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December 25, 2006

Anselm Kiefer show today at the museum. In addition, “Mexico as a Muse,” with Modotti and Weston, a pleasant surprise, not to mention the rest of the permanent collection.
Kiefer is dark, German style, with much residue of The Nazi Party plastered as layers on the massive pieces. Mixed media and then some, with my favorite piece being covered in sunflower seeds.
A score of a day to go with the place being virtually empty, perfect for planting yourself on the birch benches and just watching these works.
Environment plays such a significant role in who we are, and with Kiefer, to me, it was a severe influence, harsh in fact. Old buildings, abandoned brick factories that powerfully reflect the grimness of post-war Germany are his haunted places of choice.
Burned books, fire; nature, the universe, relationships and twisted memories are all there in unbending detail. A must see.

As for Modotti and Weston…work I have seen before, but worth seeing over and over again. Mexico drawn out placed and captured, over time (the only way) through the lens of two who had a real relationship with this place. Tiny prints, framed wide, dark but smooth, faces, places, social artifacts long since replaced with the raunch of tourism and trade.
These were true artists, just being, living and making images. Commissions came later, and appeared to have perhaps been the beginning of the end. Weston leaving Mexico for good shortly after the last job was done, and Modotti wandering down the communist path, leading eventually to her banishment from Mexico.

SF MOMA is so overwhelming, in a good way, forcing you to realize you must return again and again to begin to understand the wealth of visual depth. By the way, the yearly membership is the way to go, $75.00 per person, or $95.00 per family.

Oh, and most importantly, the café, is good. Caesar salad, pizza, and yes, the COFFEE!

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