- I don't want my avant-garde credentials revoked due to false rumors of Philistine snickering. . .

Also, that is my favorite picture of me, ever. Maybe you can send me a copy?

sfmike said...

Dear Patrick: Your avant-garde credentials, particularly after your upcoming weekend delightedly indulging in an Elliot Carter marathon, will never be revoked in my lifetime. The Philistine snickering was all mine. As for your ghostly picture in the blank score, just right-click and save.

Larry-bob said...

I disagree that looking at Jess' art is a form of punishment.

sfmike said...

Dear Larry-bob: I love Jess' art, to tell you the truth. His "Boy Party" at the deYoung is a delirious piece of gay porn. Still, for Mr. Fisher, I think it would be something of a punishment.

Emily said...

you guys are all losers, who obviously don't know - and haven't tried to learn - anything about modern and/or contemporary art. maybe you wouldn't get so angry if you tried to understand any and all of those pieces instead of writing them off with pathetic 8-year old adjectives like "silly", "crappy", and "ugly." not all art is meant to be "beautiful", but most of what was shown at SFMOMA is at least interesting, or worthy of more than a cursory glance. your impressions are symptomatic of so many peoples' laziness when looking at art - expecting it to do all of the thinking for them, while they stand there mute and ridiculous, offering no original thoughts or impulses to intellectual interaction with what has been made.

Jon said...

Emily, did you read anything that we wrote? I wrote that I have seen works at the SF and NY MOMA that changed my life. And, since it came up, I also enjoyed "Boy Party" when it was part of the Beats show many years ago. Now go find some philistines and chide them.

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