Review: De Young and Legion of Honor shows etch American West, past and present
August 2, 2016 - storage organizer
San Francisco’s de Young Museum is secure in an 1894 satisfactory that helped renovate a “Outside Lands” — silt dunes that stretched from a city west to a sea — into Golden Gate Park.
The Legion of Honor museum is only about a westernmost open building in a city. As we travel toward a entrance, a Golden Gate Bridge is behind you.
Nearby there’s a relic imprinting a western terminus, in 1913, of a transcontinental Lincoln Highway.
What ideal venues these are for a span of summer exhibits “Wild West: Plains to a Pacific” during a Legion (through Sept. 11) and “Ed Ruscha and a Great American West” during a de Young (through Oct. 9.)
Combined, they offer a pathway from a Gold Rush epoch to a present, from Yosemite to a Berkeley hills, from iconic western landmarks to dried fires, freeways and domestic posters. The Legion vaunt especially, with 175 images, lets visitors draft their possess track by California history, embankment and culture.
Discoveries await. Ruscha’s many famous image, a intense “Hollywood” pointer stretched opposite a dim hillside, is on perspective during a de Young. But so are a after chronicle of a sign, seen from a back, and another patrician “Landmark Decay,” display it exploding apart.
Curators have scoured a dual museums’ art holdings, including a 90,000-work Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, to emanate a Legion exhibit.
Nowhere else will visitors find in one place — indeed on one wall — Carlton Watkins’ 1878 sketch of Lake Tahoe, Maynard Dixon’s thespian 1930 sketch of a lightning charge and Rupert Garcia’s confidant red-and-green screen-print “Maguey de la Vida” from 1973.
These shows are not only tributes to a scenic West. The vaunt titles are rather ironic. Ruscha’s “Great American West” includes his large portrayal “Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas” and also parking lots and billboards and his 1976 print consult of a Sunset Strip, from Schwab’s Pharmacy to Filthy McNasty’s bar.
The Legion’s “Wild West” vaunt juxtaposes western history, parable and reality. “‘The Wild West’ is a installed term,” records vaunt organizer James Ganz, executive of a Achenbach Foundation. It suggests that a segment — and a local American proletariat — indispensable to be “tamed.”
The design offers copiousness of contrasts, from a print for a “Buffalo Ranch” captivate early in a 20th century to authentic drawings donated by a Indian Defense Association. Here is Albert Bierstadt’s halcyon 19th-century Sacramento Valley landscape and Matt Black’s 1970 print of a Kings County dirt storm.
For all a curator’s insights, “Wild West” essentially offers a rewarding perspective of design that is customarily dark divided in storage. You can take your collect from strange citrus bin labels (such as “Terra Bella” and “Have One” oranges), a graph display a extravagantly jarring trembler in Santa Rosa on Oct. 1, 1969, and a portrayal by eminent landscape artist Peter Hurd used for a California Brewing Co. drink ad. (Yes, it competence make we thirsty.)
Here are some-more highlights:
“Setting Sun on Sacramento Valley, California” by Chiura Obata. The Japanese American artist’s Yosemite scenes are many familiar, though this 1930 tone woodcut, middle in size, blazes with tone and roughly Expressionistic power.
“Stockton, 1856” by Alburtus Del Orient Browere. The extended Sacramento River is in a foreground; a line of middle buildings stretches opposite a background; and a stage is roughly agonizingly beautiful, like a masterwork of a Hudson River School.
“Peter Quivey and a Mountain Lion” by Charles Christian Nahl. Quivey, sitting outdoor in his fringed buckskin cloak and pants, binds a Bowie blade and Colt revolver (which helped “tame” a West) and looks utterly unapproachable of himself. With him are his dog (alive) and a towering lion (dead). The heading records that Quivey (1807-1869) quickly assimilated a Donner Party, fought in a Mexican-American War and staid in San Jose in 1847, where he built a initial wood-frame residence and hotel.
“Freeway Curve,” 1979 tone etching, and “Ponds and Streams,” 2001 acrylic portrayal by Wayne Thiebaud. This isn’t a uncover for Thiebaud’s cakes and pies, though his upended views of informed topography. One’s a dizzying turnpike bend that cars hardly adhere to. The flatland “waterscape” becomes a colorful mottled image.
“Sun Mad,” 1983 screen-print by Ester Hernandez, and “Cesen Deportacion!” 1973 screen-print by Rupert Garcia. Two confidant images are reminders of artists’ roles in amicable and domestic causes. Hernandez’s fundamental figure, formed on a raisin growers’ Sun-Maid insignia, warns of pesticides. Garcia’s black spiny handle opposite a red credentials call for an finish of deportations.
Ed Ruscha was innate in Nebraska, grew adult in Oklahoma, gathering to Los Angeles in 1956, during a age of 18, to attend art propagandize — and has been one of a many particular California artists ever since.
His Southern California temperament hasn’t stopped a de Young Museum from formulating a wide-ranging vaunt of his works. It’s not a retrospective, though it covers 5 decades of his career.
Ruscha has been called a Pop artist and a Conceptual artist, though labels don’t do him justice. He is both simply permitted (that Technicolor-style “Hollywood” sign, a bright, bony “Standard Station”) and estimable of deeper analysis. This exhibit, stretching by a de Young’s cavernous lower-level galleries, is a array of themes and variations on many iconic images.
His photographs, comparison from a array of series, pull courtesy for sum of a paltry universe they etch (almost wholly though tellurian figures.) There are parking lots, dull lots and swimming pools. There are 10 images from “Twentysix Gas Stations,” a unequaled though roughly sentimental collection from 1962 (with a cost of gas posted during one, 26.9 cents a gallon).
Less informed are images that competence have been retrieved from wordless films (the becloud acrylic “Coyote” and “Bison Study” from a 1980s) or retrieved from snapshots in a box during a flea marketplace (rooftop views and dull swimming pools from a 1960s.)
Ruscha enlivens his after paintings in a approach that competence lead some viewers behind to his Pop Art roots. To this still medium, and a peaceful aspect of a canvas, he adds big, confidant lettering, as endless as “Honey … we Twisted Through More Damn Traffic to Get Here.”
Others broadcast “The End,” “Dead End,” “The Absolutely End.” But this painter, who done his name in a 1960s, is still bustling in his studio.
“He’s still alive and good in L.A. during 78, still formulating new art,” curator Karen Breuer says.
‘Wild West: Plains to Pacific’
Through: Sept. 11, 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Where: Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue and Clement Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10-$20; 415-750-3600, legionofhonor.famsf.org
‘Ed Ruscha and a Great American West’
Through: Oct. 9, 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Where: de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Admission: $10-$20; 415-750-3600, deyoungmuseum.org