Saturday, January 18, 2014

The ultimate art date

My friend, June, and I have been on a lot of "art dates" over the years. We usually meet at the Portland Art Museum or at a Portland gallery and spend several lovely hours looking at and discussing art. June is very fun to discuss art with. She is a former fiber artist turned oil painter and has designed and implemented her own art education. That means, because June is June, she has read volumes and volumes about art and spends long hours pondering and thinking and puzzling out the hows and whys of it. So she keeps me on my toes. We once took a day trip on the train to view art in Tacoma, but this time she had a grander scheme in mind. "Let's go to San Francisco for three days and see the David Hockney exhibit at the deYoung Museum."

Three days because June wanted to see it three times. Don't ask. June likes to really examine things thoroughly.

It was a grand three days. We found San Francisco experiencing unseasonably warm and sunny weather, which made our travels about the city a joy.

We figured out the bus route to Golden Gate Park where the museum is. Here is June waiting for our bus. The bus route included a stop at the visitors center for the Golden Gate Bridge, so we were treated to this beautiful view on each trip. The bus was never crowded and we visited with nice people. 

Since I only wanted to see the exhibit once, on the other two days I just hung around the museum—wandering through the gift shop and sitting in the sun outside the museum. The sun on my shoulders, the sound of birds and children playing across the lawn, were like springtime in January. Such a contrast to Portland's damp, gray cold. I could hear someone playing old jazz standards on a saxophone somewhere nearby and it was a bit like being in a movie with a lovely soundtrack. On our last day we met up with fellow "twelve" Karen Rips and her husband and a friend for lunch at the museum. They came up from the Los Angeles area to see the exhibit. What luck! Such good people. 

One day we walked along a trail from Fort Mason to Fisherman's Wharf amidst cyclers and hikers and swooping gulls, window shopping along the touristy area, then trekking up the steep streets of San Francisco toward the neighborhood where we were staying. Near our hotel we had found a street of charming shops and restaurants. We ate well; we drank wine in the afternoon; we looked at art and we talked and laughed a lot. We declared ourselves the last living gluten-eaters in America and savored our good bread and pasta and snickerdoodles. 

The exhibit was, indeed, a BIGGER exhibition with something like 400 pieces. A lot to take in, but a thoroughly rich and satisfying experience. Many of the paintings were huge.  The one below (a favorite) is painted on 9 large panels and fills a wall. It would be impossible to try to describe the exhibit, except to say that it included paintings of landscapes and portraits, mind-bending videos, digital drawings using iPhone and iPad, charcoal drawings and water colors. A great diversity of work, yet there was a distinctive common thread running through it all. June decided it was all about the relationship between time and space and I have to agree. 

If you have a chance to see the show before it closes in a couple days I recommend it. Go with a friend. Walk. Talk. Eat. Ride the bus. Drink wine. You will love it. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your delightful experience.

  2. It looks as though you and June had a memorable time!

  3. Oh you lucky person! I saw a similar hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy in London but I'd rather have seen it in San Fran. I would have cycled there along the route you described. My favourite route in all the word!

  4. Terri, I was in San Francisco in early November and visited the exhibit with Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt. I loved the room with the videos of the four seasons and wished I could have at room in my home! It was awesome to see how prolific and inventive Hockney is. We ran into Nelda Warkentin in the lobby, which was amazing.
    You are lucky to have a good friend to travel with to art exhibits.