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Blog Category: de young

Transits: Gerhard Richter’s "Strontium"

“Transits” is a series that looks at the movement of art in the Fine Art Museums’ collection.

We spoke to Debra Evans, head conservator, and Victoria Binder, associate conservator, about the deinstallation of Strontium, the large-scale mural by Gerhard Richter that has been a significant feature of the de Young’s new building that opened in 2005.

Read more about the challenges of moving this massive artwork, the pressure of working against the clock, and why you shouldn’t bother asking a conservator for cleaning advice.

October 25, 2016

Art Market San Francisco 2014

On May 15—18 Art Market San Francisco, the Bay Area’s contemporary and modern art fair, returns to Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion for its fourth annual show. Engaging the interest of both active and new collectors, the fair features artworks from approximately 70 established and up-and-coming galleries from around the country.

A large crowd mills about an art fair

May 8, 2014

Mounting the Weisel Family Collection

The Thomas Weisel Family’s recent gift of Native American art is comprised in large part of pottery, including rare Mimbres pieces that date back to the 11th century. Approximately 50 pieces of Mimbres and Pueblo pottery will be on view in the upcoming exhibition, Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection, which highlights the gift. Pottery presents an interesting set of challenges when being considered for display, especially here in earthquake country. Our team of mount makers has been busily crafting custom-made mounts for each pot slated to go on view when the exhibition opens this Saturday, May 3.

A painted pot sits on a riser while a female technician adjusts its base

April 30, 2014

Weekends with Georgia

Although Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George (on view at the de Young through May 11) focuses on the artist’s work created in upstate New York, O’Keeffe is famously associated with the arid deserts of New Mexico. Anna Koster, an artist who now lives in the Bay Area, shares her experience working with Georgia O’Keeffe at her beloved Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

An abstracted horizontal landscape of a still lake in shades of blue, grey, and green

April 23, 2014

Art That’s Fit to Wear: ARTWEAR at the de Young

On Friday, May 2, and Saturday, May 3, the de Young will host its sixth annual ARTWEAR event, where visitors can browse and take home pieces of original, wearable art. Featuring designs from 16 skilled Bay Area textile and jewelry artisans, ARTWEAR offers a colorful variety of apparel and accessories that are entirely handcrafted.

A women wearing a black glass necklace

April 16, 2014

Slow Art Day at the de Young and Legion of Honor

On Saturday, April 12, the de Young, the Legion of Honor, and dozens of other museums and galleries around the world will participate in Slow Art Day. Like the National Day of Unplugging, which encourages people to power down their smartphones and socialize face-to-face, Slow Art Day’s mission is to enable new connections with art that otherwise might be lost in the everyday blur of activity.

March 24, 2014

Keeping It Green with Bouquets to Art Flower Designer Emily Dreblow

Emily Dreblow, founder of Soulflower Design Studio in San Francisco, is working on a floral creation for Bouquets to Art 2014—it’s her 5th year participating in the de Young’s art-inspired flower exhibition. Dreblow likes to approach her work with a focus on two values that are near and dear to San Francisco’s heart: community and sustainability.

A brunette woman in a teal top stands in front of a picture of succulent plants

March 13, 2014

de Young at Heart

I admit it: I LOVE museums. I have a sense of wonder every time I walk into one, and (obviously) art museums are among my favorites. But sometimes my kids get a little bored or start to complain after an overdose of paintings and sculptures, so I was thrilled last month when the de Young was transformed into a magical wonderland where children and their families romped, danced, and experienced art in a whole new way. The de Youngsters: A Bigger Family Party, the inaugural celebration of the next generation of museum-goers and art patrons, brought children, parents, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco together for a night of pure joy.

Jugglers performing on top of Andy Goldsworthy's Drawn Stone in Diller Court

February 25, 2014

Q&A with January Artist-in-Residence John Zaklikowski

January Artist-in-Residence John Zaklikowski has titled his residency Culture and Physics Collide, an apt description for his artwork which utilizes a wide variety of technological materials and meets at the intersection of art and science. His large-scale assemblages investigate notions of perception and optical illusion, illustrating the interplay of art, science, literature, and cultural studies. 

January 21, 2014

The Art Editor's Library

Before I joined the Fine Arts Museums seven years ago as an editor, I did not know such a job existed in the museum world. It is not a role that merits much attention—in fact, the more invisible the editor’s hand, the better. But if you look around at the museums, you will understand how important an editor is. From humble signage directing your way to hefty exhibition catalogues, a huge range of text in a variety of forms is issued by the Museums, all reviewed by a team of three editors in the publications department.

A shelf filled with books

December 17, 2013

Give Original: The Holiday Artisan Fair at the de Young

We all have those people in our lives who are difficult to shop for, whether they’re super stylish, seem to have everything, or are just plain picky. Luckily, the Holiday Artisan Fair at the de Young offers a unique variety of gifts for everyone on your list. Now in its seventh year, the season’s best shopping event features 17 of the Bay Area’s top artisans displaying their unique wares. An extensive variety of jewelry, textiles, home accessories, books, stationery and gifts for kids make the Holiday Artisan Fair the perfect opportunity to buy local and meet the artisans 

A variety of jewels, housewares, and unique gifts that will be featured in the Holiday Artisan Fair.

November 14, 2013

Q&A with November Artist-in-Residence Ana Teresa Fernandez

November Artist-in-Residence Ana Teresa Fernandez enacts and participates in the intersection of politics and personal identity through painting, performance, and video. Her work illuminates the barriers, both psychological and physical, that confine and divide gender, race, and class in western society and the global south.

A woman dressed in black climbing over a metal fence.
Borrando Frontera by Ana Teresa Fernandez

November 8, 2013

Collaboration Nation with de Young Artist Fellow Lenora Lee

De Young Artist Fellow Lenora Lee’s talents are unquestionable, but perhaps the key to her success is the incredible community that she’s built around herself. Her upcoming performance includes a long list of artistic collaborators: musicians, dancers, martial artists, a multimedia designer, a poet, filmmakers, and a lighting designer. Lee’s diverse collaborations create a variety of access points for audiences, and for Lee, those points of connection are of the most important part of each performance. Together Lee and her collaborators have created two new performances, The Escape and Rescued Memories: New York Stories, which will be performed at the de Young this November.

A group photo of Lenora Lee and her many collaborators on the streets of NYC

October 30, 2013

A Conservation Triumph: 1994–2013

For the first time ever, three prized tapestries from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s permanent collection will be exhibited together in the Legion of Honor’s Gallery 1. The entire series, known as The Triumph of the Seven Virtues, consists of seven tapestries that depict allegorical representations of the theological virtues—Faith, Hope, and Charity—and the cardinal virtues—Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude. While 10 museums in Europe, the United States, and Russia possess tapestries from this series, the Fine Arts Museums have The Triumph of Fortitude, The Triumph of Prudence, and the only extant example of The Triumph of Justice.

The monumental tapestry (and the only one of its kind) The Triumph of Justice

Triumph of Justice from The Triumph of the Seven Virtues Series, ca. 1535. Belgium, Brussels, Flemish. Wool, silk; tapestry weave. Gift of The William Randolph Hearst Foundation. 1957.125

August 29, 2013

A Summer of Art Comes to an End

This post was submitted by Ashley Harris.

