Friday, March 5, 2021

Quiz Answer --- Day 9/319

Walk: Moscone Center (for last covid shot) 

Distance: 2.5 miles

Three metal sculptures by Calder and Picasso

So, back to Ciwt's quiz  about the three metal sculptures above (Day 9/319).  If you answered that the middle one was created by Picasso and the two on the ends by Calder, you are CORRECT🏆.

It is interesting to Ciwt that the two artists' very different temperments seem to influence the look and feel of their works.  Alexander Calder (American 1898-1976) was by nature joyful, mirthful, playful, outer directed, a rare happy artist*.  And these qualities suffuse all his art, including the two works below, both from 1927 when he was living in and enchanting Paris.

Alexander Calder,Ballplayer, 1927, wire
 ca 8" x 8" 

Alexander Calder, Acrobats, 1927, wire
ca 10" x 10"

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) was complex: by turns genial, ego-centric, mercurial, playful, ferocious, cruel.  Above all probably, intensely bound up in himself, much like the little work below.

Pablo Picasso, Figure, 1931, iron and wire, ca .5"x 3"

* See CIWT Day 9/260, Yes Happy Artist

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Brimming With Freshness --- Day 9/318

Walk: Hood

Distance: 2.5 miles

The Calder-Picasso show at the de Young is a visual delight.  The works on display look great individually and together coealesce into a magical environment.

Calder's fly along, bobbing on shaped delicate wires, delighting with primary colors in graceful, unpredictable motion.  Picasso's are strong, passionate, earthy, focussed on the inner self.  They look as if he stepped up to his easel and let his passions rip.  But, not at all.  All of Picasso's works started classically: with study of the great artists in museums, knowledge of classic themes throughout history and countless preliminary drawings. 

The show takes viewers back to the early and mid twentieth century when both Calder and Picasso did their most revolutionary - and freshest - work. One of Ciwt's favorite art eras so she thoroughly enjoyed feeling close to those artistically alive times.  To her mind the show's signage is too much technical 'art speak' trying to convey how radical the works were when they were first introduced.  To really get that shock of the new Ciwt wishes she could have seen the exhibit at its original venue, The Picasso Museum in Paris:

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

P-C: A Fresh Spin --- Day 9/317

Walk: de Young Museum (Calder-Picasso Show)

Distance: 7.3 miles, Yoga Stretch

Sculpted artworks by Alexander Caldwell and Pablo Picasso Ca 1930's

So the de Young Museum just re-opened this morning along with its new show, Calder-Picasso, and Ciwt had both almost entirely to herself.  It was her idea of heaven - Calder, Picasso, Ciwt alone together.  

She's letting the experience sink in a bit but will leave her readers with a question today:  In the photo above, can you guess which work is Calder's and which is Picasso's?

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

All Day Picasso --- Day 9/316

Walk: Hood, Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 5.5 miles, 90 minutes pickleball, stretches here and there

Pablo Picasso, Autoportrait, 1907

So, we just learned that, as of tomorrow, San Francisco is open again (sort of)* .  That includes our museums (sort of) and definitely Ciwt.  As luck would have it, there is a small donor opening for the Picasso-Calder show in the morning as well as a ZoomYale Art lecture on Picasso later in the afternoon.  So tomorrow will be All Picasso All Day for Ciwt.  Stay tuned - away if you are not a Picasso fan.

* Doors are open to many venues with definite restrictions about the number of people allowed in - and of course masks and spacing required.

Monday, March 1, 2021

March Begins --- Day 9/315

Walk: Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 2.4 miles, 1 hour pickle

Well, Okay, MARCH, take it away!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Golden Gate Turned Pink --- Days 312, 13 & 14

Walk: 1. Presidio Pickleball  2. TJ's then Movie Time (Zoom Discuss The Two of Us, watch Another                    Round)   3.Golden Gate Park Magnolias

Distance: 1. 2.3 miles, 90 minutes pickle  2. 2.5 miles then sit discuss & watch  3. 8 miles

So, it's been a pre-covid while since Ciwt spent time in Golden Gate Park's Botanical Garden.  And when she went today she found it had turned gorgeous shades of  pink

The pink world above her and petals at her feet was the annual bloom of more than 200 rare and historic magnolias and one of San Francisco's most breathtaking natural marvels.  The timing is weather dependent and Ciwt was a shade late for the peak, but even in this later stage there were dramatic splashes of velvety color and sweetly fragrant scents.

Magnolia campbellii
The Botanical Garden is home to the most significant magnolia collection outside China.  It began in 1939 when Eric Walther, the Garden Director planted the first magnolia and went on to introduce a wide variety of species and cultivars.  One of the most famous species he planted was a cup and saucer magnolia or Magnolia campbellii which, in 1940, was the first to bloom in the United States and attracted huge crowds of visitors who stood in long lines for the opportunity to see the large pink blossoms.  

80+ years later it is still standing, but Ciwt isn't sure whether she saw it or the numerous other campelliis now in the Garden, each with its own history.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

I See.... --- Days 9/310 & 311

Walk: 1. 2 annual checkups (all good!)  2. Japantown

Distance: 1. 4 miles   2. 2.5 miles, Yoga

Ciwt's check up and vaccine season has begun so she will be getting her exercise walking from medical venue to medical venue for a few weeks  --  and happy to be able to do it 😊.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Stay Still Please --- Days 9/308 & 309

Walk: 1. Monday Errands  2. Presidio Pickleball

Distance: 1. 4 miles  2.2.5 miles, 90 minutes (sweltering) pickle, small stretch

Jim Farrant (English), Sweet Peas and Daisies, undated (ca. 2010)

Ahh, the still life.  It has been a little while since Ciwt spent some time with one of the oldest art genres.  And quite a while since the San Francisco air was so fresh, the birdsong so loud, the sun so promising that Ciwt felt a touch of spring fever.

Still life was an art form long before it was officially deemed a 'genre' by the Dutch in the 16th century (who called it stilleven). And, although often associated with flowers, still lifes are any arrangement of inanimate objects like fruit, glassware and textiles, usually set on a table.   In western art history the earliest known still lifes were created by the Egyptians in the 15th century BCE with the most famous being at the Tomb of Menna whose walls are adorned with exceptionally detailed scenes of everyday life. 

Later, while the Greek and Roman craftsmen mostly reserved their still lifes for mosaics (or the mosaics were the most endurable), they also placed every day objects in their frescoes like this one from a 1st Century wall at Pompei.

Then in the Middle Ages you find still lifes used for religious purposes, often incorporated into bible scenes and illuminated manuscripts.  And then it was on to the Renaissance and astoundingly detailed paintings of everyday life.
Jan Brueghel the Elder, Flowers in a Wooden Vessel, 1606-1607

And the Dutch vanitas still lifes with their momento mori admonition: Don't forget, everything dies, including you.  So don't be too materialistic.  (Or something along those lines all symbolized by rotting fruit, molding bread, rats, clocks, and other deteriorating or dead objects in the canvases). 

Pieter Claelsz, Vanitas Still Life, 1625 

Pretty soon it was on to Impressionist and Post Impressionist art with multi million dollar paintings of Sunflowers.
Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, 1889

And of course modern art which often challenges (or defeats) the viewer trying to discern the object.
Georges Braque, Still Life with Metronome, 1909

The wonder in this long history is that the still life continues to be such a fresh art form.  Each one different, each with its own individual energy. And, among the inanimate objects, a part of each animate artist left behind. 

Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009), May Basket, undated (20th C), o/c