The De Young Museum knows how to entice patrons from art connoisseurs to roaming tourists. With their widely advertised “Free Friday Nights at the De Young,” there is almost no excuse to not experience the abundance of themed installations, performances, and art pieces the museum has to offer. It doesn’t matter what knowledge you possess of the arts, or even how much time you have, because the experience comes with no cost.
This past Friday’s presentation, “Soundwave ((6)) Water,” embodied our relationship with the most important element that grants us life: water. Through contemporary pieces, the viewers’ attention was focused on the mystery and majesty of water.
Upon entering the De Young, I was immediately immersed in an aura of eccentricity, where mixed media stations allowed for attendees, or potential budding new artists, to construct their own pieces of art and obscure figures with mixed mediums. In the lobby stood cocktail bars and endless seats filled with happy museumgoers while a mellow band played, contributing to a relaxed ambiance. Walking past this is feature artist in residence, Adele Crawford’s exhibit “Following the Thread.” Her exhibit captures both the past and present, taking obsolete objects and adding her own twist to them, such as stitching faces or phrases atop old photographs and writings.
Moving outside to the Wisley Court, a sort of ethereal feeling floats in the air over Moses Hacmon’s “Faces of Water.” Large-scale photographs that represent the energy and movement of water, display exquisitely vibrant close-ups of aqua and cerulean shapes and backgrounds. Accompanying this photoset, and further embodying Soundwave’s intent to instill a different understanding of the common element was Jay Kremier’s “When It’s Gone.” The piece was a contraption of various laboratory glasswares dripping water with their sounds amplified, creating a meditative, mesmerizing auditory experience of the movement of water. Together, the installations created an atmosphere that made attendees notice the theme in a magnified way.
In the Hamon Tower, we strayed into an even more ambiguous territory of water and modern art with a series of clashing gongs and piano pieces—something that I, among other patrons did not understand because it was that type of contemporary piece whose meaning went right over our heads.
The De Young hit the mark with cultural and artful enrichment due to accessibility. As a weekly staple, the museum works these exhibits in a way that is enjoyable for anyone looking for something worthwhile on a Friday night.