This was the day my brother Marty chose for his “day of birthday fun” (his birthday is actually on the 31st, but that’s a Wednesday and we both have to work), so I treated him with a visit to the Crocker Art Museum and linner (the meal between lunch and dinner) at the Tower Restaurant. We found a parking spot right in front of the museum in the shade (score!) and spent a little over 2 hours in there. There’s sooo much to look at in the place that we’d need to go back several times to see it all. It seemed like every time we turned a corner there was another room with more stuff in it! I especially wanted to see the Origami exhibit they had going and luckily we were able to find it quickly and easily. It did not disappoint. Actually, I was blown away by some of the creations! Animals, clothing, masks, globes, free-forms… and a velociraptor skeleton. Some of the stuff was just amazing.
We also saw Africa art pieces, charcoal sketches, paintings (some of them so large you had to stand on the other side of the room to see them properly), collages, classical to super-modern sculptures, some pottery and jewelry… The museum is broken into two parts: one part in a totally modern building and the other in the Cocker mansion (the two sides connected by gallery bridges). On the mansion side there was a grand gallery with sweeping staircases and gloriously ornate furnishings… and the ceilings were even gorgeous. We didn’t know what to look at first.
Of the stuff I saw, I think the three pieces that stood out in my mind the most were: (1) a blue broach I took a photo of because I thought the stone was so pretty. It wasn’t until I got the photo home and enlarged it that I realized there was a FACE inside the stone! (2) A portrait of George W. Bush made up of large stone “dies”. When you step up close to it you realize that each stone has a horrific image craved into it: bombs dropping, atomic clouds, brick walls, the prisoners at Abu Ghraib, skulls… What a powerful piece! And (3) then there was another wall sculpture called “Trust” done in large squares. Each square was painted in the same color pallet, but had different elements in it — including one with bottles of pills and others with a face and a foot… When we read the description of it we realized the face and foot were actually life-casts from a man who had died of AIDS. Two days after the man’s death his friend made the casts and incorporated them into his art as an on-going tribute to his friend; another powerful piece… One of Marty’s favorite pieces was a monolithic disk of steel that when you looked at it from the side it looked like a flat shallow dish; but when you looked at from the front, it had an optical illusion rubbed into it that made it look like it had 3-D layers folded into it. I tried getting a photo of it, but it all sort of flattened out… Marty also like the art glass pieces we found in the museum shop…
We wanted to keep looking and looking, but our old bodies just couldn’t take more than a couple of hours, so we found our way out and headed off to linner.
Oh, and CLICK HERE for a video of one of the first things we saw when we entered the mueum.