Wednesday, August 31, 2016

To Know, Know, Know You.... --- Day 5/193

Walk: Yes, SFMOMA, Union Square
Distance: 2.5 miles

Image result for sfmoma

This is our new SFMOMA addition.   Looks weird doesn't it?  Ciwt thought so, but the more time she spends in it, the more she respects and loves it.  Stay tuned for some reasons why...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Once More Down the Art Hole... Day5/192

Walk: SFMOMA (yes, again - two tours and others in the future coming up)
Distance: 3 miles

Jeff Koons. Rabbit, 1986. (Photo / Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago)
Jeff Koons. Rabbit, 1986

Thhhh, That's all for Ciwt today, folks.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"I can't pass for...." --- Day 5/192

Walk: Would you believe SFMOMA plus Union Square for hair
Distance: 3.5 miles and home yoga

Image result for Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor bathroom scene

Ciwt still laughs out loud remembering the bathroom scene from Silver Streak.  Thanks Gene and Richard.

She likes the realness of Richard Pryor's daughter, Rain, when commenting on Wilder's death today:

"[Wilder] was a very caring human being, but I know that he didn't hang out with dad a lot because they just didn't — my dad was different," Pryor elaborated. "They were different in natures. Mr. Wilder was the older 'I'm here. I'm doing my work and we have a great chemistry. And then I'm going to go have my sober life.' He was a normal dude compared to my dad in that sense. But in terms of his kindness and generosity and to watch the two of them together, there's not a magic that's been like that in a long time." 
Her father thought the world of Wilder and made the same comment about his screen buddy all the time, she said.
"[Richard] thought he was amazing," Pryor said. "He thought them together was amazing. He always said, 'That man's a genius, and he's a good man, that's for sure.' I always heard him say, 'He's a good man.'"

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Thirty and Counting ... Day 5/190

Walk: No, Big Pre-Fall Closet Caper
Distance: Around the Pad, A Little Yoga

Image result for everything out of the closet

Out it all came, On it was all tried, Back it all went.  30 pieces didn't survive Ciwt's pre-Fall closet caper; there will be more!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Wanna Buy A..... --- Day 5/189

Walk: SFMOMA, Union Square Stores 
Distance: 3 miles

Image result for graphic novels and cats
Image result for graphic novels and cats

Former bookstore owner/manager, Ciwt, still can't quite get it through her head that Graphic Novels aren't pornography.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Seniority ---- Day 5/188

Walk: Mostly Home with Callie's Acupuncture Team
Distance: A few blocks, Home Yoga

A few ways to know you have a senior cat:

1.  You show up at the local pet shop every day hoping to find a brand of food your cat will eat.
      Image result for they've started giving me senior cat food cartoon

2. Their health requirements get so complicated, you hire a cat acupuncturist for a house call.
     Image result for they've started giving me senior cat food cartoon

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Just Five Miles Away --- Day 5/187

Walk: Union Square (Marin Driving Day where Ciwt gets to see El Sol)
Distance: 1 mile, Home Yoga

Image result for golden gate bridge in the fog

San Francisco side of Golden Gate Bridge

Image result for marin side of golden gate bridge
Marin side of Golden Gate Bridge

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Timber --- Day 5/186

Distance: 3 miles and Home Yoga

Mark di Suvero, Che Faro Senza Eurydice, 1960, wood, rope

The works Ciwt usually sees of Mark di Suvero, a Bay Area local sculptor made good, are his huge painted steel outdoor assemblages * Image result for di suvero Image result for di suvero.  So she keeps being surprised by his smaller, wooden sculpture at SFMOMA.  Surprised and pleased because the wood is a much warmer medium and the scale is at a size where she can really take in the whole piece.  Plus she likes the rhythmic title, whatever it means.

She also likes how it refers to di Suvero's lifelong love of bridges and boats as well as his early work in the shipyards. di Suvero has said that for him the joy of doing art is gathering his materials and then letting the work grow by itself. This piece feels like that; like a boat builder stepping from timber to timber, roping and bolting his craft together - with joy.

