Charting the Museum Boom

look at the new buildings that have opened this season—and those that are still on the way…..

This has been a huge week for museum news, what with the Guggenheim selecting the winning design for its proposed Helsinki branch, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which had been scheduled to open in December, announcing that it would be postponing its inauguration by another year. It has also been a huge year for museum construction, with many institutions—public and private, established and upstart—spending, in total, hundreds of millions of dollars on new buildings, with even more on the way. Below, a look at these new museums, and how they stack up alongside one another.

museums infographic_final-01

Community Engagement: Two Museums Enter Public Bet Over NBA Final

The Oakland Museum of California and the Cleveland Museum of Art have wagered the sponsorship for a children’s program.

The directors of the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) have entered into a public wager on their home teams during the upcoming NBA finals. Should the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, CMA will sponsor a “Warriors-themed art experience” at OMCA for 100 children from YMCA of the East Bay. On the other hand, if the Cavaliers prove victorious, OMCA will be the ones to sponsor 100 children from Cleveland’s Boys and Girls Clubs Fatima Family Center.

Best of luck to both sets of children!

World-famous architects are still big kids at heart

Architects build Lego structures for Olafur Eliasson High Line installation

The interactive installation, called The Collectivity Project, contains a fictional cityscape made with more than two tons of white Lego bricks. Eliasson commissioned 10 architecture firms to each create an imaginary structure: James Corner Field Operations, BIG, David M Schwarz Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, OMA New York, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Selldorf Architects, SHoP and Steven Holl Architects.

Members of the public are encouraged to modify the installation, adding blocks to the architect-designed structures, resulting in an ever-changing composition. “In the cooperative spirit of the project, these initial buildings will become part of the collective architecture that the public builds over the four months of the project’s installation,” stated Friends of the High Line, the nonprofit organisation that oversees the park’s maintenance and art program.

Lego Installation by Olafur Eliasson

Lego Installation by Olafur Eliasson

Lego Installation by Olafur Eliasson

Outside the Museum: Inside the Getty’s Initiative to Save Modern Architecture

Projects at the Salk Institute and Eames House are part of a larger effort to preserve our midcentury heritage.

The Salk Institute might be enduring in its design. But even icons age. Today, the landmark needs significant work on its concrete and glass façade, as well a plan for maintaining the limestone courtyard. Kahn couldn’t have predicted that fungus spores would drift on marine air from nearby eucalyptus trees and take root on the building, discoloring and eroding the teak window screens.

Which is why the Salk teamed up with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) to develop a long-term preservation strategy for the site. Based on a condition survey, historical research at the Kahn archives in Philadelphia, DNA testing, and surface treatment analysis on the building’s façade, CGI came up with a conservation methodology. The Salk Institute Conservation Project, as it’s called, is a model field study within the Getty’s Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative (CMAI).

Salk Institute

CMAI’s goal is both ambitious and far-reaching: to ensure the survival of our modernist heritage, both here and abroad. In addition to model field projects, the initiative hosts professional training programs for conservators and architects, conducts scientific research on materials-based conservation, stages public lectures and workshops, and will eventually publish a series of books and periodicals.

The restored tallowwood wall paneling in the Eames House living room

A Connecticut Exhibit Highlights the Murals of Hans Hofmann

There are several ways to appreciate the work of  Hans Hofmann, an exuberant Abstract Expressionist who influenced generations of artists…..

Along the ground-floor facade of the former High School of Printing, is a boldly scintillating 64-by-11 1/2-foot mosaic mural designed by Mr. Hofmann and executed brilliantly in 1958 by L. Vincent Foscato of Long Island City, Queens. New York’s treasury of public and semipublic artwork is so rich that it sometimes takes an out-of-town institution to remind us…..the Bruce Museum (Greenwich, Conn.)…has opened an exhibition called “Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann,” curated by Professor Kenneth E. Silver of New York University.

Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann

The Museum will be awash in the vibrant hues of Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann in this first-ever exhibition to focus on the artist’s varied and under-appreciated public mural projects. The centerpiece of Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann will be nine oil studies by Hofmann, each seven feet tall, for the redesign of the Peruvian city of Chimbote. This was Hofmann’s extraordinary collaboration, in 1950, with Catalan architect José Luis Sert – the man who designed the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris World’s Fair in 1937, for which Picasso’s great mural Guernica was conceived. Although never realized, this visionary project was to include a huge mosaic wall – a freestanding bell tower in the town center – designed by Hofmann, which would incorporate not only his own highly evolved notions of Abstract Expressionist visual dynamics, but also forms symbolic of traditional Peruvian culture, religion and history.

Adoption Made Visible

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies

Exhibition: April 16 to December 31, 2015 – Presidio Officer’s Club (San Francisco)

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies explores the diverse experiences and lasting impacts of a dramatic airlift that removed more than 2,000 Vietnamese children from their war-torn country to be adopted by American families as Saigon fell in April 1975.

The extraordinary story continued at the Presidio, where more than 1,500 of these children were transferred before being placed with adoptive families. As more than 5,400 volunteers in the San Francisco Bay Area cared for the children, Operation Babylift itself was being debated across the country.

OBL000 Exhibition Title Graphic

‘Operation Babylift’ exhibition opens at Presidio in S.F.

The exhibition was organized by the Presidio Trust and the Adoption Museum Project in Berkeley. It includes artifacts representing this local angle to South Vietnam’s collapse, such as news clips and documents that accompanied the infants. There also are interviews taped during the past year with participants.

People are silhouetted against a photo of Vietnamese adoptees in an airplane at the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officer's Club in San Francisco on Thursday, April 16, 2015. The exhibition explores the events of 1975 in which more than 1,500 Vietnamese children traveled through the Presidio to adoptive families in the U.S. during the waning days of the Vietnam war. Adoptees, and people who helped relocate them, came out for the event. Photo: Terray Sylvester, The Chronicle

Cath Turner (40) of Sydney, Australia, looks at a display during the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officer's Club in San Francisco on Thursday, April 16, 2015. In 1975, during the waning days of the Vietnam war, Turner was among 1,500 Vietnamese children transported through the Presidio en route to adoptive families in the U.S. as part of Operation Babylift. Photo: Terray Sylvester, The Chronicle

A man takes a photo at the opening of an exhibition on Operation Babylift at the Presidio Officers Club in San Francisco. Photo: Terray Sylvester / The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES

Adoption Museum Project

The Adoption Museum Project envisions a museum where all people can explore the story of adoption. It is a place for those who are personally connected to adoption and those who are not.

The museum will look at three dimensions of adoption: the lived experience, policy and practice, and the many themes that connect adoption to our larger society such as identity, race, and civil rights. These ideas will be considered through many forms of expression including physical exhibitions, oral histories, objects, performance and art. History and current events will give context. Educational programs will deepen learning for specific communities. A physical museum space will create the container. A website will extend the work.


Market Street Hosts Prototyping Festival

The three-day event brings 50 community-driven designs to life in various locations along San Francisco’s Market Street.

Last fall, an open call from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the San Francisco Planning Department, and the Knight Foundation yielded more than 200 project proposals, of which 50 were selected for their potential to make Market Street more engaging, and built for the three-day public showcase.

Fogplane, by HOK SF.

Fogplane drawings.

A City and an Art Center Design the Future: Reflections on the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Nina Simon: Museum 2.0:

“The arts are future-making.”

I wrote this down when Deborah Cullinan said it at a meeting of arts leaders about a year ago. We were discussing the potential for cultural organizations to have significant impact across communities: on planning, health, education, and quality of life. Deborah’s vision for the arts leading the way to stronger future inspired me. But I couldn’t fully imagine how a museum or an arts center could embody it.
Last week, I got to see Deborah’s vision in action. The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (which she directs) teamed up with the San Francisco Planning Department and the Knight Foundation to host the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Over three days, 52 artist teams erected experimental projects along San Francisco’s biggest thoroughfare. They turned Market Street into a playground, a performance hall, and a meeting place. The result was a true experiment in designing the future–right here, right now–with artists and planners and civic leaders at the helm together.