Monday, July 28, 2014


Peter Tibbles Sunday music column in "As Time Bies By" was a tributeto Jessye Norman. Apparently few of the readers like opera because the usual busy comment section was limited to one comment and a few likes.

"JESSYE NORMAN is the best singer in the world." I am not sure I agree but shes up there at the top.

Here's the link; I know that a few opera lovers read my column so let's give the magnificent Ms Norman a few more likes

Sunday, July 27, 2014

7 days of birthdays: Hopper, Runge, Muncha, Eakins, Grosz

 July 22, 1882. Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 - May 15, 1967) was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While he was most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching. Both in his urban and rural scenes, his spare and finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life. In this image: A woman looks at the painting "South Carolina Morning" by American artist Edward Hopper during a press conference in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday, May 7, 2009.

 July 23, 1777. Philipp Otto Runge (23 July 1777 - 2 December 1810) was a Romantic German painter and draughtsman. He made a late start to his career and died young, nonetheless he is considered among the best German Romantic painters.

 July 24, 1860. Alfons Maria Mucha (24 July 1860 - 14 July 1939), known in English as Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. In this image: The "Slav Epic", a cycle of 20 allegories tracing the history of the Slavic people and inspired in part by mythology, by Art Nouveau Czech artist Alfons Mucha, at the National Gallery in Prague."The Slav Epic" by Alfons Mucha, a Czech Art Nouveau gem, went on display in Prague, fulfilling the wish of the artist who spent 18 years on the series of paintings from 1910 to 1928.

July 25, 1844. Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 - June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer,[2] sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. In this image: A person views Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic," at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, on Jan. 5, 2007. To help finance a $68 million deal to keep the masterpiece in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts said Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007, that it has sold another Eakins painting, "The Cello Player."

July 26, 1893. George Grosz (July 26, 1893 - July 6, 1959) was a German artist known especially for his savagely caricatural drawings of Berlin life in the 1920s. He was a prominent member of the Berlin Dada and New Objectivity group during the Weimar Republic before he emigrated to the United States in 1933. apn Photo/Franka Bruns.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Please save Bibliohead Bookstore

A letter from Melissa Richmond, owner of Bibliohead Bookstore

Dear Friends and Family,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. Many of you know what is going on with Bibliohead Bookstore which is my creation and livelihood. To some this will be a surprise. It is not always easy to talk about. But in fact I am full of despair and outrage, as we are being forced to vacate after our lease expires for an earthquake retrofitting and building renovation project. This may occur as soon as September 30. I have attempted to negotiate with the building owners to return to our successful location after the project is completed, but have been refused, despite paying our rent for 10 years and averaging at least 7% sales growth every year. The owners want a high priced boutique instead. As the project unfolds delays and logistics have forced us to vacate even sooner than expected.

This is all quite shocking and could prove to be devastating. I have been working hard to find a new location. But it’s not easy. Because of San Francisco’s Soft Story Retrofit Mandate, competition is fierce for properties. Many remain in limbo for months while work is planned. The cost is high for post retrofit properties, as owners try to recoup the costs of the work.

 We have been outbid, and some prospective owners wonder how a bookstore can be successful without seriously giving our track record consideration, not to mention plans to develop new streams of income if we can stay here in San Francisco. Some properties have just not been the right fit. Newly built storefronts abound in San Francisco but generally come with a higher price tag due to the cost of build out from a raw state.

Because our lease will not be in force while this all occurs, we are offered little protection from the city which requires this work. We consider this very poor planning. It is not fair to lose a good business that contributes to the cultural landscape of San Francisco and celebrates its independent, creative history. The fact that the city is in a real estate gold rush does not help as commercial properties including our own double in price. We are not alone in being affected this way. Customers report an epidemic of favorite small businesses that are suddenly closing or on the ropes because of all this.

I need your help in a crowdfunding campaign that will help create a better vantage point in negotiating with prospective owners. Having more of a nest egg will allow us to consider properties that need more work. Realistically we know we will be paying more rent. This has never been out of the question. Having a greater reserve will help show we are doubly prepared to handle expenses as we find new customers and old customers find us in our new home. That we received contributions from customers and folks dedicated to keeping bookstores alive and well will mean to property owners that we come with a solid base, one that will continue to translate into sales and security.

Please help. Donate now at indiegogo: We need to keep our campaign ignited to show momentum to potential contributors, and prospective property owners. If you have already contributed, thank you. We need your continued generosity and creativity to help us find a solution.

What can you can do:

Donate now at indiegogo:
If you work for an area business or organization, consider a group or sponsored donation.
Tell your friends and share our video with everyone via social media.
Donate cool books to the store that we can sell or use in the campaign.
Are you a landlord looking for a quality retail tenant? Let us know!
Don’t stop fighting for a real San Francisco—for all of us.
And of course, keep shopping at Bibliohead!

Thanks for your support,

Melissa Richmond, owner
Bibliohead Bookstore
334 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-621-6772 /

Saturday Links: Lee Bontecou, Qinmin Lee, Terry St. John, Way Out West

PRINCETON, N.J. — “Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds,” at the Princeton University Art Museum, is as stimulating an exhibition of works on paper as you might expect from an artist known for “drawing” with a blowtorch. Review from the NY Times

Chinese artist Qinmin Liu -- who recently explored human fragility through the metaphor of paper in a performance at KUNST-STOFF arts, as well as the human ability to endure and connect through an eight-hour walk through the streets of San Francisco costumed only in a layer of rice -- makes her debut at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with WATER.!qinmin/cawa

I love Paris.... in the 1920s, William Odiorne's Paris at the Robert Tat Gallery celebrates the charms of the lost generation in a series of previously unseen prints.

