The de Young Museum Garden in San Francisco


The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco has a wonderfully-art-filled garden surrounding this new (2005) building clad in stone, wood, glass and perforated copper. The design of the garden is intended to complement the museum's design, erasing the boundaries between indoors and out. As a matter of fact, the northeast garden does penetrate the building -- a slice of it becomes an atrium that goes all the way to the basement.

The photo above shows the northeast garden area which has a turtle pond, children's garden, some original plantings for the de Young's old landscaping and building (palm trees and sphinx sculptures). The opposite side of the building is the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden with works by Henry Moore, James Turrell, Claus Oldenburg, and more.

The perforated copper outer shell of the building is intended to provide
the filtered light of a tree canopy. The copper is also intended to weather and
gain a patina over time. and blend even better with its environment.
The entry courtyard has a site-specific work by Andy Goldsworthy (currently working on a site-specific work for Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery). The work, Drawn Stone, starts as a crack in the pavement out by the street and goes to the museum entrance. In the court yard it includes representative cleaved blocks of stone that provide visitor seating. The whole work is a nod to California's tectonic plates.
The coolest thing we saw while there? Without a doubt it was the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition, From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk. It ends this week, but it will travel - if it comes anywhere near you - SE IT! Not being a fashion maven, or having even a slight interest in couture fashion, I (we) were mesmerized by the handmade couture collections from his entire career -- from the punk of the '70s to fashions for movies and rock stars of today.

He's probably best known for Madonna's cone bra outfit -- and idea he had experimented with in newspaper on his teddy bear when he was just nine years old. By the time he was out of high school, at 17, he was working for Pierre Cardin. And yes, the teddy bear is part of the exhibition. We'd never seen up close such great quality clothing/costumes, made with only the best fabrics and materials, by the best seamstresses, all by hand. The hours for making each outfit were provided and it's nuts! The quality of the outfits were only exceed by the concept(s) behind each. This guy is a creative genius, savant, maestro, superb technician, wizard and magician.

The garden has mostly natives, but a good number of non-natives as well.
Loved this fence.
An outdoor exhibition of small sculptures.
A beautiful installation of pole plant supports.
A close-up of the pole.
Part of the Children's Garden.
That wall again.
The palms with a mulch of slowly decomposing shale continues inside the museum, all the way to the basement.
From inside the Museum, the exterior garden looks more like a terrarium.
Claus Oldenburg, Corridor Pin, Blue, 1999.


Awesome bike rack. Bike's would only ruin it.
Part of Andy Goldsworthy's site-specific work for the Museum --
cracks (can you see them here?) and cleaved stone.
Strips of grass and straps of pavement.

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