Inspiration abounded during the de Young’s 2013 Summer Art Camp as young artists created incredible works centered on the themes of animals in art and large-scale sculpture during the camp’s final weeks. Campers showed off their talents in drawing, painting, and collage as they studied animal forms within the de Young collections, crafting pieces that displayed their careful observations and panache for materials. SCULPTacular week proved to be the most exciting week yet as art campers studied and constructed three-dimensional pieces that investigated the ideas of space, movement, and scale.

Summer Art Campers created clay animals

August 26, 2013

Q&A with August Artist-in-Residence Peggy Gyulai

August Artist-in-Residence Peggy Gyulai explores the connections between music and the expressive possibilities of paint on canvas in her work. She listens to and looks at music as a subject, object, inspiration, and—like Richard Diebenkorn—invokes the dynamic tension between the poles of abstraction and representation, creating substance from ephemeral phenomena.

August 14, 2013

Ruth Asawa (1926–2013)

SAN FRANCISCO (August 7, 2013) —The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are saddened by the loss of Ruth Aiko Asawa, who died on August 6, 2013, at the age of 87. Asawa was a groundbreaking modernist sculptor with whom the Museums enjoyed a long-standing relationship. An internationally exhibited artist, teacher, arts advocate, and Museum trustee, she leaves a remarkable legacy.

August 7, 2013

Stories in Art from the de Young Summer Art Camp

This blog post was submitted by Ashley Harris.

It’s summertime at the de Young, which means that the museum’s Summer Art Camp is in full swing and the Hamon Education Tower has been filled with talented young artists and creative energy. During week one, campers explored the theme of “Mixed Media Madness,” creating pieces that incorporated a range of materials and techniques including oil pastel and watercolor resist, splatter painting, masking, and plein air ink wash paintings. The incredible art making continued into week two as campers studied works in the de Young’s permanent collection and crafted their own pieces centered around the idea of “Stories in Art.”

Art inspired by the Japanese Tea Garden

July 17, 2013

Q&A with July Artist-in-Residence Jewel Castro

The artwork of July Artist-in-Residence Jewel Castro engages Samoan history, transnational movement as it relates to cultural identification, Samoan art forms and production, and the artist’s relationships with her ancestors. Learn more by visiting the Kimball Artist Studio or our website.

July 15, 2013

Exploring Systemic with the Urbanauts

This post was written in collaboration wtih Jasmin Bode.

In plain sight or behind closed doors, in basements, or beneath manhole covers, lurk the myriad systems that support city life—drains, running water, sewage treatment, and fire-suppression, to name just a few. The Urbanauts, current de Young Artist Fellows Sean Orlando and Rebar, have tasked themselves with the exploration of this infrastructure and its relationship to the everyday experience of the contemporary city. Their investigations began last October and now—during the second phase of their fellowship—they present Systemic, an installation on view in the de Young’s Kimball Education Gallery that will evolve throughout the month of June. We recently spoke with the Urbanauts about their project.

Urbanauts mapping urban exploration

Photo by Adrian Arias

June 20, 2013

Travels with Zarafa

Last week, our friends at the San Francisco Zoo welcomed a zooborn baby giraffe. Today, we introduce you to our resident giraffe, Zarafa, who is pictured on a 19th-century bedcover featured in the special exhibition From the Exotic to the Mystical: Textile Treasures from the Permanent Collection (on view until August 4, 2013). In this blog post, Zarafa shares her fascinating history as she takes us on a fantastical journey across the world.

Bedcover, ca. 1830. 2010.10

Bedcover, ca. 1830. United States. Cotton; block-print and appliqué. Gift of Mrs. Mary Swaine Morgan. 2010.10

June 6, 2013

Museums and Art Fairs: The Inside Story

Spring in San Francisco brings with it a season of art fairs, including artMRKT whose opening night preview reception this Thursday, May 16 benefits the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s newly created New Acquisitions Fund. Featuring 70 galleries from around the globe, artMRKT provides a unique opportunity for museum professionals and art enthusiasts to gather, discuss, and view the world’s premier contemporary and modern art. This year, artMRKT includes a series of special lectures presented by several of our own curators, including Emma Acker, assistant curator of American art. We sat down with Ms. Acker to discuss the relationship between art fairs and museums, such as the de Young and the Legion of Honor.

Assistant curator of American art, Emma Acker

Emma Acker, assistant curator of American art

May 14, 2013

On the Hunt for Rembrandt

The special exhibition Rembrandt’s Century, closing on June 2, is remarkable not only for its breadth but also for the fact that it is drawn primarily from the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts (AFGA), the works on paper department at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. As curator Jim Ganz relates, this exhibition’s compilation required an epic treasure hunt through the Museums’ permanent collections, an endeavor that proved neither easy nor efficient, but was ultimately incredibly fruitful.

Rembrandt's Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window, 1648

Rembrandt van Rijn (Dutch, 1606–1669). Self-Portrait Drawing at a Window, 1648. Etching, drypoint, and engraving. Bruno and Sadie Adriani Collection. 1959.40.19

May 13, 2013


Step into Gallery 14 at the de Young and you will immediately encounter the riot of geometric color that is Frank Stella’s impressive 12-foot-square painting, Lettre sur les aveugles II (1974). This vibrant new acquisition represents the first of Stella’s paintings to enter the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

April 25, 2013

Rescuing Memories: de Young Artist Fellow Lenora Lee

Lenora Lee is a dancer, a choreographer, and a current de Young Artist Fellow. As the artistic director of Lenora Lee Dance, she has created interdisciplinary performances that integrate dance, martial arts, video projection, music, and text. During her yearlong fellowship, Lee will complete two new performances, The Escape and Rescued Memories: New York Stories, both of which are inspired by stories of Chinese women who immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century.

Lenora Lee by Lei Chen

Photo by Lei Chen

April 23, 2013

Art: The Next Generation

It’s hard to believe that almost 20 years have passed since the de Young hosted the first student showcase. This week’s Friday Nights at the de Young features the 17th annual New Generations Student Showcase! This year’s theme, Everyday Worlds: Exteriors and Interiors, is inspired by the special exhibitions currently on view at the de Young, including Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis, Eye Level in Iraq: Photographs by Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson, and Objects of belief from the Vatican: Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Close looking

April 12, 2013

A Message from the President

Diane B. WilseyAs an extensive national search to find a new director draws to a close, we look forward to making a public announcement soon. As we prepare to embark on the next chapter of our long history it’s a good time to reflect on the amazing success we’ve experienced over the past several years.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF)—which comprises the de Young and the Legion of Honor—is one of the most successful organizations of its kind in the world. We operate under the highest standards of governance. It is because of our high standards that we are a flourishing art institution that continues to exceed expectations both financially and artistically.

Our organization is among the largest and most respected art institutions in the country. Due to the efforts of our talented staff and dedicated Board of Trustees, we have been able to bring to San Francisco some extraordinary exhibitions such as:

  • Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs
  • Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay
  • Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay
  • Girl with the Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis
  • And, coming in 2013, David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition

March 18, 2013

Dutch Clouds, Past and Present

Conversation 6, a special exhibition on view at the San Francisco Arts Commission Main Gallery in the Civic Center through April 27, pairs Jason Hanasik, a local multimedia artist, with Berndnaut Smilde, an internationally recognized installation artist from Amsterdam. Today’s guest blogger Meg Shiffler is the director of the SFAC Galleries, and in this entry focuses on the work of Smilde and its relationship to paintings featured in the special exhibition Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis.


