Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Beach Art --- Day 8/46

Walk: Around House Cleaning! (Ciwt's cleaning girl is sick, so...)
Distance: Not far but cleaning is hard work!, pedal, medium yoga

After a day inside (cleaning!?! - even her cats were shocked) ) Ciwt was ready for the beach.  So she let her fingers do the walking to images of the annual  International Sand Sculpture Festival in Sonervig, Denmark.*

She hopes one of these didn't come down the beach 

* Amateur sandcastle engineers will likely be happy to hear scientists have now come up with an answer to how much water to sand you need for the perfect sandcastle.  Read here if you want to learn the formula.


Monday, April 29, 2019

Back to the C -- Days 8/34-45

Walks: Mostly Hood, deYoung Museum, Legion of Honor, Finger walking through art research and
            Tour Planning
Distance: 3-5.5 miles every day, small to medium yoga every day, smattering of pedaling

Paul Gauguin, By the Sea (Fatita te Miti), 1892, oil on canvas

So where has Ciwt been for 12! days? Succumbing to spring fever after a long, cold, rainy winter, yes.  But mostly preparing for a Gigantic art tour.

The good news was that someone decided to treat her friend to an all day San Francisco Art and History Tour.  Always a pretty daunting tour for Ciwt to make both comprehensive and fun, especially when there is a major special exhibition in town.  Well, on the particular chosen day there were three special exhibitions of three of the most important and popular artists in all of western art history.

At the de Young was Paul Gauguin whose painting (which wasn't in the exhibition) you see above and Claude Monet whom you see below in his beloved, remarkable and often painted garden at Giverny.

You may have heard of these two artists.  As she delved more deeply into the current shows, Ciwt came to have less regard and compassion for Gauguin, perhaps because the show, Gauguin: A Spiritual Journey, contained very few of the colorful Tahitian paintings the public usually associates with him and a great many fairly good but inconsequential wood carvings, peculiar ceramics, and okay prints.  Very few of these art works sold, and, if it hadn't been for the prodigious and successful efforts of Mette, the enterprising wife Gauguin abandoned (along with their five children together), even less of them would have.  Sounds judgmental on Ciwt's part, and she really isn't trying to be: people are free to pursue their own dreams, but....

On the other hand Monet: The Late Years gave Ciwt deeper respect for the depth of integrity of Monet's talent and dedication to art.  His late years were as difficult as those years can be: his cherished wife and son had both died, the ongoing blasting horrors of World War I were within earshot, and, perhaps most depressing and agitating of all, cataracts were robbing him of his eyesight.  (He was completely blind in one eye and had 10% vision in the other.  A late surgery was only mildly successful and extremely difficult).  Still he painted, probably because it bonded him with the beauty and solace of his garden but also because he had committed to the enormous paintings that were his final works and his gift to France, his beloved country.  You would know them as the paintings in Paris's L'Orangerie:

And she positively fell in love* with brilliant, erudite, supremely talented, fun, witty, businessman-diplomat-artist- loving friend and husband, Peter Paul Rubens.
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), The Artist and His First Wife* *in the Honeysuckle Briar, 1609-10, oil on canvas

Really Rubens had it all, including well deserved fame and a place in art history at the level of Michelangelo and da Vinci.  The one thing he didn't have was subject matter that was of enduring interest.  At the time he was painting, portraits, altarpieces, biblical stories, fierce hunting scenes and plump women were in demand - enormous demand.  Today, well, not so much:

Peter Paul Rubens, Lion, Tiger and Leopard Hunt (detail), 1616, oil on canvas
Peter Paul Rubens, Lot and His Daughters, ca. 1614-15, oil on canvas

Then there was the rest of both museums and San Francisco history and personages to present.  Ciwt Loved the whole project, but she had CIWT on her mind the whole time and is glad to be back at C.

