Sacramento Sojourn Day 2...

While in Sacramento, a visit to the Crocker Art Museum is a must. I find the history of it all almost as impressive as the art collection held within. Cyndy was totally game.

In 1868, Judge Edwin B. Crocker purchased the property and existing buildings on the corner of 3rd and O Streets. He then commissioned local architect Seth Babson to renovate the home into a grander, Italianate mansion. In addition, Crocker asked Babson to design an elaborate gallery building adjacent to the mansion to display the family's growing art collection.
The Crocker was the first public art museum founded west of the Mississippi, established in 1885, and it still serves as the primary resource for the study and appreciation of fine art in the Sacramento region. Need-less-to say, it has been improved upon in the last 132 years. What a great space!
What brought me to the Crocker today was the exhibition Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank. This emotional show opened on February 19, exactly 75 years to the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, interning Japanese into camps.This exhibit presents a collection of documentary images by two renowned 20th-century photographers, who captured distinctive views of the Japanese American and Japanese Canadian incarcerations. It features 40 photographs, taken at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, by Ansel Adams in 1943 and 26 prints by Leonard Frank recording the movement of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia in 1942. Together, the images provide an opportunity to reflect on the nature of forced separation and uprooting and the effects they have on their victims.
I was very familiar with the images Ansel Adams took of Manzanar (the girls above). He wrote, “The purpose of my work was to show how these people, suffering under a great injustice, and loss of property, businesses and professions, had overcome the sense of defeat and despair by building for themselves a vital community in an arid environment.” Having toured Manzanar and having spoken to someone interned there, I felt his images sugarcoated the true hardship. His subjects are mostly smiling. Leonard Frank's seemed distinctly more 'real'. He visited temporary holding areas as well as several camps in the interior of Canada. The resulting photographs, are both stark and shocking, depicting the movement of humans within bureaucratic systems. Both Views are a reminder of a terrible time in our American history.
After getting bummed out, we moved on to the various exhibits, located in the new part of the museum and in Crocker's original mansion. It was quite incredible to stroll through the grand ballroom while admiring various works of art.
I want to share with you the discoveries that delighted me. One such 'find' was this early 18th century tea cup with a bug painted inside it. What a fun surprise when one finished one's tea.
We both really loved the whimsical installation Forbidden Fruit: playful scenes of dalliance and seduction.
Inspired by 18th C. porcelain figurines, Chris Antemann’s work employs a unity of design and concept to simultaneously examine and parody male and female relationship roles. Characters, themes and incidents build upon each other, effectively forming their own language that speaks about domestic rites, social etiquette, and taboos. Themes from the classics and the romantics are given a contemporary edge; elaborate dinner parties, picnic luncheons and ornamental gardens set the stage for her twisted tales to unfold.
I could have stared at these works for hours, slowly discovering all the details that make it truly magical and trying to uncover all the metaphors Antemann used to create her opulent atmosphere- wow!
Tip Toland's Wall Flower tugged on my heartstrings. This young girl seemed to just blend into her surroundings, being painfully aware that she shouldn't eat the doughnut but wanting to so badly. It is amazingly life-like... very human and sad.
I think my most favorite attribute of a museum is the fact that you can closely study a work of art. One can see the brush strokes made by a painter, envision the sculptor's tool marks, really see the work. It is difficult for me to explain the complexity of Stephen J. Kaltenbach's Portrait of My Father. The artist labored for seven years, in a California barn, to create this testament to life, love, and the loss confronting us all. It is light, color and intertwining arabesques. It is beauty. I really appreciated this piece.
And then we find more whimsy in the form of Barbara Spring's A la Carte. Pop art was emerging on the New York art scene when she created this sculpture in 1961. And it is made of wood. Fun right?
This is the third time I've mentioned an Art-o-mat® machine on my blog. I love these retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. There are over 100 active machines in various locations throughout the country and the Crocker happens to have a very cool one. Cyndy chose the "feeling lucky?" category and was very happy with her art. Where else can you get such a unique art experience for only $5?
After several hours inside we decided to head to the river and walk to Old Sacramento. In 1839, John Sutter arrived on the shore of the American River and established Sutter’s Fort. As the settlement grew and became permanent, it attracted other businessmen looking for opportunities. Sutter, and the people he attracted, created a commercial center in the area, but it was the Gold Rush, in 1848, that created the City of Sacramento.
After lunch along the river, we strolled to Old Sacramento State Historic Park, a cluster of noteworthy, early Gold Rush commercial structures.
This was the first time I've ever been inside the 1849 Eagle Theater. Very cool.

As we began our travels back to Tahoe, we stopped briefly at the Old Sacramento Cemetery. I have been here before, but never in Springtime when all the flowers were in bloom. I felt like I was in a garden more than a cemetery.

Adorned with beautiful statues, dramatic markers and lush gardens, Sacramento Historic City Cemetery (1849) is an outdoor museum recording California history from the Gold Rush Era through today.

I thought it rather fitting that we ended the day where it began, with E.B. Crocker. This is the final resting spot for Edwin Bryant Crocker (26 April 1818 – 24 June 1875), a California Supreme Court Justice and the founder of the Crocker Art Museum.

As as we returned to Lake Tahoe it began to rain, producing a beautiful rainbow. I actually could not have picked a more perfect ending to the past two days of friendship, discovery and a whole lot of fun. 

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Denise said...

You will frequently find Tee and Violet at the Crocker. They are members. They have great programs for kids and ways to encourage appreciation of all the art. Call her next time you are going!

Cyndy Brown said...

Loved your blog...even though I was a part of the trip there were so many places to reflect on. Denise, you packed so much in to our trip it's hard to believe. Thanks, friend. :)

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