Berndnaut Smilde, Nimbus Munnekeholm, 2012

March 15, 2013

A Feast for the Eyes

Foodies and art aficionados alike can feast their eyes on delectable still lifes in the special exhibition Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis on view at the de Young through June 2. With the abundance of delicious artwork on view, it is only fitting that the de Young Café provides equally delicious food to satiate cravings experienced while inside the exhibition.

March 5, 2013

All’s Fair in Love and Art

In two weeks, Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth present the culminating exhibition of their yearlong fellowship featuring the display of their monumental tapestry triptych, The Conflicts. This Valentine’s Day, Hope and Roth share the secret behind their success in love and art.

Timeline of Cooperation

February 13, 2013

A Devil in the Details

The special exhibition Rembrandt’s Century, currently on view alongside Girl with a Pearl Earring: Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis, is striking both in its breadth and for the fact that the works on view all come from the Fine Arts Museums’ permanent collections. Preparations for this exhibition were lengthy, with some works requiring restoration treatments.

February 12, 2013

An Interview with Brad Rosenstein and Jean Lamprell

Artists-in-Residence Brad Rosenstein and Jean Lamprell conclude their month-long residence this weekend at the de Young. Rosenstein, an independent curator, has transformed the Artist Studio into a floating gallery of gossamer tutus created by renowned costumier Jean Lamprell. In this blog post, museum educator Gregory Stock interviews this dynamic duo.

Title Wall

February 1, 2013

Framing Rembrandt's Century

Consisting of approximately 250 artworks, Rembrandt’s Century presents a diverse picture of the art and personalities that defined the Dutch Golden Age. Drawn entirely from the Museums’ permanent collection of works on paper in the renowned Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, this exhibition required months of preparation. Curators, conservators, and art technicians worked together to frame—both literally and figuratively—this important selection of masterworks.

Framing Rembrandt's Century

January 28, 2013

Art + Technology = Tapestries

De Young Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth are preparing for the final installation of their monumental triptych The Conflicts. Get a sneak peek at the culminating exhibition of their fellowship in the group show Punch Card, opening at Catharine Clark Gallery this Saturday, January 19, 2013. Hope and Roth will present the completed tapestries at the de Young in the Artist Studio throughout the month of March. In this blog post, Hope and Roth examine the role technology has played in the process of creating this work.

Gallery shot

January 18, 2013

Contemporary Tradition: Melissa Cody Visits the de Young’s Navajo Textile Collection

Like any artist, December Artist-in-Residence Melissa Cody diligently does her research, and like a true innovator, she’s aware that you need to know the rules in order to break them. A fourth-generation Navajo weaver, Cody’s residency focuses on weaving and its relationship to communities and their environments. Although the main part of her residency takes place in public, she is also conducting research behind the scenes at the de Young.

Melissa Cody

December 21, 2012

Instrument in Progress: Chris Black

This week, de Young Artist Fellow Monique Jenkinson debuts Instrument, the culminating performance of her yearlong fellowship. Inspired in part by the special exhibition Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance (on view at the de Young through February 17, 2013), the performance piece will make its world premiere at CounterPULSE, a collaborating partner, on November 29. To create Instrument, Jenkinson partnered with three different choreographers, with each collaboration taking place in isolation. All three choreographers remain unaware of the work of the other two participants, and like us, they will not see the work in its entirety until the premiere.

This is the final post in a three-part series documenting Jenkinson’s work with each of these diverse choreographers. Chris Black, falls somewhere between the experimental process of Miguel Gutierrez and the more structured ballet techniques of Amy Seiwert.


November 29, 2012

Have Turban Will Travel

Objects are fussy. They’re susceptible to humidity, light levels, vibrations, and any number of other dangers, both large (floods) and small (mice). And whether it’s a tiny tea cup or a four-ton bronze statue, each object also has its own idiosyncrasies. Wood, for example, doesn’t get along with water, and paper can’t stand light. A museum is carefully designed, in part, to control all these factors and to give objects the secure and stable home they deserve. But what happens when an object needs to travel outside the museum’s walls?

The permanent collections of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco number over 100,000 objects, and only a percentage are on view. However, many of these treasured artworks can be viewed in exhibitions at other institutions throughout the world at any given time. When art objects are loaned in this way, they often travel for long periods of time, which is why it’s so important for our conservators to carefully prepare objects for their extended journeys. Such was the case when the Cleveland Museum of Art requested to borrow an ancient turban from the Nasca culture of Peru, featured in the exhibition Wari: Lords of the Ancient Andes that opened last week.

Turban, 200–600. Peru, South Coast, Nasca. Cotton cord wrapped with a band of camelid fiber fringe. The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection Gift of Caroline McCoy-Jones. 2000.17.5

November 7, 2012

A Half-Century of Excellence

When Kathan Brown first opened Crown Point Press (CPP) in 1962, lithography and screenprinting were the prevailing fine art printmaking workshop processes. With the establishment of CPP, Brown provided artists with alternatives to these methods, affirming her commitment to intaglio—any process in which incisions in a plate’s surface hold the ink that will create the image. These new printmaking possibilities evolved into increasingly diverse offerings that afforded artists new outlets for their creativity, the fruits of which are currently on display in Crown Point Press at 50 (through February 17, 2013) at the de Young.

Kiki Smith

Kiki Smith (American, b. 1954). Still, 2006. Color spit-bite aquatint with flat-bite and soft-ground and hard-ground etching printed on gampi paper chine collé. Crown Point Press Archive, gift of Crown Point Press. 2010.39.17.2

October 26, 2012

Instrument in Progress

Tonight, Friday Nights at the de Young features work in progress by Artist Fellow Monique Jenkinson (aka Fauxnique). As part of the creation of her original work, Instrument, Jenkinson is working with three different choreographers in an experimental process designed to enact, expose, and undermine the roles of the dancer as workhorse and the choreographer as auteur. The presentation tonight will be a rare opportunity to witness the development of Instrument, inspired in part by Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance (on display at the de Young through February 17, 2013). The first in a series of three, today’s post focuses on the collaboration between Jenkinson and choreographer Miguel Gutierrez.

Monique dancing

October 19, 2012

Interiority and the The William S. Paley Collection: Home as a Staging Ground for Identity

It’s hard to imagine that the artwork on view in The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism (through December 30) once decorated the walls of a private home. Today’s guest blogger, Alisa Carroll, explores the role that art can play in both the construction of a home and the communication of the owner’s identity. Carroll is a San Francisco-based writer and consultant the editor-in-chief of 3D Magazine, and a San Francisco scout for Elle Décor. Her first book, a monograph with interior designer Jay Jeffers, will be published by Rizzoli in fall 2013.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). M. de Lauradour, 1897.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901). M. de Lauradour, 1897. Oil and gouache on cardboard. 26 3/4 x 32 1/2 inches. The William S. Paley Collection. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. SPC79.1990

Interiority—The quality of being focused on one’s inner life and identity.

