Lil’ Abner doesn’t live here

In Dogpatch, I mean.  The latest area of San Francisco to gentrified, upscaled and made hip, slick and cool.  Way out 3rd avenue, past the ball park, down around 22nd St. and further south.

I was there for the opening of a new museum, the Museum of Craft and Design (MCD)  Founded in 2004, they were near Union Square for a few years, then spent 3 years in pop-up sites before opening tonight at 2569 Third Street in a small but beautiful new space.

You know you’re in the tall cotton the place you’re looking for is obvious due to the lineup of valet parking attendants. So I dropped the car and wandered in.

This was an invitation only event, but our friend Kevin Nierman is somehow attached and he greased the skids and got me in.  It was pretty impressive when the young woman with the clipboard checking people off actually recognized and could spell my name.  I wonder if Kevin told them I was rich?  They’ll find that out the hard way, I fear.

The MCD is a non-collecting museum: they don’t own any of the art, they just exhibit it.  The opening show features the work of three artists.

First up, Michael Cooper, a fantastic craftsman from Northern California.  The show is a retrospective of his work for the last 45 years, and when you see it you think it must have taken him every bit of that time to make these exquisite pieces.  The complexity and workmanship are incredible.

This piece is about 4 1/2 feet tall

This piece is about 4 1/2 feet tall

This lawn chair/go cart works.  I'd love to take it to the grocery store.

This lawn chair/go cart works. I’d love to take it to the grocery store.

Close up of the incredible detail work--a hand made, wooden, drive chain

Close up of the incredible detail work–a hand made, wooden, drive chain

I could include another 20 photos of the intricate, beautiful work this man creates but you’re getting the idea, and I’d rather you went to see it in person.

Reflection of the crowd in a piece of another work.

Reflection of the crowd in a piece of another work.

Go to a museum opening, and you’ll see plenty of people dressed in their best, and a few characters.  The characters are the interesting ones:

It's good to have your own style

It’s good to have your own style

A couple clearly made for each other.

A couple clearly made for each other.

This next one is a friend of ours, Ray Kaplan.  That doesn’t make him any less of a character, though:

Always dapper Ray

Always dapper Ray

Back to the exhibits.  I was entranced by the work of the aptly named Arline Fisch, who knits, crochets and weaves copper wire to create jellyfish, mimicing the movement of these boneless wonders.

craft-6

craft-5

The tabletop size

The tabletop size

The third artist featured is Rebecca Hutchinson, who came out from her home in Massachusetts to create this site-specific installation, working with porcelain paperclay, paper and natural materials.

Trees and leaves created onsite over 4 days by the artist, interns and assistants.

Trees and leaves created onsite over 4 days by the artist, interns and assistants.

 

Rebecca Hutchinson and the ubiquitous Ray

Rebecca Hutchinson and the ubiquitous Ray

This was the opening gala–the Museum opened officially to the on Saturday.  There was quite a crowd in attendance–Ray kept pointing out this or that luminary of the art world, but I didn’t know them except for Phil Linhares, former curator of the Oakland Museum.

 

Far too many people for the space, but we all had a good time.

Far too many people for the space, but we all had a good time.

The Museum of Craft and Design is a pretty interesting stop, in an area of the City you probably don’t know well.  There are galleries and workshops and hip new restaurants opening everywhere in Dogpatch these days, you might want to grab Daisy Mae and go take a look.

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