Opening Doors to the Public-The Return of the Arts

Originally published in the Marina Times San Francisco in October 2020

Since March, museums and galleries in the bay area closed their doors to the public and have instead offered virtual tours and online education experiences. Starting in late September, several venues are taking precautions to reopen their doors while keeping public safety in mind.


The de Young Museum

Pending approval from the city, the de Young has been preparing new safety measures to open its doors including increased cleaning, sanitation stations and Plexiglas shields.  Signs will facilitate physical distancing along with timed ticketing and reduced capacity during museum hours.

Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI runs through the end of October.  The subject of AI- artificial intelligence- is addressed through a series of interactive installations including Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Shadow Stalker (2019). Through soliciting visitor’s email addresses, Shadow Stalker displays what personal data can be gleaned from an internet search.  The easy availability of personal data is communicated instantly, bringing awareness to the heightened level of surveillance that has been normalized in the contemporary world.  Loss of privacy and lack of consent echo in Trevor Paglen’s installation They Took the Faces from the Accused and the Dead…(SD18) (2020).  The installation consists of more than three thousand mugshots from the archives of the American National Standards Institute.  In an act of exploitation, images were utilized to train early facial-recognition software without the consent of those pictured.

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving brings new insight to the iconic painter through a treasure trove of her personal objects.  Drawings, documents, dresses, accessories, and prosthetics give an intimate glance into her story of style in her everyday life.


The Maybaum Gallery

The Maybaum Gallery is currently open by appointment only.  You can also email the gallery to set up a Zoom or FaceTime meeting or for additional photos or renderings.

Currently on display is Everglow: New Works by Victoria Wagner. The mixed media wood sculptures and paintings combine the beauty of natural redwood with jeweled geometric color prisms painted in oil, creating a visceral meditation on climate change.  The redwood is salvaged and, with wildfires raging for a fourth year in a row, the medium takes on a new meaning. The artist explains “We used to feel like we lived in a temperate rainforest, now we’re not so sure.  The fires bring the ills of climate change right to our door, but they also highlight the human spirit in the face of tragedy and the way our community has remade itself in the aftermath of the Tubbs fire.  That’s the everglow, when life finds a way, both human life and natural life, to move forward.”  Sourcing damaged redwood trees from a local arborist in West Sonoma County where she lives amidst a redwood forest, the artist carves the wood into faceted gemstone shapes, often determined by the damage to the tree itself.  The charred, injured surfaces form shapes enhanced by Wagner’s signature vibrant color field oil painting, carrying a message of beauty and resilience.


The Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture Announces FORT MASON FLIX

Drive-in theaters are experiencing a renaissance across the country, and now San Francisco’s first waterfront drive-in movie theater is coming to the Fort Mason Center.  Located at an iconic location on the San Francisco Bay, FORT MASON FLIX will present a variety of films from family favorites to cult classics to blockbusters and arthouse cinema.  Running six days a week, FORT MASON FLIX will feature an oversized 40’ x 20’ high definition LED screen.  At 4500 nits, this screen is up to 90 times brighter than a standard movie theater projector.  This dynamic will allow the theater-goers to enjoy their favorite movie in daylight as well as after sunset.

In an effort to operate responsibly, FORT MASON FLIX will offer online ticket sales, contactless check-in and concessions, a limited capacity, safe physical distance between vehicles, and regular cleaning of restrooms.  Visitors will be required to wear masks at concessions, and any other time they are not in their vehicles.  Also, in an effort to support non-profits whose in-person programming has been cancelled, special screenings will be held in partnership with local film festivals and other non-profit organizations.  These screenings will allow Bay Area non-profits to use the drive-in as a pop-up fundraiser and convene their communities for a special night of programming.

Sharon Anderson is an artist and writer in southern California. She can be reached at

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