I planned on going up Coit Tower yesterday but I simply ran out of time. Accordingly, it was item number one on today’s agenda before going to look at San Francisco’s crookedest street: Lombard street. It reminded me of the start of Nacimiento road but in daylight and maybe only a couple of hundred yards long. I ended up in the Ghiradelli area and the Franklin Bowles galleries looking at Dali’s Alice in Wonderland suite, some Rembrandt etchings and a large collection of amazing work from LeRoy Neiman.
As I was in San Francisco I couldn’t just hire a bike for a quick whizz round. I simply had to try out a Segway tour. They are the weirdest thing at first but you soon get used to them (that is unless you are the woman who ran herself over with hers during the orientation and decided she didn’t want to go anymore). The tour lasted for a couple of hours, was good fun and quite informative but once I dismounted it was like I’d forgotten how to walk normally. I went for a sit down in the Boudin Bakery to recover and have something to eat before heading back to the hotel for the night.
I decided that yesterday wasn’t the day for looking out of tall buildings so it turned out to be my day of culture with a walk up 5th Avenue (pausing to browse the Apple Store obviously) to Museum Mile and the Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums.
I managed to get myself admonished in the Guggenheim within five minutes thanks to some contradictory signs apropos photography. The outside was also not photographable as it is covered with scaffolding for exterior restoration at the moment which was disappointing. Inside the Frank Lloyd Wright designed building was stunning though. There was some impressive Kandisky and Klee in the Nierendorf collection but the main installation along rotunda spirals was Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want To Believe (and no, it’s not related to the X-Files).
I reached the top of spiral just as my patience with pretentious and sullen arty types was running out but I timed it perfectly to see the full three minute film of Cai’s 2005 Black Rainbow: Explosion Project for Edinburgh being played.
Any artist that gets away with using vast amounts of explosives is fine in my book. He’s also on the creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics so be prepared for something special.