* See CIWT Days 3/136 & 7 for di Suvero at Crissy Field in 2014.
PS - Two more private, personalized tours coming up for Ciwt's new art tour company.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What A Card --- Day 5/185

Walk: Van Ness, Fillmore errands, Trader Joe's
Distance: 4 miles, home yoga

[Edward Ruscha's business card]

This is the business card Ed Ruscha printed, carried and handed out in the early 60's.  Ciwt likes it a lot.  Ruscha had only arrived in attend art school - by car of course - a few years before.  He was about 25, and the 60's were not the era when everyone - muchless young artists - carried business cards.  (That was the 80's.  Remember all those self-promotion pamphlets and stationery?)

What is discretely evident already in his card is Ruscha's restless ambition, his absolute (and humorous) self-confidence and his lifelong love of words which he loved the slosh of on his cheeks and tongue.

Also here already is Ruscha's on-going relationship with text and image. Text as image, as subject, as a character in its own right.  Text as a font he eventually invented and calls Boy Scout Utility Modern.  Image result for ruscha  What a great name for a typeface!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Where It Begins --- Day 5/184

Walk: No, Needed to be home to talk to CA tax people (all good now!) plus cold, wind, the usual
Distance: 0, Home Yoga

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, Poker Game, 1894, o/c, 41.6" x 50"

Since Ciwt was lucky to grow up in some very nice places, readers might think she was surrounded by the finest of art works.  Well...

The other day when she was stuck playing bridge with scores of women in a well-appointed but stuffy club room, Ciwt's memory went to a place she'd totally forgotten.  Maybe on purpose.  The blue painted downstairs amusement room in one of her childhood houses.

Along those Yale blue walls were brown wood framed prints of Dogs Playing Poker perhaps the entire series of sixteen.  The original paintings (of eleven anthropomorphized dogs altogether) had been commissioned by Brown & Bigelow - are you ready? - to advertise cigars.  It gets worse: The prints have become well known in the United States as examples of 'collective schlock,' 'pop ephemera' and 'working class taste in home decoration.'

The good news Ciwt guesses is 1. even then as a young girl who loved dogs she had the sensibility to think the prints were weird, 2. she was so ripe for good art that she almost fell out of her chair when she was exposed to her first history of art slides.  From that class and those slides on, it was Goodbye Dogs, Hello Fine Art.

Our (art) adventures begin where they begin. Too bad, though, that Ciwt's family didn't have Coolidge's original painting above. It sold in a 2015 Sotheby's auction for $658,000.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Deliveries --- Day 5/183

Walk: No
Distance: 0, Home Yoga

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957), The Flower Carrier, 1935, oil and tempera on Masonite, 48" x 47 3/4"

The other day Ciwt was expecting a delivery of a fairly expensive garment she'd ordered on line.  As the day went into evening, she kept going to her front door to see if the package was there.  Finally, just before going to bed she looked one more time - and there it was on her doorstep.  At 10 p.m. - which meant that someone had to drive alone in the dark of night to bring Ciwt a luxury item she had effortlessly ordered on her computer.  Ciwt felt relieved the delivery was safe, but, more than anything now, she felt forlorn and guilty. (Perhaps needlessly, it might be said, because the driver could have been someone like a student who was delighted to have part time work that suited a student's schedule).

So, what does Ciwt's new delivery have to do Diego Rivera's The Flower Carrier painting above? It's a much reproduced image and a painting she has seen many times at its artistic home right here in San Francisco.  But the last time she walked past it, she realized she was feeling that same sadness and guilt from the evening home delivery.

And this of course goes to Rivera's brilliant ability to tell seemingly simple stories with an economy of form and color that gives them powerful, transcendent meaning.  Here we see two dark-skinned, big-boned individuals.  The small man's burden is so heavy he must rely on the assistance of the woman to hold it as he struggles to stand. Every strand of the basket, every leaf and even each blade of grass is earthy and highly individualized.  This is not a cozy man and nature painting.

And what is in the basket? Bunches and bunches and bunches of beautiful flowers.  Flowers for ladies' hair, for extravagant arrangements on sideboards and tables of restaurants and haciendas. Flowers for enjoyment and visual delight - but not for these laborers who don't - can't actually - relate to them that in way at all. Flowers for people like Ciwt.

