Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A visit to the de Young Museum

The fog's rolling in...
Watching the fog and clouds overtake the museum at the end of the day. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I've been to the de Young museum many times, but it always seems to be a quick visit - just to spend an hour or two. I've never really been able to spend the time I'd like to seriously photograph it. And this trip was not that time, either.

But I did at least have a camera with me this time, so was able to get a few quick shots in (hand held, no tripod), while following my wife around the museum.

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum
Photo ©Darren Bradley

We first visited this museum shortly after it opened. The California Academy of Sciences across the plaza wasn't built yet. My daughter is quite a bit taller these days, too.

Ava de Young Tower 3
Photo ©Darren Bradley

At the risk of having my official Modern Architecture Fan Club card revoked (or ever working for Herzog + de Meuron - I'd love to shoot for you, guys, really! - call me!), I have to confess that I've always had mixed feelings about this place. It's not so much delicately placed in the surrounding environment as really dropped on top of it. There's a violence to it, and a sense of foreboding about it as you approach.

Despite the intent that the copper cladding would eventually patina (it hasn't yet...), and that the green color would give it a softer appearance that would represent the trees around it, it still comes across as an imposition so far. At least to me.

But I do think that the space works well. The exhibition spaces are well designed and flow well. And the collection, itself, is beautiful. I especially love the Pacific Islands section, with the masks, tikis, etc.

Photo ©Darren Bradley

And the design is thought provoking and innovative. Plus, that tower is really, really cool.
All along the watchtower
Photo ©Darren Bradley

Also, I come back here almost every time I'm back in town. It's like a pilgrimage. So overall, I'd say it's a successful design and I do wish there was more innovative and thought-provoking architecture at this scale on the west coast. 

And hopefully, I'll even get a chance to photograph it.
A meditative moment
Photo ©Darren Bradley

No comments: