Friday, January 6, 2017

Of Dogs and Other People: The Art of Roy De Forest

With great anticipation, we await the arrival of this new tome from the University of California Press.

Roy De Forest’s brightly hued, crazy-quilted paintings and sculptures are dotted with nipples of color and inhabited by a cast of characters uniquely his own, a perennial favorite being his instantly recognizable, wild-eyed and pointy-eared dogs. 

Published in conjunction with a retrospective exhibition of the American painter’s fifty-year career, Of Dogs and Other People reassesses De Forest’s art-historical position, placing him in a national rather than solely West Coast context.

Despite the playfulness of his work, close study of De Forest’s art reveals deep layers of meaning. He was a fan of adventure stories, pulp fiction, and underground commix, but he also commanded a vast knowledge of art history and read widely in a variety of disciplines, including poetry, literature, philosophy, psychology, science, and mathematics. 

He enjoyed secreting obscure art-historical references into his work: animals assume postures found in Medieval or Renaissance art, and his compositional strategies draw from sources ranging from the romantic landscape painters of the Hudson River School to the austere geometric abstractions of Piet Mondrian.

This engaging publication presents gorgeous color reproductions of De Forest’s finest artworks, plus a variety of figure illustrations that illuminate the artist’s diverse sources and freewheeling social and creative milieu in Northern California.

The book is authored by Susan Landauer, and published in association with the Oakland Museum of California. Bay Crossings will carry a full review in the coming months. 

Meanwhile, be sure to bookmark the exhibition dates:

Oakland Museum of California: April 29–August 20, 2017

Thursday, January 5, 2017

SFS Presents "On the Waterfront" This Weekend

The San Francisco Symphony long ago proved that it "could've been a contender" when it achieved world class status decades ago. 

Building upon its reputation for innovation and fresh ways to reach a broader audience, SFS will present Leonard Bernstein’s original film score as it screens "On the Waterfront" January 7 & 8.

photo credit: Timothy Greenfiled-Sanders

Marlon Brando stars in Elia Kazan’s classic film (screenplay by Budd Schulberg), winner of eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. 

This timeless story about violence, corruption, and redemption, with an Oscar-nominated score, is one of the greatest films of all time according to the American Film Institute.

David Newman conducts. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rebirth of San Francisco's Presidio

Cultural Currents has learned of a new development that should appeal to Bay Crossings readers and anyone who is engaged in waterfront lore.

Coming in late February, San Francisco’s  Presidio will unveil its the state-of-the-art William Penn Mott, Jr. Visitor Center.

According to spokesmen, this is a place as “dynamic and inventive as the Presidio itself.”

Spokesmen add that the center is a platform for discovery, using video, exhibits, interactive tools, and knowledgeable staff to help visitors uncover the incredible array of experiences that are possible here.

In today’s Presidio, visitors can take a hike on a 24-mile network of trails; see sculptures by famed artist Andy Goldsworthy; take in the panoramic views; visit San Francisco’s oldest building reborn as a museum and cultural center and bird watch at restored wetlands.

The new Presidio Visitor Center is housed in a refurbished historic (1900) guardhouse in the heart of the park with views overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. It sits at the pinnacle of a site once dominated by a freeway. That roadway has been put into tunnels allowing for the creation of a spectacular new 14-acre landscape designed by the makers of New York City’s High Line

The project, known, as the Presidio Tunnel Tops, will open in 2019, marking the Presidio’s 25th anniversary as a national park.