Tuesday, July 28, 2015


"Amy is a film that makes you feel culpable, but it also stirs up waves of sympathy, of a desire to protect her and, also, an anger at those in her life who – you feel – could have done so much more to save her. This extends to pretty much everyone with whom she had a professional relationship (oh yes, and Blake Fielder-Civil). “It brought out the worst of a lot of people in her life,” says Kapadia. “If one looks carefully, there are lots of people who make lots of decisions or who were aware of one thing – whether it was the drinking, the bulimia, or the drugs – and nobody stopped it. That’s what the film is really about. It’s pretty heavy. You can’t quite imagine what it’s like when they’re in the film. To go through it all again, it’s really tough. There’s certain people who just can’t watch the second half."


Sunday, July 26, 2015

'Amy Winehouse, A Family Portrait' at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Who was Amy and what made her tick? Was she just another rebellious girl from North London who happened to be Jewish or something far more? Unfortunately the current show at the CJM doesn't begin to explore the depth of Amy's talent and tragedy.

“Amy,” the documentary just released takes a far more honest look at the problems in Winehouse’s life: her discomfort with fame and the obnoxious paparazzi, her strained relationships with her father who comes across as a manipulative user, and and her toxic ex-husband, her fatal substance abuse.

More at:  http://www.examiner.com/article/amy-winehouse-a-family-portrait-at-the-contemporary-jewish-museum

Monday, July 20, 2015

'Night Begins the Day: Rethinking Space, Time and Beauty' at the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Darvaza crater (translated as the “doorway to hell”) in the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan

So many museum shows today focus on the transitory and the ugly, the crude and the disparaging. The viewer enters, looks, maybe reads a text or two and then moves on, maybe giving each piece a total of 30 seconds. What a shock then, to walk into the exhibit and encounter beautiful image after beautiful image - all of which are more than beautiful, a new 21st century definition of the sublime. The works evoke awe, tears, wonder and, ultimately fear that we are destroying the best that our world has to offer through our own greed and indifference. The museum’s ambition to encompass time, space and the modern sensibility Is largely successful.

 Peter Alexander, PA & PE, 1990

By returning to the older ideas of space and time, the museum has created an exhibit that is both contemporary, compelling and timeless.

More at: http://www.examiner.com/article/night-begins-the-day-rethinking-space-time-and-beauty-at-the-cjm

 Laurent Grasso. Soleil Noir (2014)

Vanessa Marsh. Chromogenic photogram
Joshua McElehny. The Center is Everywhere
Institute For Figuring, Bleached Reef, 2007–15. Yarns, beads, baskets, felt, sand, 84 x 24 in. Courtesy of Bleached Reef, part of the Institute For Figuring’s Crochet Coral Reef Project.  

Images courtesy of the Contemporary Jewish Museum

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Celebrate Bastille Day!

Celebrate Bastille Day in the Bay with a long list of events! Viva La Belle France.


On July 14, 1789, the French people stormed the Bastille, a fortress in Paris that represented the ancien regime. People were sent to the Bastille on the basis of arbitrary orders from the monarch, orders which could not be appealed. At that time, the prison only held seven prisoners but the actions of the Parisian crowd held great political significance. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastille_Day)

Celebrating the day came to represent all that the French Revolution had accomplished - the ending of the monarchy, the declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen and a new vision of government:

"The rights of man are held to be universal: valid at all times and in every place, pertaining to human nature itself. It became the basis for a nation of free individuals protected equally by law. It is included in the preamble of the constitutions of both the Fourth French Republic (1946) and Fifth Republic (1958) and is still current. Inspired in part by the American Revolution, and also by the Enlightenment philosophers, the Declaration was a core statement of the values of the French revolution and had a major impact on the development of liberty and democracy in Europe and worldwide.

How can we celebrate Bastille Day without singing the French National Anthem - La Marseillaise? "Allons enfants de la Patrie." This version is from one of my favorite movies of all time. You know the scene..

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Happy Birthday James McNeill Whistler

San Francisco's museums have a lovely collections of his etchings but most of them are not on view. However, you can see the ones at the Legion on the web here:


and a review of a 2011 show here:  http://www.examiner.com/article/happy-birthday-to-james-mcneill-whistler

James McNeill Whistler: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Abbott_McNeill_Whistler

The Case for Beauty: http://www.pbs.org/program/james-mcneill-whistler/

NY Times Obit (1903): http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0714.html

Lunder Collection: The more than 300 etchings and lithographs that make up the Lunder Collection of James McNeill Whistler represent some of the rarest and most beautiful impressions by this American master.

Freer/Sacker Gallery: https://www.asia.si.edu/exhibitions/online/whistler/intro.htm

His deft marks: http://www.artistdaily.com/blogs/masters/archive/2007/10/15/whistler-s-mark.aspx