Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Massive outdoor sculpture, larger than life wall paintings and psychedelic video installations are featured at Bangkok’s Art and Culture Centre this month by some insane artists. If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by. Plus admission is free! Located on the corner of Pathumwan Intersection, facing the MBK and Siam Discovery Centres.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

contemporary-jewish-museum-san-franciscoI had the pleasure of visiting the Contemporary Jewish Museum a few weeks ago on my trip to SF. If you don’t know which one this is, it’s the big blue one that looks like it balancing on it’s side.

The architecture itself was a piece of art and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. The CJM is the first to host the Story Corps Story Booth. I was nearly in tears as we listened to these stories from people young and old… some spoke of struggles and some spoke of love. There is something endearing about story telling. The voices were loud, almost larger than life and everyone gathered around the hear and share with this voice as if the person was standing right in the room with us.

storycorps_lgThe Story Corp is an amazing project. Since 2003, over 35,000 everyday people have shared life stories with family and friends in their Story Booths. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the broadcasts on public radio and the web. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. What a great idea! And audio history book, told through people’s interactions and experiences of the historical events instead of the events themselves. Love it.

freudOf course we enjoyed the ever-popular Andy Warhol exhibition entitled :”Warhol’s Jews: Ten Portraits Revisited.” It was an interesting piece that included portraits of Sigmund Freud, The Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein and more. It was interesting to see which people he chose for this work and his examination on why people came to see it. This exhibition in particular has created quite a controversy over the years, but we wouldn’t expect any less from Warhol.

Contemporary Jewish Museum, San FranciscoIn the special events of “Yud” Gallery, we were completely engulfed in the sounds created by John Zorn. Titled the โ€œAleph-Bet Sounds Project,โ€ the music and voice danced off of the slanted walls and the people in the room seemed to reflect the space. They would wander and then stop with their heads tilted to one side as if to hear more clearly or as if they remembered these sounds.ย  I love to watch the people in the space, sharing in the experience. I always wonder about where people go inside themselves when they experience a piece of art such as this. I loved this space and I wanted to fill the floor with dance.

The current exhibitions are The Story Booth Project, Dateline 09, Jews on Vinyl, and a Bay Jewish Portrait. This new museum is now on my must-see list whenever I’m in the bay area. See the CJM Schedule.

-Mel

Frida Kahlo and the California Academy of Sciences

Frida Kahlo has become a household name and in celebration of her 100th birthday, there was a special exhibit at the MOMA in SF featuring her most celebrated paintings. Frida Kahlo’s (1907-1954) trademark uni-brow and marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera has earned her plenty of publicity, but it’s her captivating paintings that really sets her apart from other Mexican painters of the 20th century. Her physical suffering from polio, a life-threatening bus accident, and roller-coaster marriage to Diego Rivera have been reproduced in her paintings using strong symbols and graphic imagery. Frida Kahlo’s popularity exploded in the 1980’s and she has become almost a cult icon of personal strength and perseverance. I have to say that the “Fridamania” is a little over the top with her work reproduced on bracelets, t-shirts, bags, pens and disposable tattoos, which really massacres her art and turns it into a symbol or brand. I only hope that people will take the time to look at her not for what she represents, but as a talented artist as well. She paints the unseen, the internal emotions of an event or person and she is one of my favorite artists of all time.

When I was waiting in line to see the exhibit I felt like a 10 year-old kid going to Disneyland! Although it was incredibly crowded, it was such an honor to stand in front of her paintings which have such a presence and power. No reproduction can display the care and talent I saw in her work.

Frida Kahlo has influenced artists from around and has influenced my personal paintings and perspective as well. Seeing her art in person was one of the most gratifying experiences. I can’t wait to go down to Mexico and see her house, La Casa Azul. ๐Ÿ™‚

To learn more about Frida visit www.fridakahlo.com. Also check out the film “Frida” (2002) directed by the amazing Julie Taymor who tells the story in an artistic and visually stimulating way. This film won 2 Oscars, 12 other awards and according to Salma Hayek (who played Frida), was well received by Frida’s family. It’s a must-see.

While in San Francisco we also made it to the opening of the California Academy of Sciences. This new facility in Golden Gate Park includes a planetarium, 4-story rainforest exhibit, aqurium, natural history museum and more! This building took 10 years and $500 million and with it’s 2.5 acre “green roof,” and abundance of recyclable materials, it’s quickly becoming known as the greenest museum in the world. Tens of thousands of people flocked to get free entrance on opening day, but as the line stretched around 1/2 mile at noon, we decided NOT to go inside. They had booths promoting sustainable energy and electric cars and we were entertained by live jazz music and Chinese acrobats. It was a beautiful day in the sun. I look forward to visiting the museum again when I don’t have to wait in line for 4 hours. ๐Ÿ™‚