Thursday, August 23, 2007


I used to think that the ugly tower of the new de Young Museum represented the arthritic middle finger of San Francisco’s dowager class.

It’s an extravagantly ugly gesture, one only the rich can afford.

I was wrong again. The de Young’s design is functional and purposeful. It reflects the one clear lesson learned in Vietnam—the need for adequate helipads.

The U.S. embassy in Saigon apparently had only one place for a helicopter to land and pick up ugly Americans and their Vietnamese collaborators. Forget the hundreds of thousands of deaths—people die in wars —but this scene was plain undignified.

Never again.

The de Young is designed like a goddamn helicopter carrier.

The tower is the superstructure, the roof is an enormous flight deck.

So, when the homeless rabble of Golden Gate Park, demanding canapés and good champagne, surround the de Young during an after-hours charity party for the rich (it’s a party venue, not an art museum), the socialites can call in multiple helicopters, all at once, to swiftly rescue them.

Despair, park rabble, you have been out-thunk.

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sfmike said...

There's a wonderful blog by Tyler Green out of Washington, D.C. called "Modern Art Notes" where he praises and criticizes the curatorial practices at museums around the country, and FAMSF (The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in other words the deYoung and the Legion of Honour) come in for some serious bashing. Here's a link:

One of my favorite wrap-ups is this: "FAMSF released its 2007-2009 exhibition schedule yesterday. It reveals that FAMSF is well on its way to becoming the worst-programmed major museum in America. Heck, considering its programming and ethics problems, by the end of 2009 FAMSF might not be a major museum."

Use the "Search" engine at the site and put in FAMSF to get much more. The posts about the Anschutz-sponsored King Tut show and the Weinstein Gallery using the museum as a pimp for their own art-dealing are particularly interesting.

Anonymous said...

This one dredged up an image in my mind of happenings in D.C. On the 4th of July, the city has all kind of shows, but the culmination of the day is a massive fireworks display over the tall spire of the Washington Monument. For minutes on end the fireworks explode and bathe the very top of the monument in a halo. Some explosions actually look like they are coming from the peak of the spire itself. The phallic imagery is almost unmistakable. Here is the ultimate, the mother of all orgasms. My missile is longer than your missile. I’m no analyst of symbolism, but this one seems pretty clear. Don’t mess with Texas. RS