A Few Days in the Life

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006 | Film, Food, Friends

SATURDAY
BC and I took a break from our break and went to Yerba Buena and SFMoMA Saturday. We are like barnacles, indeed. There are some intriguing sculptures on display by Wang Du at YBCA, based on images taken from magazines and newspapers–a sculpture of a person, for instance will have the head cropped off and the forehead exaggerated, like in a newspaper. This kind of rendering in 3-dimensions of 2-dimensional representations of 3-dimensional space was very cleverly done, but didn’t move me quite like the nearby sculptures by Cornelia Parker, of charred fragments from two churches that had burned down: one a white church destroyed by lightning; and one a black church destroyed by arson. The fragments were hung from wire, separated and arranged in a cube-shaped configuration, the charred remnants of these violent actions re-organized into a beautiful and haunting presence in rational space.

SFMoMA has some humdingers on display upstairs, including some fabulous new work. I could stand for hours in front of Vija Celmins’ work. One, a painting of stars, and the other, of waves on the ocean, are so visually spare yet contain such profound serenity and beauty. Wangechi Mutu’s installation and collages were breathtakingly beautiful and unsettling. I was completely inspired and want to make work that is breathtakingly beautiful and unsettling. She is my new hero.

After bonding with the Vulva School at Kiki Smith’s show, and then getting to know Chuck Close’s nose hairs too intimately, we decided to save the Earthquake and Richard Long shows for later.

Later that night I picked up Hong-Xi and drove over to Nick & Jeff for a grand hot pot celebration to usher in the Year of the Dog.  Kiltbear was there, and was as cute as ever. Arf! Arf! Hong-Xi drank too much, the first time I’ve ever seen her drunk in the 20 years that I’ve known her.

SUNDAY
After dim sum with my dumpling Dean, Philip and I went to look at a house in Sea Cliff. Built in 1970 by Bruce Heiser, the house is like an elegant mod kwanset hut, with a wall of glass facing the street, an open floor plan with one level suspended above the center of the grand central space, visual themes of lines and curves that appear throughout the house as a curved wall of brick or a row of yellow glass panels, a tiny raised garden that you cross a sort of moat to get to, and a downstairs den with a wall of glass that is curtained by a waterfall descending from the moat above. It was nice imagining living in our mid-Century dream pad with our Tony Duquette furniture and Laurel lamps, descending the yellow shag carpeted spiral staircase to greet Goldie Hawn and Julie Christie in our matching Pucci scarves and Mennen Dry Looks.

MONDAY
Les and I took in a double header at the Balboa Monday night: a film about Cartier-Bresson; and one of the most interesting films of the year thus far, called William Eggleston: In the Real World. Isabelle Huppert appeared in the Cartier-Bresson film, among other artists and glitteratti, a gorgeous and smart French windbag, leafing through a book of his pictures, making wonderfully overwrought, gushy, and insightful statements about the images. The Eggleston film knocked my socks off. You get to follow around this brilliant artist and see his process, how he looks at everything, drawing our attention to the beauty in every single thing in sight. At the end of the film, the filmmaker tries to engage him in a discussion about dreams and representation, and Egggleston just says no, he doesn’t think like that, no, doesn’t see it quite like that–a man who sees and creates with his eyes and body with no need to distill meaning beyond what’s been seen and represented. In one amazing scene, he’s at the home of a young woman, at night, she’s in jammies and he’s sketching while she blabs on and on with music blaring and him occasionally mumbling something in acknowledgment or disagreement. There’s an understood intimacy between the two that’s never discussed and we’re never quite let in on. We already know he’s married–is this a lover? A daughter? It’s as interesting as his work, and functions in exactly the same way–no context, only intensity and strange beauty cropped from what’s been stumbled across.

TUESDAY
Davide came over last night and we watched Hinokio, a Japanesse film about a boy confined to his room following a car accident. Having lost his mom in the wreck, he blames his dad and refuses to leave the room or continue with his rehab. In a twist of the Pinocchio story, his dad builds a robot that goes to school for him, but that is controlled by the boy from a virtual control center in his room. It’s a very sweet and easy film about a boy who learns to live and love again with the help of Japanese electronics.

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