Thursday, October 13, 2005

Teaching Us To See The World -- The De Young Museum Reopens

"[San Francisco's new de Young Museum architects] Mr. Herzog and Mr. de Meuron are known for their unorthodox use of materials. Here, the entire building is clad in embossed copper panels that will weather with age. In the right light, the copper looks as luxurious as a snakeskin handbag. At other times, it has a tougher, more mysterious industrial texture.

To assert the building's urban credentials, the architects anchor it with a twisting tower. Rising above the treetops, it offers a dazzling view of the city. The twist aligns the tower's upper floors with the San Francisco street grid, visually locking the design into the distant skyline. That nod suggests an uncompromised sense of public mission. Art plays a vital role in daily life, but contemplation is not an isolated aesthetic experience, the building proclaims: it teaches us to see the world.

What is more, it breaks down the image of the museum as a temple in a garden."

Nicolai Ouroussoff "Going for Cozy Glamour in San Francisco" October 13, 2005.

View from the new de Young Museum Tower.

Photo credit: Jim Wilson and New York Times.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden [Berlin]

"The house, which will come under the same financial roof as the Deutsche Oper and the Komische Oper in 2006 in an effort to cut costs, is offering its usual wealth of performances from its repertory. Several new productions are featured, including "Seven Attempted Escapes From Silence," with a libretto by Jonathan Safran Foer [author of "Everything Is Illuminated"]and seven sections by seven composers. It [premiered] on Sept. 14. Daniel Barenboim, director of the house, will lead "Boris Godunov" and "Tristan und Isolde," with sets designed by the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron."

With thanks to Mark Swed for the Jonathan Safran Foer new operas information.


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