Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Revelations at the de Young

 I was in Golden Gate Park the other day and decided to pop in for a look.  The de Young, like so many art museums nowadays, feels their mission is to have mega-hyped up blockbuster shows as way to earn revenue and draw in the crowds.  Currently they have installed a massive Haight Street gift shop for the Summer of Love.  But that does not interest me.  I was just planning on a wander into the permanent collection.  Instead I found a fantastic, big show that is given scant attention by the museum’s PR-machine.  I often find that the shows to see, at any museum, are the under-promoted ones that, I guess, museums assume have less appeal. 
Upon entering the museum the first thing you encounter is Leonardo Drew’s huge installation Number 197.  A floor to ceiling (very high ceiling) grid of his assemblages fill the lobby it what also could be called a maximalist collage.  
Where the permanent collection begins on the first floor, a major rearrange has happened and a new show titled Revelations: Art from the African American South has taken over the better part of the exhibition space on the floor.  The exhibition (see link for details) includes 62 newly acquired works by contemporary African American artists from the U.S. South.  I am always happy to see more of the quilts from Gee’s Bend and then explored galleries of sculpture including Lonnie Holley’s Him and Her Hold the Root an assemblage including his-and-hers rocking chairs exploring family, memory and loss.  Ralph Griffin’s sculptures, including Panama Jack (shown here), is one of his just slightly frightening pieces.  I really like them.  
The pieces are part of the permanent collection and the current show is up to April 2018 – giving many opportunities to pop in again when I am in Golden Gate Park.

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