October 11, 2012

Bring Me Scissors! And Other Memories of Rudolf Nureyev

At the age of 14, former ballerina Stephanie Herman ditched school and waited in line for six hours at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House to see Rudolf Nureyev dance with Margot Fonteyn. Little did she know that a decade later, she would be dancing with the famed ballerino, whose career and costumes are the subject of the special exhibition Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance, which opens tomorrow, October 6.

October 5, 2012

Layers of Leslie

There are only two weeks left to experience the special exhibition Chuck Close and Crown Point Press: Prints and Processes on view at the de Young. The tight focus of this exhibition allows visitors to zero in on the processes behind Chuck Close’s photorealist technique as it appears in the print format.

October 3, 2012

Constructing a Collection: Paintings, Power, and William S. Paley

It was well known within the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) that chief executive William S. Paley would always set aside what he was working on to take a call from The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Paley’s relationship with MoMA began in 1937, just eight years after its founding, and included roles as trustee, president, and chairman. His eventual donation of his collection to the museum—an important selection of modernist art—strengthened the institution in vital ways, and is the subject of The William S. Paley Collection: A Taste for Modernism, which is on view through December 30 at the de Young. Paley's relationship with MoMA was built on great generosity, and continued until his death in 1990.


William S. Paley in the foyer of his home at 820 Fifth Avenue, in front of his Pablo Picasso painting, Boy Leading a Horse (early 1906). Museum Archives Personalities Slide Collection. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY

September 27, 2012

FAMSF Portraits Featured in Set for San Francisco Opera

Recently, our photo services and imaging department responded to a rather unusual request from San Francisco Opera set designer Naomie Kremer. Kremer, who was designing a video set for an operatic adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden (premiering on March 1, 2013) asked if she could incorporate portraits from the Museums’ permanent collection into her design. As today’s guest blogger, Kremer takes us on an incredible journey into The Secret Garden, giving us a sneak peek into the fantastical world she created.

Kremer Image

Image by Naomie Kremer

The Secret Garden is a well-loved children’s story familiar to many generations. I’ve discovered that for many people, it is an iconic story that strikes a deep chord and seems to stay in their subconscious long after its last reading.

September 18, 2012

Off the Walls in Z Space

For the past year, Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson and her artistic partner Catch Me Bird have been creating Off the Walls, a multimedia performance based on the de Young Museum’s iconic painting Aspiration (1936) by Aaron Douglas. On September 20, the world premiere of Off the Walls will take flight in the Koret Auditorium at the de Young. Today we highlight Z Space, one of the project’s collaborating partners, whose technical residencies offer artists and performers the time and resources to experiment with various staging elements and production designs integral to the creative process.

Z Space B_W

Photo by Adrian Arias

September 11, 2012

Reading on Wheels

It’s the fifth and final day of Five Days of Friday! Tonight, September 7, Friday Nights at the de Young hosts a ton of great events, including live music, performances, art demonstrations, video installations, and of course, art making for all! One of tonight’s highlights is a visit by the San Francisco Public Library Green Bookmobile, featuring titles used by Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth to research The Conflicts, a triptych of monumental tapestries. Guest bloggers Hope and Roth share their reading list below—check it out and then check out a book tonight at the Bookmobile!

DY Bookmobile

September 7, 2012

Cycle Art with Papergirl SF

On September 7, Friday Nights at the de Young celebrates the DIY ethos of the Bay Area arts scene. One of the many local art organizations taking part is Papergirl SF, a community art project that distributes submitted art pieces by bicycle to people in the streets of San Francisco, paperboy style.

September 6, 2012

Bridging the Divide: A Conversation with Catherine Herrera

Catherine Herrera is a Bay Area artist and filmmaker of Ohlone descent who has collaborated with the de Young Museum on numerous projects over the past several years. This Friday Night at the de Young, September 7, Herrera’s video installation Bridge Walkers will be on view for one night only in the observation deck on the ninth floor of the museum’s Hamon Education Tower. In this, the third installment of Five Days of Friday, director of public programs Renee Baldocchi sits down with Herrera to learn more about the installation and the artist’s practice.

Upraised hands

Still from Bridge Walkers

September 5, 2012

The Invisible Man: Self-Portrait by Chuck Close

In 1972, Chuck Close came to Oakland’s Crown Point Press with the express goal of mastering the art of printmaking. The special exhibition currently on view in the Anderson Gallery at the de Young Museum, Chuck Close and Crown Point Press: Prints and Processes , examines this groundbreaking period in the artist’s career. In an earlier post, we discussed the mezzotint print Keith in the context of its 40th anniversary. Today, we take a closer look at Chuck Close’s Self-Portrait, completed in 1977.


Chuck Close (American, b. 1940). Self-Portrait (Black on White), 1977. Hard-ground etching with aquatint. Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation. 1996.74.65

August 22, 2012

A Vision of the Bay Invasion

Artist-in-Residence Tamar Assaf creates artwork articulating subtle social and ecological commentary on the environment. Her work raises awareness of the human influence on animals in the wild and how entire ecosystems function as a delicate balance of interdependencies. Throughout the month of August, Assaf invites visitors to engage in hands-on activities at the de Young as they experience

August 15, 2012

#MuseumOlympics Torch on Fire: A Story of Collaboration and Social Innovation

For the past two weeks, the world watched athletes from the world over compete and triumph in the 2012 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, museums the world over competed on Twitter in the tongue-in cheek competition #MuseumOlympics, which originated right here in San Francisco. Willa Köerner, digital engagement associate at SFMOMA and today's g uest blogger, takes us behind the scenes of #MuseumOlympics and reveals the origins of what will surely become a new quadrennial tradition.

Taber Olympics

Isaiah West Taber (American, 1830–1912). Olympic Club Day, 1894. Gelatin silver print. California Midwinter International Exposition, through M.H. deYoung. 2502

August 14, 2012

The Power of Painting and Printmaking at the de Young Summer Art Camp

Guest blogger Kelsey Linton takes us inside the de Young Summer Art Camp where we catch up with the Apprentices, Artisans, and Muses and Masters as they learn about this week’s theme, "The Power of Painting and Printmaking."

In gallery

August 10, 2012

Influences and Inspiration at the de Young Summer Art Camp

As guest blogger Kelsey Linton reports, this week at the de Young Summer Art camp, the goal was to encourage our campers to examine the sources of their creativity with the theme "Influences and Inspirations". Each day of class focused on a new artistic medium or a particular artist's work, which made this one of the busiest weeks yet! The Masters, the oldest group of the campers; the Artisans, the middle age group; and the Apprentices, the youngest group, all gathered

August 2, 2012

Off the Walls: A Work in Progress

One of the most innovative components of the Artist Fellows program is the goal to reveal the process of artistic creation—the weeks (even years) of planning, the evolving ideas, and the constant back-and-forth that foments creativity. Throughout the month of July, Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson and her artistic partners, Catch Me Bird (C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev), have been exhibiting this collaborative process as they work together to produce Off the Walls. A multimedia performance that melds Wilson’s dynamic jazz-oriented music with Catch Me Bird’s dance and aerial performances, Off the Walls is inspired by the painter Aaron Douglas, whose painting Aspiration is a highlight of the de Young’s American painting collection.

Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird

Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson with C. Derrick Jones and Nehara Kalev of Catch Me Bird

July 27, 2012

Love Letters from the Harlem Renaissance Through the Generations

Love Letters from the Harlem Renaissance tells the story of the relationship between Alta Sawyer Douglas and her husband, Harlem Renaissance painter Aaron Douglas. Catch Me Bird’s C. Derrick Jones, the great nephew of this seminal American painter, shares his family’s story with guest blogger Elspeth Michaels. Tonight at Friday Nights at the de Young Jones will speak about the factors that propelled his great uncle to establish himself as one of the 20th century's visionary artists. This fall Catch Me Bird, in collaboration with Artist Fellow Sarah Wilson, will premiere a brand new production inspired by the art of Douglas entitled Off the Walls. The performance combines music, aerials, and dance as an expression of Douglas's painting Aspiration, which is currently on view in Wilsey Court.


Aaron Douglas (American, 1899–1979). Aspiration, 1936. Oil on canvas. 1997.84

July 20, 2012

Forty Years of Keith

The year 2012 represents a milestone for Chuck Close, the Crown Point Press, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s works on paper department, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. Chuck Close and Crown Point Press: Prints and Processes, the special exhibition currently on view in the Anderson Gallery, honors these lasting relationships.


Trial proof for Keith, 1972. Mezzotint. Crown Point Press Archive, Museum purchase, Bequest of Whitney Warren, Jr. in memory of Mrs. Adolph B. Spreckels. 1991.28.98

July 10, 2012

Mixed Media Madness at the de Young Summer Art Camp

The de Young's annual Summer Art Camp has begun! Each week throughout the summer, we'll be sharing posts about the amazing activities and artworks our creative campers are doing. Here's the scoop from week one, submitted by guest blogger Ashley Harris.

June 28, 2012

Conflict in the Collections

De Young Artist Fellows Andy Diaz Hope and Laurel Roth are artists-in-residence this month in the Artist Studio. They are working on completing the third monumental tapestry in their triptych entitled The Conflicts. Today, guest blogger Andy Diaz Hope discusses aspects of the Museums’ permanent collections that touch on the themes contained in this project.

June 26, 2012

From Native Culture to Indigenous Couture

The influence of a variety of non-western cultures can be seen throughout the collections featured in The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. Tonight at Friday Nights at the de Young, we honor the origins of these influences with an evening of Indigenous Couture curated by Native American artist, dancer, and designer Eddie Madril.

Arctic Influences

June 22, 2012

Proud to be JPG

This weekend San Francisco (and the world) celebrates gay pride with rainbows, parades, love, and equality. What better way to ring in the revelry than with a visit to The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, which highlights the designer’s personal ethos of “equality, diversity and perversity?” Blurring the lines between male and female, Gaultier achieves a code of beauty that is at once masculine, feminine, and androgynous. The openly gay Gaultier has never been afraid to break social taboos, and in so doing has created his own open-minded and generous fashion world.

Men in Lace

June 20, 2012

Corsets in Context: A History

The corset looms large in special exhibitions at both the de Young and the Legion of Honor. Jean Paul Gaultier, the subject of the de Young's  The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk , integrated this iconic garment into his prêt-à-porter collections as early as 1983. Meanwhile, over at the Legion of Honor in The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde, 1860 –1900 (on view through June 17) the artists of the Aesthetic Movement rejected the corset in defiance of Victorian era fashions and social mores. Tonight, Friday Nights at the de Young explores the surprisingly dynamic world of Haute Corsets , with local corset makers Dark Garden and a screening of Truth or Dare , in which Madonna gets into the groove wearing Gaultier's unforgettable cone bra corset. Before you lace up, bone up on the fascinating history of this beguiling bodice!


Left: Emil Larsson, Body corset worn by Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990. Dazed & Confused, April 2008 © Emil Larsson; Right: Edward Burne-Jones (English, 1833–1898). Pomona, 1886–1920. Wool, silk, cotton; tapestry weave. Museum purchase, Dorothy Spreckels Munn Bequest Fund. 2001.120.2

June 7, 2012

The Third Tapestry

This month, Laurel Roth and Andy Diaz Hope begin their year as de Young Artist Fellows by setting up a research studio in the Kimball Education Gallery. Roth and Hope will use this time in the Artist Studio to design the third piece in a triptych of tapestries, which will be known as The Conflicts

June 6, 2012

Man in the Mirror

Tonight, Friday Nights at the de Young celebrates the history of the dandy from Oscar Wilde to Jean Paul Gaultier. Whereas Oscar Wilde’s aesthetic style was derided as too feminine, Jean Paul Gaultier embraces gender bending, dressing men in skirts and women in exquisitely tailored suits. In this way, Gaultier's designs approach a new androgyny and subvert established fashion codes. The designer toys with standard concepts of the masculine and feminine throughout the special exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk , but one exhibit in particular literally speaks to this issue. He is the Man in the Mirror.

June 1, 2012

Designing Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964

This weekend marks your last chance to experience the special exhibition Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 , on view at the de Young until June 3. As book designer and guest blogger Martin Venezky aptly notes, the catalogue represents a lasting impression of an otherwise temporary exhibition. Today, Venezky shares with us the process behind the creation of this unique publication.

The catalogue for the special exhibition Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 provides a nice case study into the inner workings of a book design. The book itself is deceptively simple. It contains reproductions of sixty-eight photographs from the exhibition, an essay, an interview, locations and credits, a foreword, and a set of additional images—some historical, some personal, and some working contact sheets. But beneath the seemingly placid surface there were hundreds of options to consider and decisions to make.


May 31, 2012

Jazz at the de Young

Seven years ago, the de Young hosted its first jazz performance in partnership with Intersection for the Arts. Jazz at Intersection at the de Young came about through my relationship with Kevin Chen of Intersection for the Arts. Together we invited a wide range of local jazz composers and musicians to create and perform music inspired by the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection.

May 25, 2012

The Wild Woman of Jazz

Composer, trumpeter and singer-songwriter Sarah Wilson technically grew up in a vineyard, but her coming of age as a musician took place in New York City. At her first performance as an Artist Fellow at the de Young tomorrow, Friday, May 25, Wilson presents new work inspired by both the rolling hills of the Napa Valley and New York City’s wild women of jazz.

Wilson began her yearlong fellowship last November with a 10-day residency at Stags’ Leap Winery, where the vineyards—their colors and moods—served as muse for the new compositions Night Still and Color, both of which will be featured in tomorrow’s performance.

Stags' Leap

Photo by Sarah Wilson

May 24, 2012

FRAME|WORK: Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, the Artist's Mother by Mary Cassatt

In celebration of Mary Cassatt’s birthday yesterday, this week’s FRAME|WORK—a weekly blog series highlighting an artwork in the Museums’ permanent collection—features the artist’s penetrating portrait of her mother, Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, the Artist’s Mother (ca. 1889). This painting is currently on view in Gallery 28 at the de Young.

Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt

Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926). Mrs. Robert S. Cassatt, the Artist's Mother, ca. 1889. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, William H. Noble Bequest Fund. 1979.35

May 23, 2012

Conservation in 3D: Skype, Stereographs and Silicon

Recently one of the Museums’ most generous supporters, Dorothy Saxe, purchased a sculpture for the collection in memory of our late director John E. Buchanan. Created by contemporary glass artist Beth Lipman, Candlesticks, Books, Flowers and Fruit (2010) is a complex compilation of multiple elements balanced precariously on a table. My role as an objects conservator is to ensure that all the elements of this fragile sculpture are installed safely and in keeping with the artist’s original intent.