Rivera's message is not hidden, nor is it bracketed by the era in which he painted.  It poses timeless, uncomfortable realities of economic and class differences that go back to the beginning of human societies and are in every headline today.  Realities that Ciwt would just as soon not dwell on because they make her feel forlorn and guilty.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sunflower Taxes --- Day 5/182

Walk: No (Busy 'communicating' with the CA FTB)
Distance: A few blocks, home yoga

Our tax board cashed but didn't credit Ciwt's last 2015 installment. So, even though she has paid and they have her money as well as photo copies of all her checks, they ignore her communications and keep coming after her for 'tax payment due.' Scary.  Meanwhile Ciwt lays in flowers to stay sunny.

Friday, August 19, 2016

'Member those 50's? --- Day 5/181

Walk:  Run actually because the bus was so slow, Embarcadero Cinema (Indignation) and Union Square
Distance: 4 miles (2 running to get to movie on time - then sat in wet clothes hoping not to get a 'summer' cold.  Such Indignity!)

Ciwt can't believe she has never read or listened to a Philip Roth book.  Her loss.  She has seen a few film adaptations of them beginning many years ago with Goodbye Columbus which she remembers liking. Of course she has no idea how close it stuck to the book.

Same goes for Indignation which she saw and quite liked today. Very good acting but a bit more downbeat than Ciwt was expecting.  One Roth reader commented that the movie, while good, did not capture the clever fluidity of Roth's movement between humor and profundity.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Intentional Whiff --- Day 5/180

Walk: Marin Driving Day
Distance: A few blocks, Home Yoga

Image result for golf and bad weather
Image result for golf and bad weather
Image result for golf and bad weather

So the big question around cold, windy, foggy San Francisco is when Ciwt will submit her (second and) final regrets to local golf club. (PS - For non-golfers, a round of golf takes at least 3 hours).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ciwt in the Middle --- Day 5/179

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Hell or High Water - x 2)
Distance: 2 miles, home yoga

So, turns out Ciwt isn't good with The Middle.  She likes to start things: the creativity, the challenge, the energy and focus that comes with those.  And, though not pleasant and more difficult, she likes finishing and moving on.  Sometimes it takes her a (long) while, but she is a believer in the old 'close one door, another opens' adage.

But then there is The Middle which baffles Ciwt, gets her down, makes her anxious actually. Right now, The Middle is happening with her new little business, her club, Callie and other decisions.  The Middle is probably akin to the 'grey area,' which isn't a comfortable place for Ciwt either.  She likes Yes/Start or No/Finish.  She doesn't trust or particularly grasp "Maybe/Let the Middle play out." Some voice tells her it won't, that Maybe and The Middle will just eat up time and not yield any results.  So Ciwt starts marching in place with kind of a hopeless sense of things - not knowing what to do, just anxiously waiting.

Of course what is at play in The Middle are things like Trust, Control, Patience.  Oh, dear.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Brain at Play Today --- Day 5/178

Walk: CPMC, Van Ness
Distance: 4.5 miles

Lichtenstein (Figures with Sunset, 1978),  Oldenburg and van Bruggen (Geometric Apple Core, 1991) at SFMOMA

Monday, August 15, 2016

Warmth --- Day 5/177

Walk: Monday Housekeeping (Plus cold and windy outside)
Distance: 0, Nice Home Yoga

Color Ciwt warm inside.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

See This --- Day 5/176

Walk: Sundance Kabuki (Hell or High Water)
Distance: 2 miles and Home Yoga

Highly recommended by Ciwt (especially for lovers of No Country For Old Men).  Much Academy Award potential here.  The story, setting, acting, music are so strong you barely think about Chris Pine's blue eyes  Image result for chris pine blue eyes.

And a personal thank you to the movie for helping her recover from yesterday's 'entrapment' in an old-fashioned clubroom filled with women playing bridge. 

