Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
Recently, we marked the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Alexandria Theater, and its steady decline to its status as a blighted landmark.
We posted photos of the theater’s deteriorating exterior, but recently received evidence of decay on the interior as well.
A reader sent us this photo which was taken inside the theater. It shows the defacing of one of the historic art deco murals inside the Alexandria.
The mural is peppered with beer bottle caps along with paint and plaster streaks.
Since its closing in 2004, the theater has periodically been broken into and taken over by squatters and partiers.
It’s a shame to see that the owners are letting the historic aspects of the interior deteriorate as well.
Sutro Baths reimagined as a Center for the Human Spirit by Quan Nyen Tran
In 2012, Quan Nyen Tran, a student at the Academy of Art’s Graduate School of Architecture, submitted an entry to the American Institute of Architects Center for Emerging Professionals competition. In it, he re-imagined the ruins of Sutro Baths as a transformational retreat center he calls the “Center for the Human Spirit”.
What’s interesting about Tran’s design is that rather than rebuild on top of the ruins and cover them up, the center wraps around the existing pools, and uses the varied cliffs to tucks in structures and living spaces.
Tran refers to Sutro Baths as “an evocative ruin”, writing, “The evocativeness comes from a sublime coexistence of cliff, ruin and ocean – each a potential site for discovery of the human self and for an evocative architecture to house this discovery.
The center consists of three main spaces – a exhibition space, a meditation space, and a retreat – all with the goal of encouraging its visitors to treat themselves, others and nature with compassion.
The exhibition space features an ampitheater with a connecting tunnel that leads down into a bathhouse that is tucked into the side of the cliff. The meditation center is “cantilevered from an existing ledge, with steps leading down into the ocean, and takes in the view of the infinite horizon”. And finally, the retreat area is nested in the heart of the ruins, with minimal living quarters and a transparent ceiling open to the sky.
The Center for the Human Spirit was also Tran’s Master’s thesis.
“My project was ignited by a vision borrowed from Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and the quote: “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.””
And while Tran’s re-imagining of our neighborhood relic wasn’t a a finalist in the 2012 AIA CEP ompetition, we think he has a winning idea here.
Thanks to @sutrobaths for the tip.
Looking out from the Exhibition area. By Quan Nyen Tran
At left, a rendering of the Retreat for the Potential Self. To the right, the Sanctuary for the Transcendental.
By Quan Nyen Tran
Today, George Clooney’s latest film The Monuments Men opens in theaters. The film depicts an unusual WWII platoon made up of museum directors, curators, and art historians who were tasked with rescuing artistic masterpieces that had been stolen by the Nazis and returning them to their rightful owners.
One of the platoon members was Thomas Carr Howe, Jr., who at the time was the Director of the Legion of Honor Museum. Howe’s character is not portrayed in Clooney’s film but during his years of service as a “Monument Man”, he helped rescue and preserve countless artworks stolen by the Nazis, including Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child (1501) and Jan Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece (1432).
During World War II, Howe joined the U.S. army and served from 1945 to 1946 in Germany and Austria. He began as a naval lieutenant but was soon assigned to serve in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives (MFAA) section. Howe reported to Lieutenant Commander George Stout at Wiesbaden, and was later promoted to Lieutenant Commander and Deputy Chief of the MFAA at Frankfurt.
During his service as one of the “Monuments Men” Howe located hidden and recovered large repositories of cultural objects and works of art stolen by the Nazis. He also helped with the restitution effort. At the Altaussee salt mines in Austria, Howe helped salvage a large cache of stolen artwork that included Michelangelo’s Madonna and Child and the Ghent Altarpiece or The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by Hubert and Jan van Eyck, Vermeer’s The Artists Studio, and the Rothschild family jewels. Howe later described his wartime work in his book Salt Mines and Castles: The Discovery and Restitution of Looted European Art (1946). [Archives of American Art]
Today at 12noon, the Legion of Honor is hosting a lecture about Howe and the real life story of the Monuments Men. The talk features presentations from UC Berkeley, The Frick Collection Art Reference Library, the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, and the American Institute for Conservation Oral History Project.