May 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes at the Opening Night of artMRKT

For the past week, Max Fishko and company have been tirelessly converting the Concourse Exhibition Center from a cavernous abandoned train depot into artMRKT, San Francisco’s premier contemporary art venue. Tonight’s exclusive preview benefits the de Young and the Legion of Honor, so we thought we’d take you inside for a behind-the-scenes look at this remarkable transformation.

May 17, 2012

Carrie Cottini Will Work for Art!

We are happy to announce the return of Will Work for Art, a series of interviews featuring the incredibly diverse group of people who work here at the Fine Arts Museums! This week, we introduce you to Carrie Cottini, the acting member council administrator. Originally from Sacramento, Carrie has been with the Museums for four years as of this week. Happy anniversary, Carrie!

Carrie Cottini

May 15, 2012

A Conversation with Max Fishko

Next week the city of San Francisco will be flooded with art dealers and collectors, all clamoring to see the newest and brightest at the second annual artMRKT contemporary and modern art fair. The event’s opening festivities kick off this Thursday, May 17 and feature a preview reception benefiting the de Young and the Legion of Honor museums.

We recently sat down with artMRKT co-founder Max Fishko, a third-generation gallerist from New York City, to get his take on the contemporary art scene at large and in San Francisco.

Max Fishko

Max Fishko, co-founder of artMRKT

May 12, 2012

Outlasting Eternity: A Reflection on the Figures of Stephen De Staebler

Guest-blogger Tim Svenonius is the interpretive media producer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and an artist in his own right. Here he shares his insights and reflections after seeing Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler on view at the de Young through May 13.

Three Figures

From left to right: Man with Broad Chest, 2010. Bronze with patina. Courtesy of Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco; Winged Woman Walking I, 1987. Bronze with patina. Courtesy of Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco; Winged Figure with Three Legs, 2003. Collection of Peter and Beverly Lipman, Portola Valley, California.

May 4, 2012

FRAME|WORK: Untitled XX by Willem de Kooning

Yesterday was the birthday of renowned Abstract Expressionist painter Willem de Kooning. Today’s FRAME|WORK—a weekly blog series highlighting an artwork in the permanent collection—features de Kooning’s 1977 painting, Untitled XX, which is currently on view in Gallery 15 at the de Young Museum.

Untitled XX

Willem de Kooning (American, 1904–1997). Untitled XX, 1977. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, gift of Nan Tucker McEvoy. 2002.1

April 25, 2012

FRAME|WORK: Untitled (Portals of the Past) by Arnold Genthe

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums permanent collections. Today we commemorate the 1906 earthquake and ensuing fire that ravaged the majority of San Francisco. Arnold Genthe’s Untitled (Portals of the Past), a jewel of the Museums’ photography collection, provides a look back at that dark day. This photograph is currently not on display, so please enjoy this exclusive virtual viewing.

Portals of the Past

Arnold Genthe (American, b. Prussia, 1869–1942). Untitled (Portals of the Past), 1906 (printed 1956). Gelatin silver print. Museum purchase, James D. Phelan Bequest Fund. 1943.407.130.2

April 18, 2012

Discarded to Divine at the de Young!

From his earliest forays into fashion design, Jean Paul Gaultier utilized surprising and sometimes recycled materials. As a child, inspired by his grandmother’s corset, Gaultier repurposed crumpled newspaper to create the conical-shaped falsies that he attached to his beloved teddy bear, Nana. Entering its seventh year, Discarded to Divine—an event that auctions off designer duds made from donated clothing to benefit the homeless—exemplifies Gaultier’s earliest instincts to recycle with style and purpose.

April 13, 2012

The Film World of Jean Paul Gaultier

This week, San Francisco enters the film world of Jean Paul Gaultier! Tonight, in partnership with the Fashion Film Festival, Friday Nights at the de Young presents Falbalas, the film that inspired Gaultier to embark on his fashion odyssey. Also tonight, the Castro Theater screens a JPG double feature, which includes Luc Besson’s sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element. And on Sunday, the Fashion Film Festival features Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s dark fairy tale The City of Lost Children at the Roxie.

Fifth Element

Jean Paul Gaultier, Costume sketch for The Fifth Element, directed by Luc Besson, 1997 © Jean Paul Gaultier

April 6, 2012

FRAME|WORK: Children’s story (water dreaming for two children) by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a painting by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula, a member of the Papunya Tula artist collective. Children’s story (water dreaming for two children) is currently on loan to Australia's National Gallery of Victoria.

Water Dreaming

Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula (Pintupi/Luritja, 1925–2001). Children’s story (water dreaming for two children), 1972. Australia, Western Desert, Papunya Tula settlement. Pressboard, tempera pigment. Gift of the Gantner Myer Aboriginal Art Collection. 2002.70.2

April 4, 2012

Matter + Spirit: A Conversation with Danae Mattes

The exhibition Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler is on view at the de Young Museum through May 13. Stephen De Staebler’s widow, the artist Danae Mattes, worked closely with the Museums on this exhibition and its accompanying catalogue. She shares with the Museums’ managing editor of publications, Leslie Dutcher, some of her impressions of Stephen De Staebler’s work and her collaboration with him.

De Staebler and his work

Left: Stephen De Staebler, ca. 1995. Right: Stephen De Staebler. Yoke Winged Man (detail), 1994. Bronze, oil paint and patina. Collection of Russ Solomon, Sacramento. Photo by Scott McCue

April 2, 2012

Closing Weekend for March Artist-In-Residence Joy Broom

For the past month, March Artist-In-Residence Joy Broom has been creating extravagant, multilayered, three-dimensional specimen boxes. Combining her intricate line drawings of organic elements with actual insects, seed pods, branches, body references, antique maps and biological medical sources—all covered with purified beeswax—she presents a unique cabinet of curiosities that provide further reflections of the broader natural universe.

March 30, 2012

Friday Nights at the de Young Are Back!

What do Jean Paul Gaultier, Lady Gaga, Don Draper and Frida Kahlo all have in common? They're all themes featured in Season Eight of Friday Nights at the de Young. After a four-month hiatus, the de Young opens Season Eight tonight, Friday, March 30, with a bigger than ever community party celebrating The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From Sidewalk to Catwalk .

March 30, 2012

FRAME|WORK: A Chasuble from 18th-century France

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature two exquisite 18th-century French liturgical vestments, a chasuble and a dalmatic, from the Museums’ permanent collections. Unfortunately, these garments are not currently on view, but please enjoy this exclusive virtual viewing!


Chasuble and Dalmatic, ca. 1700–1710. France, probably Paris. Silk, metallic thread; cut velvet, embroidery (laid work, couching, padded couching). Museum purchase, Dorothy Spreckels Munn Bequest Fund. 2004.9.1.1–2

March 28, 2012

Mad Men at the de Young: Protests, Pop Art and Pews

On Sunday night, millions of viewers tuned in to watch the much-anticipated season premiere of AMC’s Mad Men. Set in 1960s New York, Mad Men follows the careers and lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives as they negotiate the changing landscape of that mythologized decade. Currently on view at the de Young are three exhibitions that tap into this tumultuous time period: Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 (through June 3), New Dimensions: Prints and Multiples from the Anderson Collection (through July 1) and Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler (through May 13).