Way Out West: The Art City Project's first public exhibition takes outdoor advertising space in the Inner Mission - think billboards and bus shelters - and turns it into art space, featuring works by Jeremy Fish, Jet Martinez and others. Through Aug. 17.

Terry St. John At Dolby Chadwick. The San Francisco Chronicle featured Terry St. John's current exhibition. They note, "his new works are strong on the female form and characterized by vibrant colors, contrast, strong brush strokes and the play of light. The backgrounds are full of reductive shapes presented in oblique, parallel and perpendicular directions."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Column on the new curator at the Asian sparks great discussion - on facebook

One of the upsides - and downsides - of Facebook is that so much of the dialogue happens "over there" instead of "here." So with permission - today's column about Dr. Tianlong Jiao, the new curator at the Asian and the ensuing conversation.

Some objected to this appointment, believing that the Asian should place more focus on current Asian art.

I agree that the Asian focuses on ancient Asian art and I am glad for it. It's the only place in Northern California to see works of antiquity, where there are tons of galleries showing the latest hot-shot trend setter, Asian or not. Where else can you go to see Tang ceramics, 17th century Japanese screens, Korean stoneware ancient beyond counting. There are enough contemporary works in the museum to please all but the most demanding art viewer. All one has to do is look.

  • Nancy Ewart I wonder if that's where the donor money is - always important! The Chinese Cultural Center in Chinatown is the place for cutting edge and contemporary (IMHO)

    Michael Yochum The Chinese Cultural Center does not show really important contemporary Chinese artists. It is not an important venue. I like it, but really major artists would not exhibit there.  The Asian needs to connect with contemporary Chinese art. This appointment, at least academically, seems to focus on ancient Chinese art.

    And, I do not think you have major Chinese donor $$ directing this choice. 
  • Nancy Ewart Dr. Jiao has quite a background; I don't know what he worked with in Hong Kong or Honolulu but he's certainly qualified to bring in more contemporary art if that's what the museum choses. Personally, I like the Asian's mix of ancient and contemporary.

  • Nancy Ewart They also may not have the physical space to mount a show of contemporary Chinese art. Their ground floor galleries aren't that big and I can't see them moving around the upstair galleries in any significant way for large, modern pieces.

    Cindy Shih Maybe an opportunity for San Jose or Oakland... Unfortunately for us.

    Michael Yochum Certainly they are space constrained. And I agree, there is nothing to suggest that Dr. Jiao will not bring contemporary art too. There have been some good exhibitions at the Asian that, critically, drew audience. There have also been some odd choices recently, notably the somewhat bizarre "Phantoms of Asia" and the current "Gorgeous". Why not a straight forward exhibition that introduces us to important artists rather than woo hoo exhibitions that try to manufacturer connections?

  • Nancy Ewart I was talking to a friend of mine who does PR for various museums. She tactfully pointed out that SFMOMA has the power. Possibly some of the less than successful shows put on between SFMOMA and the various museums have been due to big guy on the block over riding other voices and choices. It's SFMOMA's power that pushed through this "woo hoo" exhibit as part of their "On The Road." Lay the blame, if you must, on SFMOMA.

  • Nancy Ewart I think the mentality behind "Gorgeous" - to combine modern/controversial with traditional worked in a couple of cases but in several cases, the modern just did not hold up. Unless you are a dedicated advocate for all modern all the time (ie, our local big name critic), the modern looked shabby, garish and, in some cases, ridiculous. IMHO

    Michael Yochum The Asian could be mounting interesting exhibitions - both modern and historical - without resorting to silly gimmicks. Example: they showed mock ups of Hiroshi Sugimoto's pagodas in "Phantoms" - clearly not his best work. When his photography was showcased, that happened at the DeYoung, not the Asian. Why?

    Me: Why should they? If you look through the museum, there are many contemporary works but maybe not cutting edge enough to suit you.

    Nancy Ewart to Michael Yochum - Maybe SF needs a new museum of contemporary Asian art? I don't think they have ever been big on photography - maybe that goes over better at the de Young? I am sure that when SFMOMA opens, they will have shows of contemporary Asian art. Why take the one resource we have, north of LA, and turn it into a space for art that can be seen in 100 different places?I also think they have had many shows over the last years which combined ancient and modern - the calligraphy show for instance. But it seems like you want the Asian to be what it's not - a focus on contemporary (and transitory) instead of a space for the ancient and timeless.

    I value the quiet contemplation of a masterpiece which is an experience that I have often had at the Asian. I don't want to see louder, more intrusive, noisier art (if indeed you can call some of it art). Leave that to other places. In the final analysis, the Asian will do what it feels is right to build the connection and support the museum. Our chatter is but noise - signifying nothing.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cancer, the Crab

Cancer - The Crab: June 21 - July 22

Cancerians love home-life, family and domestic settings. They are traditionalists, and enjoy operating on a fundamental level. They love history, and are fascinated with the beginnings of things (heraldry, ancestry, etc.). The moon is their ruler, so they can be a bit of a contradiction and sometimes moody. However, they are conservative, so they'll be apt to hide their moods from others altogether. They have a reputation for being fickle, but they'll tell you that isn't true, and it's not. Cancerians make loyal, sympathetic friends. However Cancerians need alone time, and when they retreat, let them do so on their terms.
Zodiac images from The Getty