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Indepth Arts News:

"Museum Pieces: Bay Area Artists Consider the de Young"
1999-11-20 until 2000-03-12
de Young Museum
San Francisco, CA, USA United States of America

Eighteen Bay Area artists and collaborative teams will look closely at the de Young Museum and reveal through a lively mix of paintings, sculpture, and video and sound pieces the ways in which a major art institution lives and breathes. Museum Pieces: Bay Area Artists Consider the de Young--presented concurrently with a display of architectural plans for the new de Young Museum building by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron--provides a contem-porary art perspective on the de Young's position within the local community and the museum world.

Artists including noted Bay Area conceptualists David Ireland and Tom Marioni, painter Deborah Oropallo, muralist Rigo 99 and others have produced new and unique artworks that reveal components of the museum's infrastructure, whether architectural, administrative, artistic, social, or technological. Says Dr. Steven A. Nash, Fine Arts Museums Chief Curator and Associate Director, This engaging and provocative exhibition underscores the importance we place on working closely with contemporary artists, both now and when the new de Young Museum is completed. They help us better understand our basic mission and functions.

The idea of the museum has become a touchstone for cultural shift. Over the last year, grand new facilities debuted around the world, exhibitions questioned the role and function of the museum, and a range of books and articles were devoted to its changing nature. More than many cultural institutions, the de Young Museum has the opportunity to capitalize on this current impulse to rethink the presentation of culture:within the next few years, the museum in Golden Gate Park will be rebuilt both architecturally and organizationally.

The artworks in Museum Pieces, guest curated by San Francisco-based writer and art critic Glen Helfand, will draw upon and address the cultural shift and rich history embodied in the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum itself. The site's temporality and evolving identity are manifest in its history, from its original function as a fair pavilion in the 1894 Midwinter Exposition to an evolving museum serving a variety of roles throughout the 20th century, says Helfand. The impending changes, which will result in a very different institution, also foster a sense of artistic adventurousness that can only occur in a site that is awaiting construction crews.

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