I spent my last full day in San Francisco looking at two of my favourite galleries, SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
SFMOMA had an excellent display for their 75th anniversary. Some of my favourite elements of this exhition was the way they focussed on the different directors, their collecting period and the things they came up against! I loved seeing some of the letters from patrons who were outraged with 'controversial' acquisitions and the curator's responses to them. It is something that still happens today so it was comforting to see that some things never change.
The display on how the museum kept running (although on a much smaller scale) during WWII and how they felt it was their duty to show art for the people even in such tough times. The display was very well put together and showed great focus on how their collection was put together.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco is always on my 'must see' list. They always have the most fascinating exhibitions and their installs are also pretty amazing. I would like to say that whoever designs their exhibitions has very similar curatorial sensibilities to myself! As it wasn't that long since I had been in San Francisco, there were two exhibitions that I had already seen at the museum, but there were also two new ones that were very thought provoking and beautiful.
The Maira Kalman display was fun, quirky and had an excellent direction in story telling. In terms of the installation, I loved the mixture of objects, textiles and small drawings and watercolours. I also loved how they butted all of the little frames up together, something which isn't normally done but it added to the beautiful chaos of the show. I was quite unfamilar with her work, but definitely will do some more research!
The Re-inventing Ritual: contemporary art and design for Jewish life display was simply amazing. It was a very brave display showcasing some incredibly inovative artists and designers who are playing with the traditional motifs and objects of jewish ritual. For me some of the most interesting work was the work that investigated and contradicted the ideas of gender specification in many of the rituals. For some women artists, they wanted to see what the rituals for Jewish men were all about, to demystify the rituals. It was simply a beautiful exhibition, I think that it may travel internationally so if you have the chance - go see it!!!