Art Lately

Asian Art Museum - Liu Jianhua,   Collected Letters

Asian Art Museum - Liu Jianhua, Collected Letters

In the past month and some change, I’ve been to three art museums: the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). At the first, I saw the “Painting is My Everything: Art from India's Mithila Region” exhibition. The artwork is bright, intricate, and precise! Though traditionally displayed in homes on murals, the art later expanded to the medium of paper. This transition enabled the economic empowerment of female Mithila artists.

At the de Young, I attended the “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” exhibit, where a wide range of modest, fashionable clothing was on display. My favorite part was seeing was Langston Hues’s street style photography of women all around the world in modest fashion.

Something unexpected caught my eye at the de Young. Near one of the exits, I spotted kaleidoscopic paint colors juxtaposed to wooden frames on the backs of canvases. It reminded me so much of a piece I had seen in Paris at Musée de l'Orangerie back in October. It turns out that the artist behind both works was one and the same: Richard Jackson, a Californian artist! In the above pictures, the first two comprise Untitled (San Francisco Wall Painting), and the last one is Paintings.

I later went to SFMOMA for “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” an exhibition bookended by the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The modern artwork is often complex and abstract; having a deep understanding of China over the past three decades would have enriched the experience. Many, if not all, of the works would be prohibited from being shown in China today. Prior to SFMOMA, “Theater of the World” was displayed at The Guggenheim in New York City, as well as at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.

I’m a member of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which gives me free general and special exhibits admission to the de Young and the Legion of Honor. The membership also allows free admission to another San Francisco museum during the annual Member for a Day event each spring.

For those not interested in paying for a museum membership, the de Young and the Legion of Honor are free on the first Tuesday of each month. Meanwhile, the de Young’s observation tower is free every day and has a great view of the city! SFMOMA has occasional free family days for a minimum of three people, and the Asian Art Museum is free every Sunday courtesy of Target. In addition, San Francisco residents with a library card can attend these and other museums for free through the SF Public Library’s Discover & Go program. None of the free admissions includes entry into special exhibits, and SFPL complimentary admission may be restricted to once per year depending on the museum.

Sofar Sounds Concert

As an avid concertgoer, I often find myself at The Fillmore or the Fox Theater. Outside of California, I've attended shows at Red Rocks outside of Denver, as well as at the Ryman in Nashville.

Two Saturdays ago I checked out my first Sofar Sounds concert. Sofar Sounds is a London-based group that puts on intimate concerts in unconventional venues. The location is released the day before each show, and attendees find out who's playing when they arrive at the venue. There's a lottery system to get invited, and I opted to go solo this time around instead of purchasing several tickets for friends.

The living room venue

The living room venue

I arrived at a SoMa apartment not quite knowing what to expect. The welcoming volunteers who checked me in kindly thought that this wasn't my first Sofar Sounds rodeo. Upon entering a living room that had previously served as a garage, I immediately knew that it was going to be a night of great music. It felt more like a chill gathering of friends and less like a collection of strangers, as people were sitting comfortably on the floor and standing casually in the kitchen.

The three featured musicians of the night were Eva B. Ross, Saint Tizdale, and Damon Ong, who all played acoustic guitar sets. Each was extremely musically talented, had a distinct style, and exhibited great stage presence. On that note, there was no elevated stage. Audience members were within 20 to 30 feet of each performer, and there was no need for a sound system. I literally almost bumped into one of the artists in between sets! During the brief set breaks, the concertgoers I stood next to were excited to discuss their enjoyment of music. This was my first time experiencing a concert in such an intimate venue, and it was an amazing way to discover new music. If you live in a city where Sofar Sounds is active, I would urge you to attend a show. I know that I will be venturing to more in the future.

Hello, 2018

The transition to a new year tends to usher in a heightened sense of personal reflection. I've had blogs on Xanga, LiveJournal, and Tumblr -- and it's always fun to look back at my historic thoughts. With that said, Connie's California is an exercise in documenting what I enjoy about living in California, as well as about delving into personal finance. As a former South Carolinian, I also occasionally venture back to the East Coast.

Several months ago, I realized how much I like living in San Francisco. I immediately felt defensive upon reading a blog post that had glossed over The Haight. There are countless spots among SF's many neighborhoods that are waiting to be discovered.

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero

The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero

On the personal finance front, I started saving for retirement when I was 19. At that age, I had the mindset that it's never too early to start saving, which coincided with an internship that allowed me to open a 401(k). The idea of financially empowering myself to achieve various goals has continued to strike my fancy.

My experience in writing for a public forum is limited to a brief stint at my alma mater's newspaper. Over the years, however, I have enjoyed reading the blogs of Carly, MattZina, and David.

Here's to writing in 2018!