Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Striking new San Francisco museum (4 of 4)

Andy Goldsworthy, "Drawn Stone," 2005
de Young Museum

Cornelia Parker, "Anti-Mass," 2005

De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco
17th-20th century American art and art of the native Americans, Asia and the Pacific

Part 4 of 4
Selected works

Andy Goldsworthy, “Drawn Stone,” 2005

As you walk toward the main entrance of the de Young Museum, you could easily overlook a slim crack running down the center of the pavement. The crack stretches to a large squared chunk of stone, splits the stone in two, and continues into a courtyard, where it branches off in half a dozen crooked paths to break through other stone blocks.

This arrangement is a commissioned work by British artist Andy Goldsworthy. When Goldsworthy learned that the chosen material for the piece was Yorkshire sandstone (which also surrounds the museum), he became intrigued by the way that the stone splits.. “The crack and the hole have been an important recurring feature in my art for a long time,” Goldsworthy comments in a recorded audio guide to the museum. “They are windows into the stone, or a release of the energies inside the stone. They are a way of both looking in and looking out of the stone.”

Cracks and fissures have particular meaning in the San Francisco Bay area, and in light of the deYoung’s history, Goldsworthy notes. He likes the idea that visitors don’t immediately recognize his work as art. “People see it and probably think it’s a fault in the building, which I adore. It’s so opposite what you would normally get in front of a museum.”

Cornelia Parker, “Anti-Mass,” 2005

This hanging sculpture is made from charred fragments of a black southern Baptist church destroyed by arsonists.

The piece dominates the room with its ominous presence. Even before I read about the work, I thought it looked like an arrested explosion.

“Mass” refers to both the amount of matter in an object and to a religious ritual. A placard near the he piece states that the installation is meant to evoke “both the lost church and the bodily presence of the congregation through an absence more powerful than any figurative image.”

1 comment:

Denise Graveline said...

Great observations, Lisa -- I also just saw the de Young museum (in early November) and it's an amazing transformation of the site.