Friday, January 20, 2012

My Favorite De Young Museum Collections

My next target of this My Favorite Museum Collection Series is De Young Museum in San Francisco.  I never truly understand the philosophy of this museum, which collects rather haphazardly, despite the fact that it often mounted blockbuster shows, such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism from d'Orsay, Collections from Picasso Museum, Paris and the current Venetian Masterworks from Vienna, and a very substantial Southeast Asian artifacts.

Its permanent collections are mostly modern works and American works in the Hudson School style, which was a big bore. 

My favorite artwork in this museum is an installation, Anti-Mass, by Cornelia Parker:

Anti-Mass by Cornelia Parker - De Young Museum, San Francisco _ 9357

This installation, at first glance, was an intriguing but rather pleasant looking mass, which seemed playful and fun.  But, once a viewer understands what the fragments are, the perspective changes instantaneously and the work took on a weight far larger than the collective physical weight of these fragments.

De Young Museum describes this piece thus:
This sculpture is constructed from the charred remains of a Southern Baptist church with a predominantly African American congregation, which was destroyed by arsonists. After Parker learned of the arson, she received permission to use the timbers of the burned church to make this piece. In the title, Parker (who was raised Catholic) uses the word "mass" as a reference to both the elemental substance of the universe and the sacramental ritual at the center of the Christian faith. In this way, the realms of science and religion are brought together to emphasize the power of creativity over violence and destruction. Parker's cube appears to defy gravity, the title a witty allusion to this fact, and the sculpture floats ethereally in the air while remaining a monumental object of quiet meditation and reflection.

Confronting viewers with the temporal nature of everything physical, Parker captures the spirit of those who previously worshiped in the building until the fire turned it into a testament to violence directed against African Americans. Her work hovers as a miraculous, spectral object evoking both the lost church and the presence of its congregation through an absence more powerful than any figurative image.
The little video below can give my reader a sense what awe it cast over me:

Another favorite work of mine here is an oil painting by Elmer Bischoff, Yellow Lampshade.  I love its melancholic atmosphere and the lovely palettes, which were simultaneously warm and cold, drawing you in and making you want to run away from that enclosed fishbowl but one simply cannot move ones feet.  One was transfixed on the spot and got absorbed in that all too familiar dehumanizing modernity:

Yellow Lampshade, 1969, Elmer Bischoff, De Young Museum, San Francisco

My Favorite Museum Collection Series

>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 3: My Favorite Paintings at Legion of Honor Museum
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 1: My Favorite SFMOMA Collections

List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited

Related posts on Art · 文化 · Kunst:
- Last Call - "The Girl With A Pearl Earring" in De Young Museum, San Francisco
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- "Compliments to Vermeer" - Controversial Solo Exhibition of the Renowned Chinese Painter JIN Shangyi
- Paintings As Pivotal Elements
- Last Chance to See Terracotta Warriors in San Francisco Asian Art Museum
- Birth of Impressionism at De Young Museum, San Francisco
- Venetian Masterpieces from Vienna at De Young Museum
- My Favorite Works at De Young Museum, San Francisco

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