From left to right: Arthur Tress, Untitled (Coit Tower), 1964. Printed 2010–11. Selenium-toned silver gelatin print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. ©2012 Arthur Tress. Jasper Johns (American, b. 1930). Flag, from the Lead Reliefs series, 1969. Sheet-lead relief. Anderson Graphic Arts Collection, gift of the Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson Charitable Foundation. 1996.74.214. Stephen De Staebler. Masks. Photo courtesy the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Artwork © Estate of Stephen De Staebler

March 27, 2012

I Want My JPG!

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (on view through August 19 at the de Young) reveals the limitless cross cultural influences at play in the work of Jean Paul Gaultier. Throughout his career, Gaultier has drawn inspiration from diverse formats ranging from film and television, technology, street and club culture, and, of course, music. Pop music and its reigning superstars have continuously stimulated the creative drive of fashion’s enfant terrible. Perhaps most famous for the iconic costumes created in collaboration with Madonna for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour, Gaultier has seamlessly integrated music and its larger-than-life personalities into his unique fashion world.

Madonna's corset

Emil Larsson, Body corset worn by Madonna, Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990. Dazed & Confused, April 2008. © Emil Larsson

March 26, 2012

FRAME|WORK: At Sea, Japan by Jennifer Bartlett

Last weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Japan’s tragic earthquake and tsunami. Today marks the birthday of Jennifer Bartlett, whose opus, At Sea, Japan, was inspired by Japanese artistic traditions and is highlighted in this week’s FRAME | WORK . This work is currently not on view, so we hope you enjoy At Sea, Japan as we reflect on Japan’s recovery and resilience.

March 13, 2012

Bringing the San Francisco Streets into the Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier!

The designs of Jean Paul Gaultier often straddle the seemingly divergent worlds of haute couture and street fashion. To illustrate the profound influence of the street’s wild style on Gaultier’s designs, the museum commissioned San Francisco based artist Rio Yañez to create a 65-foot long graffiti mural, which will serve as the backdrop for the Punk Cancan section of the exhibition.

March 9, 2012

Museum Without Walls: Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird Go Off the Walls

The blog series Museum Without Walls features de Young Artist Fellows working outside of the museum with other artists and local, community based arts organizations. In this edition, we catch up with Sarah Wilson and Catch Me Bird at their Djerassi alumni artist residency where they gave us a glimpse into the early stages of their creative process.

March 1, 2012

Investigating Indigo in the Art of the Anatolian Kilim

On view through June 10 in the Textiles Gallery at the de Young, The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection showcases extraordinary examples of flat-woven kilims from the 15th to the 19th century. Considered to be the most important group of Anatolian kilims outside of Turkey, these kilims are notable for their elaborate design patterns, unusual

February 24, 2012

FRAME|WORK: George Washington by Rembrandt Peale

FRAME | WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. On Monday, the Museums were closed in observance of Presidents Day and today is the birthday of American painter Rembrandt Peale (1778–1860). In honor of these two occasions, we feature Peale’s iconic portrait of George Washington, which is currently on display in Gallery 27 at the de Young.

February 22, 2012

What's Going On? Artist Fellow Kevin Epps Gets Down with Marvin Gaye

What’s Going On: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, the second installment in Kevin Epps's curated Filmmakers Lounge series, examines the life and legacy of this astounding musical artist. Serving once again as a guest blogger, Epps talks about his life-long connection to the music of Marvin Gaye.

February 16, 2012

Which Way is Up? Artist Fellow Kevin Epps Gets Down with Richard Pryor

Today's guest blogger is 2011 de Young Artist Fellow Kevin Epps, whose film Fam Bam had its world premiere at the de Young last fall. As part of the Museums’ goal to continue its relationships with Artist Fellows and their collaborating partners–in this case the African American Art and Culture Complex–Epps will curate a two-part Filmmaker’s Lounge series featuring movies by local filmmakers.To celebrate Black History Month, Epps has selected films that draw from his memories of growing up in San Francisco’s African American community. The series kicks off this Saturday, February 4 with Which Way is Up?, starring Richard Pryor.

Which Way is Up? Poster

February 2, 2012

FRAME|WORK: Untitled (Stack) by Peter Voulkos

Matter + Spirit: The Sculpture of Stephen De Staebler , currently on view at the de Young, presents a retrospective of the artist’s work. This week’s FRAME | WORK draws attention to De Staebler’s mentor, Peter Voulkos. A renowned sculptor and teacher, Voulkos was hugely influential

February 1, 2012

Museum Without Walls: A Studio Visit with Todd T. Brown

In continuation of our series Museum Without Walls, we visited Todd T. Brown’s studio as he prepares for his final exhibition as an Artist Fellow at the de Young. Inheritance and Dreams will be on display in the Kimball Education Gallery February 1–12.

January 27, 2012

Bird Bath: The Conservation of a William Morris Textile

The British Aesthetic Movement, which is the subject of the upcoming exhibition The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860–1900 opening at the Legion of Honor on February 18, promoted the integration of beauty and art into every aspect of life. William Morris (1834–1896) was a chief proponent of the Aesthetic Movement and contributed luxe designs for wallpaper, carpets, tiles, and furniture. His career as a textiles designer, however, quickly surpassed his involvement with all other areas of artistic production.

Bird wall hanging, 1878

William Morris (English, 1834–1896). Bird wall hanging, 1878 (detail). Wool jacquard woven doublecloth. Museum purchase, Art Trust Fund. 1996.47

January 23, 2012

January Artist in Residence Dana Zed

This month in the Artist Studio, glass artist Dana Zed is drawing museum goers into her world of mirrors and reflection. Including the public in the process of art making is integral to the mission of the Artist in Residence program, but working within the Kimball Education Gallery and with the public often results in surprising collaborations, as Zed has discovered.

Posted by guest blogger Dana Zed.

January 18, 2012

Museum Without Walls: Sarah Wilson

This month, the de Young begins its second installment of the Artist Fellows program, which brings working artists from a variety of disciplines into the museum for a year. During this year, Artist Fellows will break open their art process by exhibiting works-in-progress and investigating new avenues of creativity through collaboration with the museum, partner institutions and other artists.

Each artist is associated with a collaborating institutional partner, an aspect of the program specifically designed to encourage museum engagement with local, community based arts organizations. Working both within and without the walls, the Artist Fellows will inhabit a new kind of museum, one without walls. In celebration of this next phase of the Artist Fellows program, we will focus on these extra-museum collaborations in a blog series called Museum Without Walls.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson. Photo © Lenny Gonzalez 2010

January 17, 2012

It's a Family Affair

With Friday Nights at the de Young on hiatus until March 30, 2012, we thought we’d take a moment to recognize some of our most dedicated supporters. Meet the Pelaez family, longtime museum members and intrepid fans of Friday Nights at the de Young. Parents Jenna and Steve along with their two kids, Payton, 7 and Aria, 5 have rarely missed a Friday Night in the past six years. We asked them what were some of the highlights from their weekly ritual.