* Not! to the exclusion of Matisse who is still the love of her personal artistic life.
**She was Isabella Brant and sadly died many years into their happy marriage.  Several years after her death, Rubens                married again and was again very happily married until his death at age 63.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Yes, Sir, It's Museum Art --- Day 8/33

Walk: de Young Museum
Distance: 5.6 miles, Yoga

Viola Frey (1933-2004), Man Observing, Series II, 1984, Glazed Earthenware with Steel Plate
This ceramic work by Viola Frey brings a smile of recognition to Ciwt's face whenever she sees it at the de Young Museum.  You don't have to know a thing about art to know what the artist is saying here - at nearly 9' and brightly colored, more like shouting.

In the 1980's when Frey began making her monumental ceramic sculptures exploring issues of gender, past and present, you can be sure she encountered suits one after another with hands on their male hips and saying "No!"  "No, that's not art."  "No, that isn't what sculpture is all about."  "No, you can't be shown in in 'my' museum."  "No, No, No..."  

Frey stood right up to them; she had to, the museum world was completely dominated by men.  And, guess what, she stretched the limits of free-standing sculpture right into important art (not just craft) collections. Her brash talent spoke to the man, and her pieces have been standing tall for decades now in museums like the de Young, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and other first class museums all over the world.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Shopping Around --- Day 8/31 & 32

Walk: Sutter Upholstery (Finally settled on couch slipcover fabric for cats to destroy), PGCC Book Group (The Address)
Distance: 2.4  miles, small yoga

Wearing her Professional Shopper Hat Ciwt stopped by one of her favorite stores to say goodbye.  Luckily it isn't closing but moving to a larger, more visible location nearby.  Ciwt will miss its more cozy, charming place on Maiden Lane where she spent many hours over the years.

How much is that shiny cat in the window?

If cat mom Ciwt allowed herself to load up on kitty kitsch, she'd defintely consider this ceramic dude.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Methinks Not Necessarily --- Day 8/30

Walk: Cinema Club (It's All True), Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival
Distance: 3.6 miles, small yoga

As one reviewer wrote in part "....I would have settled for some of it being interesting."  He's referring to the film All is True, produced, directed and starred in by Kenneth Branagh.  Ciwt wouldn't go that far although there are long stretches of utter dullness.  But there is one 8 minute scene with Branagh and Ian McKellen that is worth the entire price of admission for those who love the stage.

PS - Nearly all the 'truth' in the movie is debatable. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Where's My Seat? --- Day 8/29

Walk: Union Square (The Jungle)
Distance: 3.6 miles, small yoga

Maybe you remember the gorgeous remodeled Curran Theater from an earlier CIWT:

Here is today for its current offering The Jungle:
They somehow leveled the entire orchestra section, covered it with dirt and converted it into a makeshift refugee restaurant with the audience at the tables or, like Ciwt, on a pillow on the floor.
The audience members became refugees, part of the experience of those in Calais, France in 2015 waiting/hoping for passage across the English Channel to England.

Ciwt knew what was ahead when she bought her ticket for The Jungle, and she was concerned the play would be overwrought, emotional, political - ie, Hea-vy. But, no, it was human, humane, intelligent, highly entertaining and very thought-provoking.  Also a bit physically taxing; some audience members had to get out of the way of the action or were seated in the midst of it.  Ciwt and the long legged, spike heeled woman next to her just had to keep giving each other room to stretch our legs on the 'ground.'  But of course the inclusive discomfort and unpredictability was the point of The Jungle.

Friday, April 12, 2019

That Would Be Mrs. --- Day 8/28

Walk: Presidio
Distance: 3 miles, Pedal, Yoga

Here is the list of the Women Artists who were included to show in the 1894 Midwinter Fair, an international extravaganza held here in Golden Gate Park:  

The list is noteworthy because in 1894 women all over the world were in the early stages of fighting for recognition as independent artists in their own right.  And this list is extensive.  Congratulations are due. As she reads down it Ciwt sees  several women who painted under their married names, under Mrs....Perhaps they felt more comfortable with that formality, or perhaps they still did not see themselves as individual entities in society or perhaps their husbands insisted.  She also sees a Mr. on the list.  That might be a typo or it may be that C.E.Mavis felt she could not command attention not to mention sales if she painted under a female name.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

