Thursday, January 28, 2016

New SF Art Commission Gallery Opening Party

The San Francisco Art Commission invited the public to the opening of their expanded art gallery on the ground floor of the newly restored Veterans Building last Friday evening.

The expansive galleries that cover most of the north side of the first floor was jammed with people who made their way carefully through the crowd to a long line at the back for free beer and wine.

There was even one employee or volunteer whose job was to protect a figurative sculpture that was laid out on the floor, which she accomplished with remarkable charm.

The exhibit included a handful of artists, local and not, and it was burdened with one of those ridiculous artspeak titles that tend to give me the giggles. It also prompted the question of why taxpayers in San Francisco are expected to subsidize an art gallery run by an historically inept and corrupt city commission who can't keep track of the art they own or competently oversee the street artist program they license. It's one of many things I don't understand about our city government.

Still, the galleries are lovely and an improvement over the veterans' groups offices which were underused and musty with age. The veterans have been exiled to a row of cubbyhole offices in the back of the second floor, with a face-saving cement sculpture dedicated to their service and sacrifice on the lawn between the Opera House and the Veterans Building.

My favorite artworks on Friday were Baring it All (Machismo), made with gold, acrylic and ink on cotton... Nepalese artist Tsherin Sherpa above from Khatmandu...

...along with his huge 54 Views of Wisdom.

The crowded gallery was too claustrophobic, so I drank my beer in the Veterans Building lobby, which had been outfitted with divans and stand-up cocktail tables, along with a surprisingly wonderful accordion player specializing in what sounded like French pop.

Even though the galleries are free and open to the public, their operating hours seem more geared to the schedule of rich people who don't have to work: Tuesday through Saturday 11AM to 6PM. Check it out.


Hattie said...

Wow. Don't know. I think I'm getting too old for that kind of event. But do like the paintings.

Brian Bulkowski said...

Did you cover when the arts commission chose an LA artist for the Bayview Gateway, instead of a San Francisco based collective?

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Brian: No, I did not. The list of miscues committed by the SF Art Commission over the last 10 years since I've been publishing this blog would be a full-time job.