Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Free Sundays at the Crocker


People tend not go to things in their own backyards. For 15 years I've worked across the street from the Crocker Museum, always thinking I'll go over some day during lunch. And I never have.

For those of you not from California or Sacramento area, the Crocker is the oldest art museum west of the Mississippi. Judge Crocker was related to Charles Crocker, of the railroad "Big Four". He and his wife collected artwork, built the gallery, and eventually donated it all to the city.

On Sundays there is free admission to the museum from 10-1. Currently they have a Pop Art exhibition and that is my favorite art era, thus the reason for me to finally be lured in.

Above is a shot of the main gallery from the lower level. Below is a shot of the upstairs. What my shots do not clearly convey is the beautiful craftsmanship of the building itself. In fact, when you come in the main entrance, you are immediately faced with a beautiful double staircase, carved woodwork, and other beautiful details.



As I mentioned, what drew me in was the Pop Art exhibit. There were some fantastic pieces that I had not seen before. I had been to MOMA in NYC and also to a Pop Art exhibit at SF's MOMA. But what struck me about this Crocker exhibit were some of the sculptural and ceramic pieces that were displayed. They did have my favorite, Roy Lichtenstein, and quite a few Warhols. Here I was a naughty girl and snuck a picture of some of the sports portraits that Warhol had done.


On a side note, I had actually seen Andy Warhol back in 1986. He was having dinner with Duran Duran at an exclusive Chinese restaurant that I was also having dinner at.


What struck me about the Crocker was some of their pieces that I found elsewhere in the museum after I was finished with the exhibit. The above piece is a burnished piece of stainless steel that is in an almost flat bowl shape with jagged edges. When I first approached it I immediately thought of a saw. What is glorious about this piece that you can't tell from the picture is that the way it is burnished (the directions of the polishing) make the whole piece holographic and even seem like it is in three separate parts. But it is actually one, smooth piece.



This piece I approached from the side and close up. So I was busy regarding the individual ceramic, three-dimensional tiles that make it up as a mosaic. Each small tile was an individual image: skull, atomic bomb plume, sperm, destroyed buildings, ruined brick, etc. It wasn't until I read the description and walked away that I realized that there was the portrait of George W. Bush! What a great statement!


This final piece I'm showing was titled 'Public View, Private Eye'. The structure was constructed with mirrors on the inside. The idea was that when you walk through it you are hit with all the reflections and angles of yourself - the dimensions of you and your personality and life. From the outside there are ways to look in so that as the spectator, you are looking in as the public and getting a different set of perspective and sighting of some of the private elements while also seeing yourself as the spectator being reflected.

I really enjoyed my visit to the Crocker and now vow that it will not be another 15 years before I go again.
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