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    The de Young Museum of San Francisco

    What follows are two slideshows of photos of paintings taken at the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco.  The first slideshow features some of the beautiful paintings of the museum’s collection, and the latter slideshow features paintings by J.M.W. Turner that were showcased as part of the Painting Set Free exhibit.  The de Young’s permanent collection alone is well worth a visit to this massive museum in Golden Gate Park.  (Right-click to view the images in full.)




    The Nicholas Roerich Museum

    The Nicholas Roerich Museum features the sweeping, fantastical, and phantasmagorical paintings of the eponymous dead Russian artist, and is a located in a beautiful brownstone house in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.   Inundated by natural light, the three-story house contains over a hundred of Roerich’s original canvas paintings.  Roerich lived from 1874 – 1947 and was essentially a Renaissance Man (painter, writer, engineer, archaeologist, theologian, and gigolo).  With his wife he traveled the globe, perhaps more so than any other major artist of his time, and it is clear from his motifs (and probably from the many books he has written) that he was a very spiritual person.  His paintings of Himalayan mountain scenes are vibrant and rich in color.  He often incorporates metaphysical or mystical elements (faces in cliffs, ancient petroglyphs carved into rocks, monks radiating light) into his paintings, which provided an added dimension of mythological profundity and surrealism.  Next time you're in New York, pay a visit to this museum, which could use some more visitor support, although admission is donation-based (other than the old lady at the desk, no one else was there when I went...).  Right-click on the images to see them in full.









    Sea Tree

    Here are two blurry photographs of sculpture of a “Sea Tree” that I made early last year.   The medium here is wood, seaweed, shells, other dead sea creatures, plastic dinosaurs, rocks, and titanium, bonded together with glue. 



    The Gates of Hell

    The doors to Heaven and Hell are adjacent and identical.

                                                                                                             Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ


    The Gates of Hell are located at Stanford University, and are part of the B. Gerald Cantor Rodin Sculpture Garden.  Auguste Rodin’s original plaster (which he chiseled away at off and on for thirty-seven years until his death) is showcased in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.  Below is a slideshow of the bronze cast of the massive doors which depict scenes from the Dante’s Inferno.  In the epic poem, an inscription above the gates reads:

    Through me you pass into the city of woe
    Through me you pass into eternal pain
    Through me among the people lost for aye.
    Justice the founder of my fabric moved:                                    
    To rear me was the task of Power divine,
    Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love                 
    Before me things create were none, save things
    Eternal, and eternal I endure.                                  

    Abandon all hope, ye who enter.



    All this reminds me of the old riddle:

    You have died and are in limbo. There are two doors. One door leads to heaven, and the other door leads to hell.  There are two guardians, one by each door. One guardian always tells the truth, and the other guardian always lies. What one question can you ask a guardian to find out which door leads to heaven?



    Chihuly - A Galaxy of Glass

                 Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass museum in Seattle showcases gigantic, fantastical glass sculptures.   Words that come to mind are: imaginative, visionary, aquatic, vitrified, glass, smash, bash, baseball bat (I just want to hear a sculpture drop).  In the museum theater, there’s a video featuring an outdoor exhibition that Chihuly put on in 2000 in Jerusalem.  Over a million people visited the exhibition then, and they all got along just fine.  Chihuly mentions how he feels that people, regardless of their religious beliefs, need art in their lives.  He’s right.  Like many human habits, art is a unifying force, and can help our species see past our cultural differences and possibly save us from destroying ourselves (which would be more of a post-modern expressionist thing).