I was walking down an alley in San Francisco recently when I saw a set of collage art pieces in a window.
I paused to find out what I was looking at and discovered it was a window display by SFMoMA’s artist gallery. I am obviously familiar with SFMoMA but didn’t know about the artist’s gallery so I looked it up. It is apparently a non-profit art gallery showcasing the work of diverse artists in different stages of their art careers. The actual gallery is located at Fort Mason but this display was in SoMA near the main museum.
I went on to learn from a previous event mention on the Fort Mason blog that:
“SFMOMA Artists Gallery organizes the Windows Program using the SFMOMA garage’s street-level windows located at 150 Natoma and 147 Minna Street (Between Third and New Montgomery streets) to showcase artwork. The program invites some of the area’s most ambitious artists to transform these everyday spaces into compelling exhibitions that passersby can view round the clock.”
It was definitely cool work. It’s hard to tell but it had different layers and dimensions and mediums incorporated into it. I’m sure there must’ve been a sign somewhere that said who the artist was but I didn’t see it and haven’t been able to find out online. I’ll try to remember to check it out again the next time I’m over there and see if I can find out who it is to give proper credit!
Bay Area Dance Week was a few weeks ago and I’m just now getting the photos up on the blog. This is mostly because I didn’t get very many good photos, but I did want to share the best event that I went to of the season which was a two-hour long free fire dancing show in Union Square.
It was put on by Temple of Poi and featured nearly 100 performers in more than three dozen acts. There were some things I had seen before and some things I hadn’t and it was just terrific fun. How can watching people dance with fire not be fun really? My favorites were the truly passionate ones that had great striking music but of course I loved the big fire tricks and I liked some of the more humorous acts as well. There was a nice range of different dance schools showcased including hip hop, belly dance, capoeira, latin dance, Irish dancing and more.
Temple of Poi was the world’s first poi fire dancing school. It was started by Glitter Girl who performed in the final act of the night.
Although I’ve taken a hula hoop dance class in the past I’ve never tried poi. Maybe I should?
Yesterday I shared a few photos from the Terracotta Warriors exhibit at the Asian Art Museum. I did check out other stuff while I was there, though. A few of those things:
I enjoyed the textile exhibit that showed batiks from the women of Java. This was a temporary exhibit that is actually over now so I’m glad I got a chance to see it.
It was Craft Wars night when I went, which meant that there were opportunities to use materials on hand to engage in crafting with others. I didn’t feel in the crafty mood that day but loved observing the armor, jewelry, flowers and other items people crafted.
From around the museum …
The Asian Art Museum isn’t one of the San Francisco museums that I visit most often but I’ve been there a couple of times and there are definitely some amazing historical pieces to see here.
There are just about two weeks left to see China’s Terracotta Warriors on display at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Luckily, I’ve already gone and seen them.
About the warriors, from the website:
“First unearthed in 1974, the underground burial complex of the First Emperor is a revelation for the ages, an astonishing discovery on par with Egypt’s mummies and elaborate tombs. Contemporary observers continue to be enthralled by his legacy, and it is through this ongoing interest that the First Emperor did indeed achieve immortality. This exhibition includes ten figures—a representative sample of the actual army, which is estimated to include more than 7,000 life-sized figures and over 10,000 weapons.”
I do have to say that I went on a really busy evening and it was kind of disorienting to try to see such large-scale majestic art when there was such chaos and such a party atmosphere around it but they were still really amazing pieces to see in person.
When I took this photo it was just intended to be a picture of two pairs of feet. When I was looking through my pictures later as thumbnails I couldn’t tell what it was because I was seeking the space between the feet as a person and was thinking it was some art shot I’d taken at some point. Do you see the body (head that the top between the first set of legs, arms between the two sets of legs, body between the second set of boots)?
Last week I went to the official book launch and reading of Crafting Calm by Maggie Oman Shannon. It was at a lovely little West Portal bookstore, had a sweet crowd and is a book worth checking out if you’ve experienced the benefit of crafting which I obviously have as I shared in my book, Crochet Saved My Life.