Bridge or Bingo? --- Day 5/175

Walk: Metropolitan Club
Distance: 2 miles


Yesterday Ciwt went for a day of bridge lessons and felt more archaic than this stock photo. Frightening.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

No Punishment at All! --- Day 5/174

Walk: SFMOMA, Babette
Distance: 3 miles and home yoga

Go Stand in the Corner!!   "OK!" says Ciwt - if it is this ever-fresh and enlivening Matisse corner at our new SFMOMA.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Big Art Ahead --- Day 5/173

Walk: Legion of Honor, Marin, Union Square
Distance: 1.5 miles

Lawrence Argent, I See What Your Mean, 2005, 40' High, composite materials, Colorado Convention Center, Denver

So Ciwt met with one of her art tour com-padres in L.A., and it looks like they have some BIG tours in mind.  And they are thinking November.  BIG challenge for Ciwt!!  I see growth for Ciwt and her little company.  Stay tuned....

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Getting Noticed -- Day 5/172

Walk: No, Computer Day
Distance: 0, Nice Long Home Yoga

Ciwt has been busy today writing reviews - for herself.  Thank you everyone who pitched in to help her little art tour business get noticed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Particular Kind --- Day 5/171

Walk: de Young Museum
Distance: 1 mile

Ed Ruscha, Hollywood, 1968, colored screen print

Ciwt went again to Ed Ruscha and the Great American West, the current de Young show, and there's no getting around it:  Ruscha is just very cool - pretty much always has been.  But what strikes Ciwt is the way his art communicates his deep, abiding, unadorned love for Los Angeles even as it has deteriorated, sprawled out, and lost the original purity that first grabbed him. He accepts it all; no judgement. It's simply his particular kind of heaven:

Image result for ed ruscha de young

Monday, August 8, 2016

Olympics of Jeopardy --- Day 5/170

Walk: Van Ness, Marina
Distance: 2.5 miles

This is a Huge week around Ciwt and Callie's house: the final one of the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions.  Until Saturday, don't even think of them picking up a phone or responding to an email much less leaving their house -  even for an errand - during Jeopardy hours.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Here's The Third One --- Day 5/169

Walk: Not Really
Distance: A few cold, windy blocks, home yoga

Curator's Picks: 5 Best Pieces from "Emperors' Treasures" in San Francisco
Kublai Khan as the First Yuan Emperor, Shizu. Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), Album leaf, ink and color on silk.

Ciwt liked this portrait from Asian Art Museum's current The Emperors' Treasures show for its bold, straight-forward portrayal.  You don't have to know you are looking at a conquering emperor to know this is a solid, powerful person.  The show's curator, Jay Xu has this to say about the portrait: 
We know Kublai Khan as a warrior: he conquered China, and made it part of a huge empire. And to a Chinese audience, his facial features, his dress was and is immediately seen as not Chinese; but the portrait is. I respond to faces, I think we all do, and they give us a chance to have a dialogue with someone very different from ourselves. This portrait shows a nomad who had to rule an ancient civilization that was very settled, very sophisticated, and the painting lets us imagine how he reacted to this unfamiliar world. It’s a question historians are continuously trying to answer, and it remains as fresh as ever. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Two Favorites Out of Three --- Day 5/168

Walk: Opera Plaza Cinema (Our Little Sister), Asian Art Museum, Japantown
Distance: 5.8 miles, small stretch

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s major 50th anniversary exhibition Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei is both exquisite and overwhelming. It features artworks from the early 12th century to the early 20th century and explores the identities and artistic impact of nine key rulers. As one press release explained: 
The exhibition highlights how rulers’ individual interests, the particular aspects of their lives, and specific historical events all influenced production at imperial workshops as well as within the imperial household itself. Collecting, patronage, connoisseurship, religion and the impact of foreign influences will be explored and illustrated through the works on view, including paintings, calligraphy, bronze vessels, ceramics, lacquerware, jade, textiles and more.
So, there is much to be learned and enjoyed from the ageless beauty on display, but, wow, it is A Lot to take in.  Ciwt ended up with several personal favorites and was happy to learn that Asian Art Museum's director and the show's curator, Jay Xu,  had three of these on his 'Top 5' Picks list.  Here are two of them.

Cup with chicken design. China; Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, Ming dynasty, reign of the Chenghua emperor (1465–1487). Porcelain with underglaze and overglaze multicolor decoration. National Palace Museum, Taipei , Guci 005189 Cang-164-19-1. Photograph © National Palace Museum, Taipei.

