Saturday, January 9, 2010


Cold dark day for a San Francisco walk, but I still said yes when a friend called and asked if I wanted to take one. We made our way down Market Street. Where Market edges the Tenderloin (and where whole blocks of storefronts are empty) I noticed a new feature of the long-deserted Hibernia Bank building. In a different location this beaux arts beauty would have been lovingly converted for some worthwhile purpose, but as things stand it is well and truly stranded, a victim of economic geography.

Farther downtown we stopped in at the Museum of Modern Art so that my friend could take a quick look at the 75th anniversary show, partly on account of the way I had raved about it here and here and here.

I was most moved this time around by the big rooms devoted to individual artists, particularly the 1960s minimalists, Brice Marden (above) and Frank Stella (below).

My friend was enamored of the Philip Guston signature on one of his sprawling, untidy paintings, because it looked like the writing of somebody who had just learned cursive and was determined to form each letter according to the model, as taught.

After leaving the museum we walked out to Mission Bay and looked at bits of the vast new UCSF research campus and at relics of the former waterside squalor, now all but eradicated.

Cirque du Soleil has set up its stripy tents in Mission Bay this time around and is performing OVO through the end of January.

After my friend got on the train at 4th & Townsend to pursue other obligations, I made my own way back to Church & Market. At that point the sun decided to show itself for a few moments before disappearing altogether.