the de Yeuughh Museum

Greetings from lovely Oakland, California! We're here in the Bay Area for a few days, visiting old friends and enjoying the lovely Northern California spring weather.

Today, we met up with an old high school friend of Mle's to visit the newly-reopened de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. It's been closed for renovation forever and ever - in the nearly five years I've been traveling to San Francisco with some regularity, it's always been closed. I'm a big fan of art museums, and I was looking forward to seeing this one.

The building itself is quite beautiful, a truly great piece of architecture.

And that concludes the positive portion of my remarks about our museum outing, sad to say.

Where to begin? The building is striking from the exterior; the interior is somewhat less inspiring. The galleries are difficult to navigate and have no sense of flow or connection. Many of the galleries are poorly lit, too. Their crowd control is nonexistant (more on this later). The collection itself is uninspiring at best - I didn't see a single piece that made me say, "Ooo..." or made me want to stop and inspect it more closely. The staff were unhelpful at best, and some were actively rude.

The museum enforces policies which make no sense - we were told that we would have to remove our backpacks and carry them at our sides. After witnessing several women walking around with purses slung over a shoulder that were as big as (or larger than) our packs, we put a strap over one shoulder and carried them like that for a while. Eventually, a guard approached us and said that we had to carry our backpacks by the handles at our sides in order to prevent them from "bumping into the exhibits." No one was able even to begin to explain how our backpacks were any different from the dozens of purses we saw being carried in exactly the same manner...

And boy were there a lot of great big clunky purses. Nobody told us, but apparently Thursdays are Decrepit Old Lady Days at the de Young. The place was simply crawling with bluehairs. I've been to a lot of art museums, and I've never seen one nearly so crowded as the de Young. There was just no way to get in the right "art museum" kind of mood with such horrendous crowds packed into the place.

The giant crowds were apparently there to see something called "Bouquets to Art," which has to be the absolute lamest promotional event I've ever seen at an art museum. They've commissioned local florists to create flower arrangements "inspired by" the museum's artwork., interesting...pieces of the florists' craft are then displayed alongside the art, to indecisive effect at best.

I donno...I guess if you're trying to draw in hordes of old ladies, you could do worse than put on a flower show. But, in my somewhat amateur opinion, if you're trying to re-establish yourself as a top-flight art museum after years of being closed for renovation...maybe the flowers aren't such a great idea. But they didn't ask me, I guess. Bastards.