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Traveling To San Francisco For Art On A Budget - Forbes

Author: Forbes

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chaddscott/2023/10/29/traveling-to-san-francisco-for-art-on-a-budget/

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Patrick Martinez 'Ghost Land' installation view, 2023.Courtesy of artist, Charlie James Gallery, ...[+] and ICA SF.Glen Cheriton The pains of San Francisco’s notoriously high cost of living needn’t be shared by visitors.Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge is free.So is visiting Ghirardelli Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury, and the Presidio. Cable car ride: $8.Art lovers, however, may feel like they’re buying, not browsing when visiting the city’s museums.A general admission adult ticket to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art costs a whopping $30.Fear not, non-Rockefellers.San Francisco, again named America’s No.1 city for the arts in 2023, should be experienced by everyone, and with a little planning, savvy travelers can avoid entry fees and see the Bay on a budget.Always free and proud of it, the compact Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco presents an exhibition program with gravitas defying its gratis status.When the ICA opened in fall of 2022, it did so with a show for Jeffery Gibson (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee), the same Jeffery Gibson selected this summer to represent the U.S. Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale.On view through January 7, 2024, “Ghost Land” by Patrick Martinez (b.1980; Los Angeles) would stand out at any museum in the country, no matter the tab.From Tucson, AZ to New York, where his neon suite hangs above the Whitney Museum of American Art’s admissions desk, Martinez has become one of the most in-demand artists in America.That same neon suite can be seen along with a handful of other monumental wall-mounted mixed media artworks and a commissioned installation at the ICA in the most ambitious presentation of his work to date.Martinez uses visuals of his East L.A.Chicano-Filipino community to share stories of that community–hardships and triumphs. He brings the inner city to the art museum in a tactile, three-dimensional fashion incorporating window bars, LED signs, vinyl advertising banners, plexiglass, stucco, spray paint, house paint, family photos, text, massage spa window decals, corporate logos, Indigenous imagery from Central America–the stew of urban built environments recrafted as fine art.His pieces feel like elaborate backdrops for theater productions.Not exactly found objects, more like found landscapes, transported vignettes, real time urban archaeology.Martinez’ autobiographical commissioned installation, Ghost Land, spills out across the ICA’s floor like an unearthed Mayan temple.Painted cinder blocks, tile, and neon recall a mural in L.A.titled Filling Up on Ancient Energies.It was created in 1980 by the Chicano art collective East Los Streetscapers and subsequently knocked down by Shell Oil without notice. The artists filed a lawsuit against Shell for the destruction and won a settlement which helped lead to the California Art Preservation Act.Patrick Martinez, Serpents (Welcome to the Jungle), 2022, Stucco, neon, mean streak, ceramic, ...[+] acrylic paint, spray paint, latex house paint, ceramic tile and tile adhesive on panel 72 x 144 x 5 inches.(c) Patrick Martinez.Courtesy the artist and White Cube.JW Pictures.Before leaving the Dogpatch district, walk down Minnesota Street (which the ICA is located on) to the Minnesota Street Project, a series of warehouses repurposed as art galleries, studios and spaces for non-profits. On the way, you’ll pass Martinez’ Dogpatch Community Court mural project.Be sure to take an overhead view.At Minnesota Street Project, all the galleries are free and open to the public.Dogpatch makes a great place for lunch or dinner as well with a wide variety of bars and restaurants that, while not necessarily cheap, aren’t bank-breakers either.Also always free and a mile from ICA San Francisco in the other direction, the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts offers a cutting edge exhibition and events schedule as well.“Radical Hospitality”Diego Rivera, The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on this ...[+] Continent (Pan American Unity), 1940.© Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico D.F./ Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy City College of San Francisco.The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has committed itself to what it terms “radical hospitality,” an all-encompassing focus on increasing the museum’s community welcome.That welcome seems out of synch with a $30 admission fee.Bear in mind, entry is free to Bay Area residents from 1 PM to 8 PM on the first Thursday of each month and anyone under 18 can always walk right in without paying.But what about out of towners and grown folks?SFMOMA has devised an interesting compromise to its contradiction of “radical hospitality” at a $30 price tag.The museum displays the crown jewels from its permanent collection along with a selection of jaw-dropping, large scale pieces and select rotating shows free of charge on its first and second floors, while other displays of the permanent collection and traveling exhibitions occupy the upper floors and require admission.Deal.The permanent collection includes Henri Matisse’s sublime Femme au chapeau (Woman with a Hat) (1905), one of the most important paintings in Modern art history.The painting which launched Fauvism. It also includes Diego Rivera’s The Flower Carrier (1935) and Frida Kahlo’s Frieda and Deigo Rivera (1931) right next to it.And Pollock and Rothko and Warhol.Speaking of Rivera, his monumental The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on This Continent mural, better known as Pan American Unity, remains on view–for free–through January of 2024.It is unquestionably one of the greatest artistic achievements of the 20th century, an example of artistic brilliance and audacity which must be seen to be believed.An iconic matched set of murals from Julie Mehretu (b.1979; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) soar over the main entrance as does a new installation by Wu Tsang (b.1982; Worcester, MA), Of Whales (2022).‘Of Whales’Wu Tsang, 'Of Whales' (2022) installation view. SFMoMA Collection.SFMoMA Purchase by exchange ...