Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fine Art Afternoon

About eight years ago, I had a conversation with my friend Biraj, during which he lamented the fact that he had no girlfriend. Biraj often did that (still does), but I distinctly remember this particular exchange because Biraj said that without a significant other with whom to enjoy it, he was missing much of what San Francisco has to offer. Including and especially the museums.

With all due respect to the lovely and talented Biraj, I am nothing like that. Well, not that I don't occasionally whine about being single, but I do not let the lack of a boyfriend stop me from doing anything. Like treating myself to the Peter Max and the Summer of Love exhibition at the de Young Museum this afternoon.

Okay, in all honesty, this was the first time I'd been to the de Young. I've visited SF Moma, the Academy of Sciences and the San Francisco Museum of Arts and Crafts, but before today, not the de Young. But that's mostly because until recently, I never knew exactly where in Golden Gate Park I could find it. And then there was that whole de Young renovation, funding, parking drama that I never completely understood. Anyway, I stumbled upon the de Young a week and a half ago as I was making my way to Emily and James' Octoberfest barbecue in Speedway Meadow, and I made a mental note. I had been meaning to take in the Peter Max exhibition for several weeks, and it is closing on Sunday, so I knew I had to get on it.

I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed by the de Young's Peter Max collection. Make no mistake, the pictures are fabulous; there just aren't very many of them. What the de Young does have an abundance of, however, is gift shops. A large one on every floor, as a matter of fact, with at least two small satellite shops that I noticed. I also meandered through the Nan Kempner American Chic exhibition, which was interesting until I realized that I basically was looking at the contents of a dead, wealthy woman's closet. That said, Mrs. Kempner did own a Pierre Cardin little black dress that I am certain would look fabulous on me. The only problem being that Mrs. Kempner's dress is probably at least three sizes too small for me, and none of the many de Young gift shops were selling any Pierre Cardin knock-offs in multiple sizes.


It may seem like I didn't like the de Young, but actually I very much did. And today I barely made a dent in all this museum has to offer. So I definitely will have to go back. I may even become a member; one fee entitles me to membership at both the de Young and the Legion of Honor. That wouldn't be bad at all.

On my way home from the de Young, I stopped by my version of a crack den: Borders. I simply cannot walk in that place without buying something, and today was no different. I was probably there for only ten minutes, but that was plenty of time for me to procure two paperbacks. Yes, two more books, even though I have literal stacks that have yet to be read. Not to mention my pile of New Yorker magazines that gets bigger and bigger every week.

I need serious help. Well, I suppose there are worse addictions than purchasing literature.

Tonight I am comfortably settled at home and switching between "Pushing Daisies" and Game One of the World Series (where the Red Sox are currently spanking the Rockies; yay) on my television set. Tomorrow I'm going with Valerie to see After the Quake at Berkeley Rep, and on Friday, Kate and I are going to see a swing/funk/brass band (whatever that may sound like) in North Beach.

All of this amid deliciously warm weather around the Bay. We need more days like this, my friends.

*Peter Max picture courtesy of

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