It is Veteran’s Day, which means the bank is closed but that is about it. I go to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or SF MOMA as it is normally nomenclatured. It is great to be down in the buzz and hum of downtown after my idylls in parks and zoos over the last couple of days. It is another glorious day, slightly crisp but brilliant blue sky and zinginess in the air.
The main exhibition at MOMA at the moment is the first retrospective of the photos of Cartier Bresson. I lock Big Red to a parking meter right outside the entrance and here we go. There is nothing much in the first floor, so hey ho to the second and here there is an excellent exhibition celebrating the 75 th anniversary of the museum. By definition, it being a retrospective, there is little really contemporary art in the choice of work.
I want contemporary art. I had a, “Saul, Saul, wherefore dost thou kick against the pricks?” moment in the National Gallery in London a couple of years ago. I was looking at a Caravaggio, an artist that I have revered, when a voice spake,” Neil, Neil, this has nothing to do with you.” I want art made about my time. This is not to diss Gainsborough or Frans Hals or Giovanni Bellini, it is just that virgins, cherubs, burghers and landed gentry do not populate my world. I want my art to represent the colossal changes society has been through during my lifetime. By the way there are a lot of photos – black and white- in the anniversary exhibit.
Next floor it is Cartier Bresson – hundreds of black and white photos of life in the 30s and 40s. It’s OK.
Next floor, “Exposed -Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera since 1870.” Incidentally the comma before the ‘and’ comes from the program not me. Guess what? – hundreds of black and white photos.
Next floor, a cafe. Nice views of the City.
I came on the wrong day. On November 20, three new exhibitions open, “How Wine Became Modern – Design and Wine 1976 to Now”, “Bill Fontana: Sonic Shadows”, “The More Things Change.”
So I got to see very little really contemporary art but a lot of black and white photos, many of which were, er, out of focus.
I will go back post 20 November.