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San Francisco Briefly

Michael Kluckner

This hardly qualified as a trip as it only lasted 3 days, but like the one to Illinois/Missouri in 2014 it was prompted by an art exhibition and a cheap airfare. The exhibition in question at the SF MOMA was of Richard Diebenkorn and Henri Matisse, two artists I greatly admire. I also roamed around a lot, checking out parts of San Francisco that I knew well when I lived there in 1974, like Chinatown, North Beach and Haight-Ashbury.

As I started doing when we were in London in 2014, I drew the people looking at the paintings. There is a peculiar, definable body language to people at galleries and art museums, sometimes still and enraptured, more often talking loudly and knowingly to friends. At the SF MOMA, they had a strict no-photos rule; it was crowded and had the buzz of a blockbuster show. The following day I went to the Legion of Honor near Golden Gate Park to see a superb exhibition of Monet "before Impressionism" – the second-last image below – and also saw the 50th anniversary "Summer of Love" exhibition at the De Young in Golden Gate Park.

The last drawing, Vesuvio's on Columbus Avenue at the "Jack Kerouac lane" next to City Lights Books and just south of Broadway, is a beat-generation relic and a place of great nostalgia for me, as I lived in a hotel on Washington Square and used to stop at Vesuvio's every evening on my long walk home from the Bay Guardian newspaper office in the Mission District.

Some snapshots follow this small set of sketches....

(See the photo of the painting below)

Vesuvio's Bar on Columbus Avenue

The Hotel Layne: in the shabby Tenderloin but still almost $200 a night

Crazy-expensive San Francisco

A luxury clothing shop appropriating an impoverished artist

Sign in a shopping mall: only in the USA?

Grant Avenue in North Beach: my old neighbourhood

Album covers from the '60s at the De Young Museum's "Summer of Love" 50th anniversary show

The De Young Museum's dramatic lobby...

"The Land," a 1932 mural by Gottano Piazzoni in the De Young Museum. "The Sea," same size, is on the opposite wall.

Monet's beloved Camille in "The Red Kerchief," on display at the Legion of Honor

Graduation photo outside the Legion of Honor

North Beach from the Transamerica Pyramid to Telegraph Hill, from the Sausalito Ferry

Shop window in Sausalito.

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Artwork & text Michael Kluckner, 2017