The pure white sheen of this small but wonderfully clear cup is difficult to capture but captivated Ciwt in person. After the show she was interested to read these remarks by Asian Art Museum director Jay Xu:  A similar Chicken cup recently sold for $36 million, which is rational because the cup’s rarity, high quality production, courtly pedigree, and naturalistic charm all create tremendous value for collectors now. Yet the motif here is from daily life: it’s not epic, it’s not overtly grand, but is quite ordinary and a gentle, almost warm image of family life. It’s a farmyard scene familiar to any Chinese peasant, but it’s one commissioned by the emperor. It’s a wonderful mystery why the most powerful man in the world would want something so mundane and domestic on a piece of extremely fine porcelain, at a point when porcelain-making had achieved its highest level of refinement.

Vase with Emperor Quianlog's poem carved on the base. China, Baofeng county, Henan province, Northern Song Dynansty (960-1126)

The simple purity of this celadon vase speaks for itself - even before the wonder of its survival. (It is one of only two surviving Northern Song official Ru vases and a rare masterwork of the highest artistry).  Ciwt surmises if it were ever put up for auction, it would likely fetch well over $50,000,000. This is based on 2002 Sotheby sale results. The show's catalogue has this to say about the almost never at auction imperial Ru ware: 

Pride of emperor, dream of connoisseurs, model for potters – Ru guanyao, the Ru kilns’ ‘official ware’, plays a role quite extraordinary in the history of China and her art. Hardly any other artefacts have elicited feelings as fervent as the small and deceptively modest Ru ceramics. Of outstanding rarity, historically, connected to patriotic sentiments of a grand era, conceptually to philosophical ideals of life in tune with nature, and aesthetically to a sophisticated taste for artlessness and excellence, they have obtained an almost mythical aura.
The Northern Song court (960-1127), unhappy with the ceramic it received, commissioned the kilns at Ruzhou, south of the then capital, Kaifeng, to produce celadons (greenish-blue stonewares). The potters were ambitious; covered all-over with luminous, crackled glazes and precariously balanced in the kiln on stilts that left only tiny marks on the undersides, their pieces almost seemed carved from jade. Ceramics, as a non-precious material perfectly accorded with the ideals of China’s elite of simplicity, modesty and naturalism. With their demanding criteria for judging proportion, glaze structure, tonal range and tactility, Song connoisseurs in many ways anticipated modern design movements.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fortune Dragon --- Day 5/167

Walk: 4.5 miles
Distance: Asian Art Museum, Zuni Cafe, Japantown

Hung Yi (Taiwanese, b. 1970), Dragon Fortune, 2014, enameled steel

Ciwt often feels as cluttered as this whimsical (and very cute) dragon when she goes to the Asian Art Museum.  Every piece of art she sees is usually attractive on the surface for its form and material (from jade to bronze to marble to ceramic) but then she realizes she has to sort of know the history of the country, its spiritual belief system, customs and more to really understand what she is looking at.

This Fortune Dragon, for instance, is associated with the Lunar New Year and other auspicious occasions.  It embodies traditional wishes for abundance, strength and prosperity.  It has been gleefully transformed by the artist by morphing decorative patterns from Taiwanese folk art, Japanese fabric design, pop art and children's cartoons from around the world.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Treasure Trove --- Day 5/166

Walk: Asian Art Museum, Zuni Cafe
Distance: 5 miles

Ma Yuan (active ca. 1160-post 1225), Walking on a path in spring, ink, poetry, calligraphy on handmade paper

Emperors' Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei

A lot to take in for Ciwt.  More later...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Errands, Yes!!! --- Day 5/165

Walk: Hood Errands
Distance: 3 miles and small yoga

Today Ciwt remembers to express thanks for all the little errands she needs to run.  Without them she wouldn't be as healthy, and her life wouldn't be as stimulating.  With them, she has a reason to head out, and once she starts going, there's just no telling where she might end up.......... Image result for san francisco walks.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Whaa The.....?! --- Day 5/164

Walk: Monday Hood Errands
Distance: 3 miles and Home Yoga

Did You Say August? It's August already??!!