You can also watch at the Koret Auditorium at the de Young or at the Florence Gould Theater at the Legion of Honor. Museum admission is required.
For his wartime service as a Monuments Men, Howe was honored with the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and the Officier of the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau in 1946. After completing his service, Howe resumed his place as Director at the Legion of Honor, a position he held until his retirement in 1968.
And you can see the new Monuments Men movie starring Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban and George Clooney at the Balboa Theater, starting tonight.
Stephen Kovalyak, George Stout and Thomas Carr Howe transporting Michelangelo’s sculpture Madonna
and child, 1945 July 9. [Archives of American Art]
Herr Sicher, George Stout and Thomas Carr Howe inspecting paintings, 1945 July 9 [Archives of American Art]
Late last year, we told you about a photo project that took place at the Richmond District branch library called “Through Our Eyes: Visual Stories of the Richmond Neighborhood”.
The workshop was led by photojournalist Frederic Larson, who worked at the San Francisco Chronicle for thirty years, where he covered all types of assignments – from fires to football, earthquakes to celebrities.
Larson invited amateur photographers to come out and capture a visual snapshot of the Richmond District neighborhood by covering 18 square blocks in and around the library.
The video above highlights the project and its participants, which resulted in not only interesting photographs, but also some insights into the residents and our variety of cultures.
Librarian Dorothy Kimmel, who spearheaded the project, tells us some of the photos can be seen on the branch Facebook page, and that “in the near future I will post a slide show and two photo stories.”
Sarah B.12:43 pm | Posted under Art, Photos | 2 comments
Photojournalist Frederic Larson recently held a series of photography workshops at the Richmond District branch library, inviting amateurs to come sharpen their skills while creating a visual snapshot of life in the neighborhood.
The results will be on display this Wednesday night at the library as Through Our Eyes: Visual Stories of the Richmond Neighborhood.
At the event, Larson will present some of the stories and a video documenting the students’ “neighborhood shoot” on a Saturday in November.
The free event runs from 6:30pm until 8:30pm in the Richmond District branch Library’s meeting room, 351 9th Avenue. Refreshments will be provided.
Sarah B.12:30 pm | Posted under Art, Photos | 5 comments
At a SFPD evidence site, about 800 stolen and recovered bicycles are stored. Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle
Hard to believe that it’s already December! Here are some local links to take you into the final stretch of 2013…
- A lot of you have read about stolen bike after stolen bike in the weekly police blotter. Ever wondered what happens to them all? The Chronicle paid a visit to a SFPD warehouse, where nearly 800 “mountain bikes, road bikes, rusted clunkers, fat-tired cruisers, fancy carbon fiber, and new and old frames of every color” sit gathering dust. The challenge? Reconnecting the recovered bikes with their owners. If you’ve had a bike stolen, visit the Park Station website, tweet to @sfpdbiketheft, or call 553-0123 to report a stolen bike.
- The woodworkers Anzfer Farms have opened up a temporary store at 248 Clement Street for the holidays. Stop by on December 7 between 2 and 8pm for a little celebration featuring shopping (furniture and other home accessories), snacks and drinks.
- The Bold Italic recently went on a very scientific pork bun adventure, tasting and rating the brown pockets of meaty joy at nine different dim sum restaurants in the Inner Richmond, hoping to identify the best one. “After charting out all the nuances of each bun, we had a hard time defining what “best” meant. While we all shared similar rankings for our top three favorites (Clement Restaurant, Wing Sing, and Cherry Blossom), there wasn’t one clear winner.” Nevertheless, their detailed research and photography is definitely worth the read!
- If you say something egregious about your employer or job on Facebook, could you be fired for it? Two Richmond Village Beacon employees found out the answer to that is yes, and that not every social media post by disgruntled employees is protected by the National Labor Relations Act. A judge ruled that their profanity-laced Facebook posts went too far.
