Expedition 25: Art Galleries

I like art galleries and they come in handy when the weather is wet (I went on Wednesday) and I’d rather be indoors. 

My first stop was the Worth Ryder Art Gallery in the Cal campus Anthropology building where I saw the first year MFA show. Although I like art galleries, I haven’t much patience for wordy, windbag artist statements that honestly don’t make any sense. I was intrigued by some visual elements of the show, some purposeful, some serendipitous. 

I went to the Doe Library which has an amazing ceiling and a gigantic picture of George Washington looking valiant on a horse. The Bancroft Gallery nearby had an environmental exhibit including these photos of men cutting down a giant redwood and women protesting such activities. I love this dramatic bear on the Reclaim Turtle Island poster but I don’t know why it’s being attacked by a snake. 

I tried to find info about this show on the Cal website to no avail. Their website is really crap when it comes to finding out what is happening and what is open when, particularly, what is open to the public and not just Cal students. Quite a bit is open to the public on Cal Day but I’ll be out of town for that. 🙁

Stop 3: the Graduate Theological Union. This school isn’t part of UC but its students may take classes there. My aim was to visit the gallery but it’s closed till the next show it mounted in February. But there were mini shows in the hallways. This one featured embroidered panels made in the 80’s by El Salvadoran refugees. Another small show had more abstract visions of war and occupation.

The building was initially designed by Louis Kahn who died before it was built so it was finished by another firm. I really hope Kahn didn’t design this weird swimming pool tile stairwell! The skinny sculpture in the rotunda is by Stephen de Staebler, who got his MFA at UC Berkeley. I remember walking by his sculpture at 720 Market countless times when I worked in downtown SF. 

Final stop: Mills College art museum. I used to roam around this campus often when I lived nearby. I love campuses. They remind me of the creative, exciting and sometimes exhausting times I had at college. Mills is really pretty too. I like how they modernized the museum while still leaving evidence of the older building. 

My favorite piece was this graphite drawing of sheets of paper. At first I thought it was lines of dark and light (much of this show is abstract) but when I got closer I saw what it was. And still, it is just lines of dark and light! By the time I left the museum it was dark out so I was able to get this nice shot.

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