Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the old, in with the new

I am constantly reminded of Charles Dicken's line from "A tale of two cities, " "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. " We had fantastic shows but we also had a couple of duds.

SFMOMA followed their show on the Stein family collections with a huge, boring exhibit of black on black "drawings" by Richard Serra. The main thing on view in that exhibit was ego.

The SECA show at SFMOMA was disappointing  and the show to promote marriage equality was not every effective. The book was a lot better (sounds like a lot of movies that we see!).

While the Asian Arts Museum rose like a phoenix from the ashes of last year's financial doldrums with several amazing exhibits, they also chose to spend a lot of money on a new logo. While I tried to be polite, I just don't get it nor did a lot of Bay Area bloggers. But the important thing is what's inside the building, not the signage on the front doors.

The SF Arts Commission reeled from stupid decision to scandal as news broke that they had chosen former dog murderer Tom Otterness for a huge project to make sculptures for the Central Subway - which is another scandal but not an artistic one. Eventually, the commission "fired" him but because of legal issues, still had to let him keep a substantial portion of the grant money. Lots of SF artists were asking why the "SF" Arts Commission couldn't chose a local artist!

The SF Arts Commission also asked their director, Luis Cancel to resign. Apparently he was spending too much time away from the desk, presumably at his second home in Brazil (maybe dancing the Bossa Nova?)

$477,000 in grant money for a SF arts group was given to a LA? The audit is ongoing (I assume?).

The Commission has appointed a new Director of Cultural Affairs, Tom De Caigny comes to the position with many years of experiences, lastly as executive director of the Performing Arts Workshop, DeCaigny will officially assume his new role leading the $10 million agency responsible for championing the arts in San Francisco on January 9, 2011. I wish him luck because he will need it.

Lastly, I just read that John Buchanan, the Director of the FAMSF (both Legion and De Young) died yesterday of cancer.

"John deserves enormous credit for his vision," said Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, in an e-mail. "He brought a succession of important exhibitions to San Francisco, including opportunities for our community to experience masterworks from the Musée Picasso and renowned examples of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism from the Musée d'Orsay. John was a valued colleague and I will miss him tremendously."

My condolences to his family; he will be missed.

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