[+] through a gift of Michael D Abrams.Copyright Wu Tsang.Katherine Du TielFirst presented at the Venice Biennale in 2022, Of Whales derives from Tsang’s multidisciplinary research around Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.” Installed overhead and staged on a massive, crystal-clear 16-meter LED screen, Of Whales plays for hours without repeating to the accompaniment of an enchanting, matched musical score, simulating the hypnotic mysteries of ocean depths as seen through the eyes of a sperm whale.The project was a collaboration between the artist and VIVE Arts, a subsidiary of consumer electronics company HTC.Since 2016, VIVE Arts has been pioneering the use of immersive technologies in the art and culture sector, inspiring artists, creators and institutions to use virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain in creating ground-breaking digital artworks and experiences.“We're really interested in getting these tools into the hands of artists and institutions and demonstrating to them their value for reaching new audiences, for engaging with younger generations, and really being able to amplify different stories,” Leigh Tanner, Head of Global Partnerships at VIVE Arts, told Forbes.com.VIVE Arts aspires to develop digital innovation projects which preserve the world’s heritage and culture while offering new ways to engage and extend access to wider audiences, as it has done with Of Whales, and separate, immersive digital presentations of Modigliani at Tate Modern in London, and Mona Lisa at the Louvre, Monet at L’Orangerie and Van Gogh at Musée d’Orsay in Paris.“When we first started, part of what we were trying to do was demonstrate the potential of these technologies, of immersive technologies for use in the arts, that a VR work could be an artwork in and of itself, that it could be something that was truly valuable to audiences and to institutions,” Tanner added. “I think a lot of institutions understand that now (and) it's exciting to see many more museums are now much more open to it.”Art Around San FranciscoNext door to SFMOMA is the Museum of the African Diaspora, a contemporary art museum hosting a leading exhibition program as well as literature, film and speaker events.Admission is free every second Saturday.Across the street from SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is free on Wednesdays and second Sundays.Through May 5, 2024, “Bay Area Now 9” takes over the entire building.The triennial features big, bold, bright, multi-media work from Bay Area artists.Another celebration of local artists can be found in Golden Gate Park at the de Young Museum where a gobsmacking presentation of more than 800 artworks features in the “de Young Open.” This one, unfortunately, is ticketed only, but the de Young, along with its sister institution, Legion of Honor, open their doors to the public free of charge from 4:30 PM until closing at 5:15 PM to view the permanent collection.That’s enough time to get through either the de Young’s exceptional modern and contemporary or Art of Africa galleries.No visit to Golden Gate Park is complete without strolling through the adjacent Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, famed for its music history and the Summer of Love.No charge. The kaleidoscopic bonanza of boutiques, vintage clothing stores, local restaurants and bars is a delight, unique.Be sure to stop in at independently owned Amoeba Music where flipping through the thousands of record albums, cds and posters is always free.There can’t be a dozen other record stores in America like this in terms of scale, selection and street cred.A slice at Escape from New York Pizza just down the street for $6 will get most visitors through lunch.San Francisco Street ArtSantana Family mural in San Francisco's Mission District.Chadd ScottEven more than most great cities, San Francisco is best experienced at street level.The parks.The neighborhoods.In addition to the Haight, the Mission District beckons, sharing a slice of life–sometimes gritty–rarely seen outside of large cities with large Latinx communities.Within the Mission District, be sure to find the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District around Valencia and 24th streets where vibrant graffiti art covers seemingly every square inch.On the District’s northern end at 245 South Van Ness Avenue is a third story walk-up gallery space Lost Art Salon. It has been buying and selling vintage, modern and contemporary artwork without pretense for nearly 20 years.Owners Rob Delamater and Gaétan Caron’s unusual business model has them buying out artist estates–hundreds, sometimes thousands of pieces at a time–instead of consigning a handful.The resulting wonderland allows visitors to flip through paintings on racks and lined up on the floor like albums at Amoeba Records.Looking is free and purchasing is well below what you might expect.Four blocks from the large Santana Family mural in the heart of the Mission District beside the 24th Street Mission BART station, Arizmendi Mission bakery is worker-owned, fresh, fast and delicious with a wide selection of pastries and pizza for lunch and dinner.San Francisco is well known as a culinary destination for Asian and Italian food, fine dining, and seafood; diners on a budget will celebrate its great bakery, diner and all-day breakfast joints, such as Arizmendi.And Jane the Bakery.And Pinecrest Diner, open 24 hours since 1969.How many all-night short-order diners offering seating on a spinning stool at a countertop watching the hashbrowns sizzle are still open in America? That also serve wine, beer, cocktails and champagne?San Francisco surely has the majority.If there’s a line out the door at Pinecrest, and there may be, Café Mason across the street is a suitable substitute in a hurry.It’s location around the corner from Pinecrest Diner isn’t the only reason to consider Hotel Zepplin when booking your stay in San Francisco, but it’s a perk.Midweek rooms at the property channeling the area’s esteemed rock roots from Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead to Metallica and Journey start under $150 per night when booking through the hotel’s website.Hotel Zepplin is one block from Union Square and less than a mile from SFMOMA and San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, where admission is free on first Sunday’s and half-off after 5 PM.

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