I want to write about our lovely trip to Berkeley yesterday, but I’ve been ruminating about my day in San Francisco last week and want to post something about it.
We began last Saturday by visiting the de Young museum. They had an exhibit on Chicano art that I had been really wanting to see. One of the first set of paintings you see upon entering the exhibition are by Carlos Almaraz, depicting a series of car accidents. I knew immediately that the art in this collection was going to hit me in the gut and in the heart in a way that the Monet paintings from the other weekend just couldn’t. Part of the reason that the exhibit had so much impact on me was how current the themes of the art are, things that have happened in my lifetime. This is not the art that you typically see in museums. While interpreting these current themes, many of the artists juxtapose the beautiful with the horrific, especially the painting Pool Party by John Valadez.
We also visited an exhibit of the quilts of Gee’s Bend. In this isolated community southwest of Selma, Alabama, women reinterpreted many classic quilt patterns in new ways. What is especially unique about the quilt makers in this community is that they actively encouraged new quilters to design and build their quilts their own way.
What struck me after visiting these exhibits back to back was how much these artists put so much of themselves in what they do and then they bravely put it out there for everyone to see. It was quite the reminder to me to do the same. I am very much an observer of life more than a liver of life. My goal as I grow older is to become more of a liver, someone that puts my ideas out there in the world.
The second half of the day was spent in the Mission district, where we enjoyed lovely paninis and INCREDIBLE tarts from Tartine.
We also took a tour of Mission Dolores, the oldest surviving building in San Francisco. The church itself was beautiful, but I appreciated the cemetary most of all. So many young, young women are buried there. Most of them were mothers, immigrants from Ireland, and younger than me when they died.
Tomorrow, I will post about my much less melancholy trip to Berkeley, where we ate good food and saw cool things.