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This Changes Everything

Book of Leaves


Redwood Leaves

More from the Oakland Museum of California. Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D.Don) Endl.) leaf on the left is a 50 million year old fossil. Sample on the right shows what the leaves currently look like. I guess once you settle on something that works you stick with it. [NOTE: There is a Gymnosperm, i.e. conifer, "needle" thing versus an Angiosperm, i.e. flowering plant, "leaf" thing dichotomy at play here - but I'm not going there. Museum signage says "Redwood Leaves"].  


Oakland Museum of California

What a great museum. Fantastic collection of art, wonderful special exhibitions, and a whole wing on the natural history of California. All of my favorite things under one roof. Too much to cover in one post, so I'll start with the art.

Image above shows Untitled (1949) by Richard Diebenkorn; below is Untitled (formerly Self-Portrait, 1945) by Clyfford Still. Both painters re-located to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1940's and became leading figures in Abstract expressionism.


Human Be-In

Original poster from the Human Be-In held on January 14, 1967 in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. This "gathering of the tribes" ushered in the hippie movement and served as a prelude to San Franciscos's Summer of Love. Brought together an auspicious list of speakers, e.g. Ram Dass (Richard Albert), Gary SnyderAllen Ginsburg, and Buddha. The Human Be-In focused on the key ideas of the 1960s counterculture: personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization, communal living, ecological awareness, and radical activism.  Fifty years later and it seems that we could really use a little more of all of these things. [NOTE: Saw this iconic poster in the Oakland Musuem of California; more about this later]. 


Ai Weiwei at Alacatraz

Took the ferry out to Alcatraz Island last Saturday (thx, Mija and Henry) to see the old prison and to view the Ai Weiwei installation "@Large". Both the prison and the art were quite powerful. Image above shows "Refraction", a massive sculpture based on the structure of a bird's wing. Feathers are reflective panels used on solar cookers in Tibet. Piece is said "to use the imagery of flight to evoke the tension between freedom and confinement".

Image below shows "Trace", portraits of 175 political prisoners who have been detained because of their beliefs or affiliations. Ai Weiwei calls them "heroes of our time". The portraits are made from Lego bricks. [NOTE: Ai Weiwei also says "we are all potential prisoners"].  

And, finally, I offer below a small section of one of the walls in the main cellhouse. Seems like a wonderful desktop image; a high-resolution version can be downloaded here.


Keep San Francisco Weird

Just back from a wonderful four days in San Francisco. Image above is posted without comment.