Wednesday 28 December 2022
Today, thanks to the Southwest Airlines Christmas sh** show, we have an extra day in Palo Alto. Some good news, however is that after a fairly prolonged argument about my lack of flexibility (not being prepared to wait 4 days for them to get their act together) I have been promised a cash refund.
So, now that we are finally dog free, we decide to have a day of culture. We borrow a bike for me and set off for the Stanford campus to see some art.
Cantor Arts Center
First up, The Cantor Arts Center. The Center is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11-5. It is free to enter, but you must have an online reservation.
Stanford University was conceived by Leland and Jane Stanford as a memorial to their only son who died of typhoid in his teens. Leland Junior was an an avid collector, and the building which houses the Cantor Arts Center was originally The Stanford Museum, built to house these and other treasures amassed by the Stanford family. Later it evolved into the Cantor Arts Center, partly due to most of poor Leland’s collection being lost in an earthquake. The 24 galleries house a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions.
In the lobby is this impressive brass cast of a horse made from driftwood.
Stanford Family Room
The remains of the Stanford Family collection can be seen in The Mourning Cabinet.
Meier Family Galleria – The Faces of Ruth Asawa
Here you can see The Faces of Ruth Asawa. On the wall are 233 ceramic face masks which Asawa cast from her friends and family.
The Center has the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside Paris, with 199 works. In addition to the exterior Rodin sculpture garden, there is more of the sculptor’s work inside, including The Thinker.
There is plenty of traditional African art on display, but I was drawn to the work of a Kenyan artist on a rather British topic; Brexit.
Running round the first floor is Yinka Shonibare’s The American Library. It consists of 6000 books wrapped in batik fabric embossed with first and second generation immigrants who have made an impact on American culture
Temporary Exhibition – East of The Pacific
This exhibition focuses on the work of Asian and Asian American artists, highlighting key moments of intersection between Asia and the USA.
There are some beautiful pictures of life in various Chinatowns.
My favourites are some of the work by artists of Japanese heritage painted while they were incarcerated during WWII.
Early European Art
To be honest, not my thing and some of it is rather creepy. Like this painting of baby Jesus holding a cross. What’s all that about?
Rehmus Family Gallery – Indigenous American Art
The Anderson Collection
Next door is another gallery, this one focusing on modern American art; The Anderson Collection. It has the same opening hours and likewise requires an online reservation to visit.
To be honest, modern art is lost on us, so we have a quick wander round, then pootle off on our bikes towards Trader Joe’s in search of lunch and supplies for tomorrow’s California road trip.
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