The Friday Nights at the de Young Museum events attract a huge number of avid art lovers.
Looking for some late-night culture? Museums have recently been hosting a variety of programs during evening hours (including Berkeley's own BAM/PFA with its L@TE line-up). These events bring new energy, local culture, and a more casual feel to the museum environment -- and, best of all, are usually free to students. This weekend, I attended the "Where To? The Call of the Times" Cultural Encounters showcase, hosted by Friday Nights at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. This pop-up installation featured an incredible selection of artistic talent from Bay Area youth.
The Lontano Quartet plays on the main stage in the de Young Museum's Wilsey Court.
San Francisco State University's UniverSoul Ensemble performs a piece inspired by the solar system.
Upon entering the de Young, it was clear that the typical hushed museum atmosphere did not apply. The space was bursting with people--families, friends, individuals with drinks in hand--and booming with live music. The performers ranged from a professional DJ, to a classical string quartet, to an experimental world music ensemble, and even to a dance team backed by percussionists. The museum environment was transformed from silent institution to inviting soiree.
Visual art was explored both tangibly and conceptually; creative works by student artists were displayed in a special exhibit, while graduate students from UC Berkeley gave "pop-up art history" talks on the hour. Should visitors have felt the urge to create, they could have joined Artist-in-Residence Carmen Lomas Garza in a community art project. Would they rather have observed, however, student films and spoken word artists performed around the clock in the museum auditorium.
These models from City Model Management and Ford Models wore beautifully crafted garments.
If you buy one of these tote bags from the de Young gift shop, you can say you own a Balenciaga bag... right? All photography by the author.
There was something for everyone--including the fashion-minded. Students displayed their sartorial art on models who mingled in the crowd. Those who really needed a fashion fix could pay to visit the ongoing Balenciaga and Spain exhibit, curated by Hamish Bowles and running until July 4th. While I didn't get around to the latter, I did enjoy seeing the student-created art in all its different forms. The museum's evening event was truly a fun, free feast for the senses, and something I'll definitely seek out in the future.