tales of the city, and a room of mirrors

After leaving Yosemite we took a whirlwind trip to the Bay Area. We had tickets to see Robert Wilson’s and Philip Glass’ “opera,” Einstein on the Beach, which was staged at UC Berkeley as part of an international tour. I’d known the work since it shook the new music and theater circles in the 1970s, but West Coasters like me haven’t have a chance to see the work until now.

It’s a piece that has to be seen to be really appreciated, but I’ll give you a one-word review: Wow.

(Curtain calls…)

So, while in the neighborhood, we cross the bridge to San Francisco for a quick day of even more culture.

With so many offerings you have to choose. This is the sun hitting the famous green roof of the California Academy of Sciences. We didn’t have time to go inside…

…but we did get a good overall view from the view tower next door at the de Young Museum which was renovated fairly recently. Architects Herzog & de Meuron clad the building in an amazing mantle of copper and added a multi-story tower capped off with a rhombus-shaped viewing chamber.

The odd angles and walls of glass made for a glimpse of what it must be like to live inside a kaleidoscope. The views were great, but the reflections inside the viewing chamber were at least as amazing.

Even the floors were polished and reflective.

The entrance to the de Young features a charismatic piece by Andy Goldsworthy that’s been written up many times by bloggers and journalists. How can you not like a big installation of oversized cut stones and pavers that nods to California’s seismic origins by featuring a delicate but assertive crack that travels all throughout the entry plaza where the piece is installed? You can click this little panorama to the left and see the line exit one of the big stones and end at the museum’s front door.

And below are some of the cleaved stones. It’s easy to miss the little crack at first, but when you start to follow it around the courtyard the piece really comes to life.

Wow, all over again.

6 thoughts on “tales of the city, and a room of mirrors”

  1. Andy Goldsworthy keeps outdoing himself. Have you seen the films featuring him at work? Really good stuff…I think it’s called Rivers and Tides, but I may be wrong about that.
    Wonderful post, sharing your glut of culture. Thanks!

  2. Interesting shots of the museum and the goldsworthy piece. You got an interesting light quality. I really like that building and of course the goldsworthy is always fun to see.

  3. Ricki, I actually have TWO copies of that video, from two thought gifters over the course of just a couple days. By now he’s gone on to do even more amazing things. I’d love to see Rivers and Tides II.

    Ryan, I can credit/blame the cameraphone for the lgiht quality, but hey I’ll take it. I enjoyed your trip to visit the piece on your blog when you made your pilgrimage.

    Maggie, yes, let’s! I hope to have more than 8 hours to see the city and two museums next trip up.

    Janet, Goldswor­thy is definitely someone with a distinct voice and clear talent well deserving of a fan base. I’m proud to count myself as one of them.

    George, I wonder if Goldswor­thy wouldn’t actually welcome a quake that would shift the artwork–assuming it wouldn’t injure anyone. I’ve seen one of his pieces locally where the installation literally fell apart–albeit VERY slowly–as you watched.

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