Wiley & Whimsy

Exploring and traveling outside San Francisco consumes most posts on this blog. However, exploring the arts within the city is equally rewarding. Recent visits to the DeYoung Museum, SFMOMA, and the Asian Arts Museum delivered wonder and whimsy.

Kehinde Wiley’s “An Archaeology of Silence” exhibit at the DeYoung Museum proved moving and powerful. As the exhibit is described on the museum website, “...the senseless deaths of men and women around the world are transformed into a powerful elegy of resistance. The resulting paintings of figures struck down, wounded, or dead, referencing iconic paintings of mythical heroes, martyrs, and saints, offer a haunting meditation on the legacies of colonialism and systemic racism.

No words properly transition from such poignant artwork to the whimsical works of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinite Love at SFMOMA. The only thing to say is both exhibits are worth experiencing.

When blindly booking tickets to Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit, I did not know what to expect. Two Infinity Mirror Rooms. Warnings on the tickets. Two minutes per room. Hmmm.

The first room, Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love, is a disorienting swarm of dancing color and light.

Entering into the second room/box, Love Is Calling, features a darkened environment illuminated by vividly colored inflatable forms extending from floor and ceiling. As the forms change colors around you, the sense of immersion in the art grows.

Curated in a more typical gallery room manner, Yayoi loves of pumpkins as her massive, room filling sculpture expresses.

Another fun exhibit at SFMOMA is Kinship: Photography and Connection.

Renown contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami’s Monsterized exhibit at the Asian Art Museum delivered whimsy at the high level and significant wonder at the level of detail. If unfamiliar with his artwork, you may know Murakami from collaborations with fashion designer Louis Vuitton or musician Kanye West.

Of course, the Asian Art Museum provides the less contemporary works as well. However, there are similarities.

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