I never would have known to go to the De Young museum in Golden Gate Park had it not been for a last minute recommendation from my coworker Allison. As I’ve gained a new appreciation for architecture over the past couple years, I definitely could appreciate this amazing creation by Swiss architects Hersog & de Meuron where humans meet nature and the materials only seem fitting.
The exterior skin is covered in a copper sheeting, some areas covered by divots, others by cut outs. Over time the rich red-brown will turn green, and there are areas where you can see it already changing (the museum re-opened in 2005).
Each gallery gave you a different sense of place and the artists working in the various rooms only made the museum come alive further. My favorite galleries were the African and Oceanic rooms where the eucalyptus – a common theme throughout the museum – carried from the floor to the ceilings, often framing “showcases” (in reality the columns that mask the pillars that protect the building during earthquakes). But it was the lighting in these “primal” galleries that really made the art feel at home and stand out.
Every turn in the museum provides a new view, and one that isn’t dictated by 90 degree angles. Bits of nature work their way into the space from tucked in gardens or views outside. Lighting and shadows only added to the mood. One of my favorite pieces in the museum was Gerhard Richter’s Strontium – a site-specific commission – based on the molecular structure of the element.Also incredible was the view from the top of the observation tower.
Bold graphics of Gilbert & George is the current exhibition, now through May 18th.