- A new Japanese and Korean izakaya called Joo Mak has taken over the Sushi Tani space on Geary near Funston. According to their Facebook page, Chefs/Owners Tony Chong and Sam Sohn “always envisioned a place where people could come together and experience authentic street food from Korea and Japan.” They’re open daily from 5pm until 2pm, but closed on Tuesdays. Yelp reviews are very positive so far, and one wrote that “they still use Tani’s menu for the Japanese rolls.”
- A new sushi place called Yoi opened up in the former Drunken Sushi on Clement and 24th Avenue. The name means “good, pleasing, skilled”, and according to their website, they’re offering sushi, ramen and robatayaki (skewers slow-grilled over hot charcoal). They’re open daily from 5pm until 12midnight, and from Thursday through Saturday, stay open late until 2am. Yelp reviews are mixed so far.
- North East Medical Services (NEMS) recently celebrated the opening of their new clinic on Clement Street near 12th Avenue. The building was donated to NEMS by Hong Kong entrepreneur Dr. Tihua Koo and his wife, Mrs. Dorothy Shaofen Vee Koo. NEMS is the largest non-profit, federally-qualified community health center in San Francisco, providing health care to over 57,000 patients annually. They have 8 locations in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
- The OBB recently profiled the owner of Fredy’s Deli out on La Playa near the beach. After a medical struggle that caused him to close for several months this year, he’s decided to sell after 28 years. A former employee, David Nottage, is re-opening the business as Kawika’s Ocean Beach Deli. Nottage plans to close briefly in January for a renovation, and will keep selling many of the favorites that Fredy’s customers like so much.
- Zephyr Cafe at 3643 Balboa has been renamed to La Promenade Cafe. Ownership changed back in June, but it sounds like they just got around to changing the awning. “We have completely renovated the café with new wooden floors and mural paintings depicting French café scenes which gives it its charm.” One Yelp reviewer reports that a lot of the clutter is gone and all the chairs now match.
Photo by @bonanos
Tucked just inside the Presidio gate at 14th Avenue is Arion Press, a small printing company that employs about ten people as printers, bookbinders, editors, and in other publishing roles.
Part of the team are the highly skilled and long-experienced typesetters of Mackenzie & Harris, the oldest and largest surviving typefoundry in America. They supply lead-alloy type to printers and schools around the country and provide typographic services in computer-generated composition.
In the Chronicle’s video series “The City Exposed”, Arion Press typesetter Lewis Mitchell was profiled. He’s been doing his job for over 60 years, and boasts that one of his best machines was used in the 1915 Panama Exposition:
In the basement of Arion Press, where they still print books the old-fashioned way, Lewis Mitchell slid open a box of parts used to change the font size on the Monotype casting machines he has maintained for 62 years.
“I thoroughly enjoy the sound of the machines turning, and seeing the type come out is a joy,” Mitchell said. He can tell by the sound of the moving springs and levers if something is awry with his machines — a skill he said all good technicians should have.
Four different owners have run the business since Mitchell walked through the doors at age 18, and he has had several opportunities to leave, including a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that he declined. Now 80, Mitchell can’t imagine retiring from the job he loves so much. When Mitchell started making this kind of type, it was really the only way to print things, and now he doesn’t know how many books he’s helped print over the decades…
Watch the video above to learn more about Mitchell and his legacy at Arion Press.
ARION PRESS HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE – DECEMBER 7
Want to get to know Arion Press even better? Mark your calendar for Saturday, December 7 – that’s when they’re having their annual Holiday Open House. Stop by between 11am and 5pm to tour the facility and see their just released edition of Gershwin’s “Porgy & Bess,” illustrated by Kara walker (her prints will be on display), Julie Mehretu’s newly handcolored prints for “Poetry of Sappho,” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” illustrated by Jonathan Hammer.
The Arion Press building (yellow) inside the Presidio near Lake & 14th Avenue.