Last night, T and I dropped by the grand re-opening of the de Young Museum. This art museum was closed for several years so that they could construct a new building -- the old one was seismically unsound. Before the old building shut its doors, they opened it for a twenty-four hour museum marathon. We had attended the farewell party, so we thought that it was only appropriate to attend the welcoming as well. We left the house around 11pm and, after some parking adventures, arrived at the museum perhaps fifteen minutes before midnight.
It was a mob scene. Literally. The line to get in extended into the night and out of our sight. We didn't even bother finding the end of it. We took a glance into the galleries through the picture windows and they weren't visably crowded, so they must have been enforcing some sort of "one-in one-out" policy. So we spent some time walking around, looking at the grounds and the building. I'm looking forward to getting a closer look at it someday -- the new building is highly controversial, the design provoking wails of agony from San Franscisans everywhere. For a city that takes its identity from a reputation for open-mindedness, the design sense of the populace is amazingly stodgy. I found the tower, the main source of complaint, to be quite striking, lit up at night. Apparently the galleries are well designed. We'll probably go check it out in a few months, after the buzz dies down a little.
The crowd was an odd mix of art types, people looking for a party, and the merely curious. I wonder if there will be a backlash from the art community -- "those club kids ruined our opening!" Only time and op-eds will tell.