December 16, 2011

A Tour with Trevor

Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” With this in mind, we recently toured the de Young with a precocious eight-year-old named Trevor to learn what we could about the experience of the museum and its art from a child’s perspective. Needless to say, we learned a lot.

December 9, 2011

Whatever Happened to Friday Nights?

Last week marked the close of Friday Nights at the de Young's season seven. We sat down with public programs director Renee Baldocchi to reflect on the past successes of Friday Nights at the de Young and to learn about what’s in store for the future, including upcoming programming for The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk.

December 2, 2011

A Conversation with Artist Fellow Kevin Epps

I’m Julian Cox, chief curator at the de Young, and tonight we are very excited to present the world premiere of FAM BAM, a new film by Artist Fellow Kevin Epps. The film will be shown in two back-to-back screenings in the Koret Auditorium at 6:30 and 7:10 p.m. Immediately following the second screening, there will be a question-and-answer session with Epps, during which he will share insight into his creative process and describe how he has used his time as an Artist Fellow to develop his ideas for this latest project.

This week, Epps and I sat down to talk a little about his background and how archives and material culture infuse his work in film.

November 25, 2011

Meet the de Young Family

This week we celebrate Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season when we reflect on what we value most in life: family. Family is also the focus of Artist Fellow Kevin Epps’s documentary Fam Bam, which critically examines the structure of the black family in America and premieres this Friday Night at the de Young.

In keeping with this theme, the final Friday Night of the season will host a San Francisco family reunion, de Young style. Share the de Young with your loved ones by taking this self-guided tour through the permanent collection to see how artists from around the world and throughout history have depicted the age-old subject of family.

Start your tour in Gallery 12 just off of Wilsey Court, where you will enter the mysterious world of Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Masks and Dolls. Meatyard's family, although often masked, served as the primary model for the photographer. Focusing on childhood and familial relationships, Meatyard sought to reveal the emotional reality of universal experiences.

Ambrose Bierce, 1964. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery.

November 25, 2011

Remixing San Francisco: An Interview with Director of "Block by Block," Sean San José

Campo Santo, de Young Artist Fellow and award-winning resident theater company of Intersection for the Arts premieres Block by Block: The Pura Principle, its newest theatrical work, in the de Young's Koret Auditorium on November 17, 18, and 19. The performance is based on recent short stories and original writings by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz.

Block by Block brings back to the stage Díaz’s wild and beautiful voice. Sean San José, theater director for Campo Santo, has adapted Diaz’s writings to life in our city, bringing a multimedia San Francisco block party to the de Young.

Audiences will be taken on a journey through San Francisco, block by block. Actors, dancers, and musicians interpret six neighborhoods–downtown, the Fillmore, the Excelsior, Hunters Point, the Mission, and the Castro–in vignettes reflecting the unique rituals found in each of these culturally rich neighborhoods. Experience DJ battles with Felonious; dance-offs with Nicole Klaymoon and the Embodiment Project; the murals of the Mission with projected visuals created by acclaimed artists Favianna Rodriguez, Evan Bissell, and Ricardo Richey; the urban life and writings of Junot Díaz with the Campo Santo Street Team and DJ Wonway; and Susie Lund, who transports you with Subway Strutting to Carnaval.

Watch a preview here.

How did we arrive at this place? We spoke with director Sean San José to take a deeper look at the inspiration and creative process behind Block by Block.

Sean San  Jose

Photo by Adrian Arias

November 14, 2011

Art Students Draw Inspiration from Museum Masterpieces

The academic tradition of learning to draw by imitating the works of established masters has been alive for centuries. Professor Rick Rodrigues has been bringing this rich tradition the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco since 1995, when he initiated a partnership between the City College of San Francisco and the Museums. Professor Rodrigues's drawing classes cover a variety of skills and techniques, ranging from basic life-drawing using models and tone-drawing to more obscure old-master techniques, such as silverpoint drawing or staining with tea or coffee. His much-beloved classes are a deeply fulfilling experience, giving  young artists the opportunity to learn from art history's old masters directly in the museum setting.

Visitors are always welcome to sketch in the Museums' permanent collection galleries. Sketching in special exhibition galleries is by permission only and subject to lender and gallery restrictions. Please see our museum policies for more information.

Sketching in the Rodin Gallery at the Legion of Honor

City College San Francisco Students sketching in the Rodin Gallery at the Legion of Honor.

Education intern Megan Friel recently sat down with Professor Rodrigues, who is still passionately committed to the academic tradition of museum drawing after 16 years of teaching, to discuss his experiences directing the program.

September 1, 2011

The Kilims Are Coming!

In anticipation of The Art of the Anatolian Kilim: Highlights from the McCoy Jones Collection (which opens September 10) the Textiles Conservation team is busy at work preparing each rug for display. It is a meticulous and time-consuming process!

First, the kilims have to be taken out of storage. Normal cardboard contains acid that can cause staining on textiles, which is why kilims are rolled onto blue, acid-free cardboard tubes for storage.To avoid harm from dust, the tubes are shrouded in unbleached cotton fabric.

August 18, 2011

Artist Fellows Showcase featuring Campo Santo, Nefasha Ayer, and Short Films by Kevin Epps

On July 8, visitors who attended Friday Nights at the de Young had the chance to experience the Artist Fellows Showcase, which featured contributions from the first class of Artist Fellows: Campo Santo, Kevin Epps and Todd T. Brown.

July 15, 2011

Under Wraps: The furniture at the Legion gets custom-made covers

For the last several months, Textile Conservation volunteers Kathy Murphy, Jean Scardina, intern Erica Storm and Objects Conservation volunteer Tegan Broderick have all been hard at work making covers for the furniture stored at the Legion of Honor. While most of the chairs were already stored beneath loose-fitting pieces of cloth, custom covers provide the objects with better protection from light and dust. Clearly labeled covers also facilitate quick identification of the objects underneath and prevent unnecessary handling.

June 23, 2011

FRAME|WORK: A ceremonial hanging from the Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Department of Textile Arts

FRAME|WORK is a weekly blog series that highlights an artwork in the Museums' permanent collections. This week, we feature a superb example of Indonesian weaving from the Textiles Department. This new acquisition is not currently on display, so we hope you enjoy this virtual viewing!

Ceremonial hanging (palepai), 19th century
Indonesia, Sumatra, Lampung
Handspun cotton; plain weave with supplementary-weft patterning
330 x 69 cm (129 15/16 x 27 3/16 in.)
Museum Purchase, Textile Arts Council Endowment Fund and the Nasaw Family Foundation Fund, 2010.1

May 17, 2011

When the Earth Shakes, Come to the de Young!

In 2009, senior registrar Stephen Lockwood came across a series of ledger books while examining the de Young’s offsite storage facility. These antique books contained detailed records of the weather and daily attendance at the de Young since its opening day in 1895. One entry was particularly interesting:

April 18, 2011

Podcast: Interview with Peter Solmssen about the First King Tut Exhibition

In celebration of the final days of Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, we present an interview with Alameda resident Peter Solmssen about his work with the original King Tut exhibition in the 1970s.

During that time, Mr. Solmssen served in the State Department as deputy ambassador-at-large for cultural affairs, and played an instrumental role in bringing Treasures of Tutanhkamun to the United States.

March 18, 2010