Friday, May 29, 2009


I find it interesting that to me, there is art where I least expect it. While walking to the Oakland Museum, I looked up and saw this modern building but that is not what captured my eye. Instead, it was the image of the older building reflecting in the glass of the modern structure that was the most intriguing for me.

Then, while on our return from the walk to the museum, I glanced up and across the street and saw all this great laundry hanging from a building, right there in the middle of the city. I LOVE hanging laundry and what it says about people: who lives there, their style in clothes, are they doing it to be economical and "green" or out of necessity, and myriad of other social commentaries.

The other image is what I think that I remember from my Art History class in college as being Della Robbia. The entire building is covered with these images which look to be made out of terra cotta and glazed. I would have loved to talk to someone regarding where they were made and by what clay artist.

When we were sitting eating dinner in the Brew Pub across the street from these images I noticed that so many of the buildings in that downtown area were made out of brick. Imagine all the workers that it took to lay all the bricks and mortar for ALL these buildings. And, this street was just a sampling of what the entire city has in terms of bricks buildings. I know that there are many cities across our country that have brick buildings and I am amazed at how labor-intensive they must have been at the time. At ANY time for that matter. I can't imagine that they are very earthquake friendly yet they have withstood many, being on active faults in the Bay Area. Maybe that says something about how things were built long ago. Maybe it is just luck and location.

During the Depression FDR's New Deal provided initiatives to give work to American artists. At the time the "Federal Art Project paid a generous average salary of about $20 a week (a salesclerk at Woolworth's earned only about $11), allowing painter's and sculptors to devote themselves full-time to art and to think of themselves as professionals in a way few had been able to do before 1935" (Art History--Stokstad--Second Edition).

Whatever the case, these objects have found themselves located next to, across from, and around the corner of each other, despite their disparate building materials. Whether made from steel, glass, terra cotta, cloth, brick, or wood, each has its own appeal and importance. Each makes a statement of multiculturalism "without regard to...differences in age, sex, ethnicity, race, religion, or socioeconomic class" (Stokstad).

1 comment:

  1. Great shots. I like the reflected building. It is hot here - over 80. Last year at this time it was in the 40's.


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