Thursday, February 09, 2006

de Young Museum 4: The Great Outdoors

At the west end of the new de Young Museum, there is a large, rather graceless restaurant/cafeteria...

...that extends out to an outdoor snack area which is currently covered in plastic.

The west end of the building is impressive...

...though the monster chrome sculpture flanking it is certainly aggressively ugly.

A lovely, small Henry Moore statue flanks one end of "The Sculpture Garden"...

...which also has a series of upside-down apple sculptures...

...that look designed for seating...

...though there is signage everywhere telling people not to touch the art.

The other end of The Sculpture Garden is anchored by another Claes Oldenberg pop art sculpture, which were amusing when he was doing them in the 1960s, but strike me as increasingly trite with each iteration.

The coolest piece in the backyard, next to the Henry Moore, is an environmental sculpture by James Turell that was commissioned for the opening of the museum.

The museum website has the following information:
"The sculpture will be sited in a grass-covered hill in the Osher Sculpture Garden. Viewers will walk through a short tunnel cut into the hill, and then enter into a cylindrical space carved out of the hill."

"The retaining walls of this cylindrical space will be white concrete..."

"...and the floor will be red stone."

"At the center of this cylindrical space will be a rough-hewn, black basalt stupa form."

"Entering the round stupa through a door, viewers will sit on a stone bench that runs around the circumference of the skyspace and view the sky through an oculus cut in the roof of the chamber."

"Viewers’ perceptions of the sky color will be subtly altered by an L.E.D. lighting system inside the chamber, and by changing light and weather conditions outside the chamber."

Though I didn't see any "subtly altered L.E.D. lighting system" at work, the installation was quite magical.

It felt like a great place to chant, to make out with a lover, to meditate, or do any number of pleasurable things.

To end the tour, we bought a couple of beers at the cafe...

...and took them outside where David could draw the surrounding trees... his glorious journal.


Sam said...

I think I have seen those apples before somewhere

Anonymous said...

I' d love to see the rest of David Journal!

Ced said...

You are totally right about chanting in the turrell room: not only the light quality changes there, but the sound as well. It's pretty eerie.