No Flower Child --- Days 8/25, 26, 27

Walk: 1. Nails   2. de Young, Legion (Tour Prep); PGCC (Bridge)  3. Marin Driving Day
Distance: 1. 1 allergy mile   2. 1.5 allergy miles   3. 6 allergy blocks, Yoga

So Ciwt's spring is gorgeous here in San Francisco -  when she can appreciate it through her sneezes scratchy eyes and general slowed down-ness.  
Pollen flying off branches

Monday, April 8, 2019

Two 'Towers' --- Day 8/24

Walk: Research for Ciwt's Art and History Tour Begins
Distance: A few blocks, Pedal, Yoga

          Original de Young Museum 1914

                                                     Current de Young Museum

What a difference a couple of earthquakes make.  The original de Young was outgrown, enlarged, destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and replaced by a new museum.  But that one was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and 'replaced' by the current iteration above.  Well, at least they both have towers. That's another - and controversial - story.

Just Looking, Just in Case --- Day 8/23

Walk: Open Houses
Distance: 5 miles

As CIWT readers know, Ciwt Loves her little home.  But occasionally she goes out into "the most expensive U.S. residential real estate market" just to keep informed just in case.  Some things are more fun to learn about than others.  The price$, I Yi Yi.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Purest Moviemaking -- Day 8/22

Walk: Embarcadero Cinema (Ash is Purest White)
Distance: 4 miles, teeny yoga

Ciwt just returned from one of the ten best movies she has seen in a pretty long lifetime of going to movies.  And she can't explain exactly why:  cinematography, yes; historical commentary, yes; present day commentary, yes; sweeping drama, yes; small, intimate drama, yes; outstanding acting, yes.  Ash is Purest White has all those ingredients at the highest and most intelligent level - and more.  She says: Arthouse Film Buffs, Definitely Attend.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Some Bloom, Others Watch --- Day 8/21

Walk:  No, Recovering from Extroversion
Distance: 0

So after exhausting her extravert energies for three nights and with an all day art tour on the horizon,  Ciwt needed a day of  simply witnessing the annual miracle of her pet tree coming back to life.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Coming and Going --- Days 8.18,19 & 20

Walk: 1. SF Playhouse (Yoga Play), 2. Asian Art Museum (Kimono Refashioned), SF Ballet,                          Legion of Honor (Early Rubens)
Distance: 1. A Few Blocks, a little yoga 2. 5.4 Miles   3. 2.2 Miles, small yoga

So Where has Ciwt been?  Abandoning Alex Trebek to do nights on the town.  Tuesday it was 
Yoga Play at SF Playhouse:
A fairly inconsequential play which yoga teacher Ciwt enjoyed because it was a send up of the current yoga scene.

Then Wednesday it was Asian Art Museum's show Kimono Refashioned which Ciwt found interesting for a further understanding of the place of kimonos in historical Japanese society and its influence on Western fashion from Haute Couture to Pop ready to wear.  
She had a ticket for the ballet right near the Asian. But it wasn't going to start for a few hours, would end at her midnight (probably10pm) so she walked to the box office, donated her ticket and walked home.  Enough is enough.

Now tonight she will cap her week on the town by going to a swankish opening of the Peter Paul Rubens show, Early Rubens, at the Legion of Honor.  

She's already looking forward to returning to her old habits tomorrow: A movie (good hopefully, but middling will do) during the predicted 'atmospheric river,' then dinner with her usual partner, Alex Trebek and early to bed.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Check List Fool --- Day 8/17

Walk: No, Monday List
Distance: 0, 40 minute Pedal, Yoga

Ciwt wasn't fooling around today; she completed everything on her Check List and more.  Even finished taxes (almost) and picked up an art tour client after a long dry spell.  No fooling!*

*It's April Fool's Day.