Maggie Oman Shannon is a minister who has authored five other books researching different aspects of cross-cultural spirituality. In this book she moves into the first person and shares how she herself has used crafting to deepen her spiritual life. She also shares the stories of a bunch of other crafters who have done the same thing. Crafting, healing and storytelling in one book … that’s right up my alley!
The West Portal bookshop is actually this San Francisco author’s home bookstore so she was able to bring in a bunch of her own craft projects for us to check out and she shared the stories behind them, many of which are stories in the book. Her publisher was there as were members of her church plus some of us who just love crafts and reading.
Some of the things she mentioned in her talk that I want to highlight:
- Maggie emphasizes that you don’t have to be proficient at crafts or even moderately technically skilled at them to get creative benefits from them. It’s about the process, not the product. I so agree! I will add the caveat, though, that I think that while you shouldn’t focus on your technical skills or compare yourself to other crafters I do think that there is immense benefit in constantly pushing your own creative boundaries and stretching yourself and your craft skills.
- Vision boards help. I’ve never actually made one but I can totally see how taking the time to focus on an intention would encourage you to do what you need to do to make that thing happen. I’m thinking about doing something similar myself now.
- There is power in the simple act of creating. It can even be an activist statement, “I will create in the face of destruction; I will see beauty in the face of disaster!”
Maggie just has a really peaceful air about her and you can tell that the time that she devotes to her combined creative and spiritual life has given her deep inner strength. I enjoyed seeing that.
Maggie opened up the conversation for other people to share their own craft experiences. Sometimes I love to talk about my book and experiences and sometimes I’m more in a listening mood than a sharing mood. This was a listening mood kind of day for me so I didn’t share but I did enjoy hearing what people had to say about how crafting had helped them.
San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art is about to close down for a few years for renovations. I don’t go to MoMA too often but it holds a special place in my heart because it was the first big museum I ever went to (as a tourist, long before moving here) and the first San Francisco museum I ever saw. It’s grown in the years since I first saw it and now it will be growing and changing again. Although there will be pop-up exhibits (starting with a show at the Jewish Art Museum soon) the main museum won’t re-open again until 2016 so I wanted to go see some of the final shows. I saw the photography of Garry Winogrand … and here were a few of the other pieces throughout the museum that I found myself drawn to for one reason or another:
The new location of the Museum of Craft and Design just recently opened here in San Francisco and I went and checked out the opening exhibits. One of them was the work of Michael Cooper who created a body of amazing sculptures in wood, metal and found materials over a 40+ year period of time. The work takes a whimsical approach to exploring serious topics like violence and the influence of technology. I loved the beautiful work with hardwoods that are shaped using terrific curvature.
More photos for my Dangerous Life series. They were both taken at the Castello di Amorosa. The first one is where the store the wine to cool it. The sign says Danger: Compact Space. Do Not Enter.
Tonight in San Francisco is the second monthly edition of a literary reading at creativity salon The Emerald Tablet. I won’t be able to make it because of other commitments but I went to the first one last month and it’s definitely something I want to check out again.
The event is called Under the Influence. Here’s how it works. Four readers were chosen in the first month to read a short work of art from a writer who influenced them and then to read their own work inspired by that influence. At the end, three of the four readers were asked to select another writer to do the same thing the following month (which will be seen at tonight’s performance). The fourth person was asked to choose an influence and then local writers were able to submit works inspired by that influence and the fourth reader is chosen from those works. This process will continue and what interests me is the organic nature of how each person is chosen from what follows before them.
The event is hosted by Evan Karp of Quiet Lightning. The four writers I saw last month were:
- Toni Mirosevich whose inspiration was James Agee
- Nate Waggoner who was inspired by Philip Roth
- William Taylor Jr. who was inspired by William Saroyan
- Stella Peach who was inspired by JS Bach. Stella did a unique performance incorporating music and spoken word although it was primarily music, which goes to show that there isn’t a set formula for the inspirations and works in this new event.
I’m a little bummed that I can’t make it tonight. One of the readers is MK Chavez, who I’ve seen read here before, and she’s inspired by Sandra Cisneros who I also enjoy. But there will be other opportunities.
And actually I’m hoping to check out some other things at Emerald Tablet, a cool space I’d never visited before last month. They have art, film and various creative community events in a space that is welcoming and inspiring.