June 4, 2008

San Francisco Museums with John Mattos

Friday in San Francisco was my solo day, and I had plans to visit the San Francisco Museum of Asian Art, which is a truly world-class institution. Don’t miss it. During my visit I concentrated on Southeast Asian art, including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand, and Indonesia. I’m very slow, and I read many of the plaques, so I’m not a lot of fun to go with for museum visits.

A personal highlight was finding Indonesian Gamelan rod puppets in the gift shop. If you’re not familiar with this Indonesian art, it focuses on telling the traditional stories of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. I was elated to find them.


In the afternoon, John Mattos and I went to the Blackhawk Museum of Automobiles in Danville, CA. John and I are both auto fans, particularly interested in the design component. Looking at his gallery, you will note many of the pieces contain intriguing man-made objects, including aerodynamic cars. The Blackhawk museum is renowned for it’s collection of pre and post WWII automobile icons, The space is huge, and the cars are breathtaking. I got to see one of my all-time favorites, the ’63 Iso Grifo Prototype, and the three Alfa-Romeo B.A.T. cars.


The museum also featured a temporary exhibit of work by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, the artist responsible for the original Rat Fink cartoons and customizer of hot rods. Ed Roth had more lives than Fritz the Cat, and his current status is on the ascension, running lockstep with his contemporary, Von Dutch.

Danville is about 45 minutes outside of San Francisco. I recommend to all lovers of cars and design to put this on their schedule.

1 comment:

  1. I just happen to know someone who has been very slowly rebuilding and Iso Grifo for the past 20 years. I believe it's a '67 though. I'm sure he'd let it go when he's done for a mere 250,000.00 or so. lol. He rebuilds other cars and sells them as well. He's from Saskatchewan. Very talented.

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