Young Museum, 50 Tea Garden Dr - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA. Tel (415) 863-3330 www.thinker.org
architecture - art -
De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco's
premier center for fine arts and entertainment, includes spectacular exhibits, furniture,
textile collections and artwork on display in rotating exhibits that entice
locals and visitors to come again and again.
Housed in a fairly new building
(opened October 2005) that's
covered with copper, this museum was founded in 1895 and has grown to
include some of the finest art objects from around the globe. The copper
façade is perforated with a design that mimics dappled light filtering
through a canopy of trees. The building’s skin will progressively fade
during a seven to ten year span from bright copper to cinnamon color, and
finally will assume a rich green patina that will blend with the wooded
environment of Golden Gate Park.
Passionate about the arts, San
Franciscans supported the museumm's efforts to re-house valuable, growing
collections by helping raise over $200 million for the new facility. Even
though a structure was needed to replace an earthquake-damaged facility, the
new building itself is as much an artistic show piece as the works within.
Little touches such as the commissioned stone crack that runs along the
walkway north from the edge of the Music
Concourse roadway in front of the museum, up the main walkway, into the
exterior courtyard, and up to the main entrance commemorates the tectonic
elements of the region. If you do not have time to visit the 105,000
square ft. museum, be sure to at least go by to see its grounds.
Broad-stroaked with the finest
materials available, volcanic rock
flooring and interior eucalyptus wood treatments, the new building was designed by Pritzker
Prize-winning architects Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron. The natural
materials enhance themes of de Young's diverse collections―encompassing arts of the Americas, the Pacific Islands,
Africa and American painting and decorative arts—in specially designed galleries that allow visitors to experience both the distinctions and the connections between the art of
different cultures and eras.
The uniquely-shaped building was constructed under the guidance of San
Francisco-based Fong & Chan Architects as part of the largest public
arts institution in the city of San Francisco and one of the largest art
museums in the United States.
The 293,000-square-foot building's vertical structure is not
overwhelming with its three levels of museum space, yet it returned nearly two acres of open space to Golden Gate
Park through its design. A series of courtyards draw
visitors and the landscape into the museum’s interior while windows
simultaneously provide museum goers with panoramic views of the park.
The surrounding park incorporates sphinx sculptures, Pool of Enchantment,
and historic hundred-year-old palm trees seen in the photo on this page. Redwood, cypress, eucalyptus,
ferns, and other native and non-native plants echo the vibrant cultures showcased throughout
the museum’s collections.
Inside the museum are permanent collections comprised
of American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, art from the
native cultures of North, Central, and South America, art from the Pacific
Islands and Africa, and textiles of many eras from throughout the world.
Featuring work from nearly 30 countries, the collections are noteworthy for
their pre-Columbian pieces, art from sub-Saharan Africa, Maori sculptures
from New Zealand, and an encyclopedic collection of New Guinean objects of
exceptional quality, many of which are on loan from John and Marcia Friede.
American paintings in the Rockefeller
Collection with artists
John Singleton Copley, Thomas Hart Benton, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt,
Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Willem de Kooning, and Mark
Rothko, provide breath-taking exhibits that astound guests. The de Young
contains and displays in rotating exhibits more than 6,000 objects of American
decorative arts and sculpture with artists Isamu Noguchi, Mark di Suvero, Claes Oldenburg and James Turrell, Paul Revere silver,
furniture designs by Frank Lloyd Wright and countless rare items.
One of the unique gallery exhibits
includes the oldest and best preserved sculptures from
West Africa's Dogon culture. Docent-led tours are valuable in providing
narration for the meaning and contextual significance of the sculptures
In addition to the museum exhibits,
there's a gift store and huge book store, picnic areas outdoors and many
things to see and do in San Francisco's beloved Golden Gate Park. Definitely
allocate time to see the de Young Museum while visiting San Francisco. It is
located at 50 Tea Garden Drive in the heart of Golden Gate Park. For public
information, call (415) 863-3330 or visit www.thinker.org.