At the MFA: Takashi Murakami and More

I’ve been away from the blog for a month now; holidays and work kept me busy enough. However, I’ve still been taking plenty of photos and today I’ve got a selection from my trip to the MFA in Boston. Sydney and I recently visited the museum as part of our trip out to see family and friends over Christmas and New Years. The main exhibit we went to see was Takashi Murakami, who I’ll confess I knew nothing of before attending the museum, as well as the main exhibits on permanent display. I’d been to the museum a few years prior, but completely forgot how massive it was. Consequently, we had to move pretty quickly through certain sections in order to make to another engagement we had later that evening.

For context, Takashi Murakami is a Japanese contemporary artist who blends both art and fashion, high and low in his style. Sometime around 2009 he coined the term “superflat”, which he meant to describe the unique style of Japanese art. Many of his pieces on display were modern renditions of older 17th and 18th Century Japanese pieces as well as a few recognizably Japanese pop art murals. Enjoy.

Egyptian fresco of a lion
Lion and bull in combat
Tablet memorializing the life of a certain pharaoh, whose name I’ve forgotten


The unrealistic proportions of the head and torso disappear when this statue is viewed from below, as it would have been when originally constructed
As low as I could get, but you can see how the proportions already look better here
Orientalist dresser of European manufacture. European decor was already heavily influenced by East Asian styles as early as the 17th and 18th Centuries
Close-up of one of the dresser’s vignettes
This man found fame on Broadway over the past few years

The following photos in this style were all part of a single 20ft mural

The anime influence is undeniable in this mural

Another classical Japanese-inspired mural. The inspiration can be seen in two images

A 17th Century Japanese print, which serves as inspiration for the Murakami mural
Saw this on the way out, remember these incense holders from Teotihuacan?


Thanks for checking these out and keep your eyes open for two more posts in the next few days. I’ve got some photos from the New England Aquarium and from the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

At the de Young: Teotihuacan

I’ve been waiting for a chance to make it to the de Young’s Teotihuacan exhibition for a number of months now and on Sunday Sydney and I finally had a chance to head over. The exhibit featured a little more than half a dozen rooms filled with a variety of artifacts excavated from different digs of Teotihuacan. Most of these were either religious figurines or fragments from larger statues, although a few everyday pieces also appeared in the collection.

For background, Teotihuacan was a Mesoamerican city state founded around 100 CE near modern-day Mexico City. The site is noteworthy for a number of reasons, foremost being the large pyramids built along its famed “Avenue of the Dead”. The site flourished for around 500 years before eventually succumbing to a rapid decline in population and a large burning and destruction of the major civic and religious structures. The exact origins of the founders of the city are unknown as are the reasons for its rapid decline although climate change and internal upheaval are generally listed as the leading theories.

Anyway, enjoy the de Young’s Teotihuacan:

A series of carved shells.
The details on these shells were amazing; I felt like I was looking at something that had just been carved.
Loved the attitude of this particular character.
The last of the shells.

A lot of the close-ups for this came out great, so be prepared for a few more đŸ™‚
One of the many murals in the exhibition. This particular one seems to depict two animals devouring a third.
This piece was described as a “face with claws”. I can find the claws in the center, but where are the eyes?
I loved this particular angle for this piece. The relief and the lighting give it this great terminating effect.

One of my favorites in the collection. From this angle you can really see the way the pigment was applied and how the ceramic was originally shaped. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name for this one.
Sydney claimed to feel a special connection with this piece. Must be the hair…

I enjoyed seeing these masks done in a very different style from the other ceramics in the collection. There were so many “storm gods” that seeing some human faces was refreshing.
This piece and the next were both described as incense burners. In fact, many of the harder-to-define pieces wound up being burners for incense.

Whoever made this piece had a wonderful sense of humor. I love this thing.

This statue fragment was actually more than 6′ in length and about 2′ or 3′ tall.

The title piece of the collection. This one was also a larger piece probably being about 5′ in diameter.

The only shot I included of the many serpent murals on display.

Sadly, the other close-ups of some of the figurines came out blurred. Obsidian was apparently a widely used crafting material in Teotihuacan, potentially something it traded in.
This statue was the final piece in the collection and stood about my height. I love the detail of the fragmentation in the third photo.

Thanks for reading and keep your eyes out for another photography post. Sydney and I are planning on going to the Legion of Honor in January to see their Rodin collection and their “Gods in Polychrome” exhibition of Greco-Roman statues painted in their original coloring.

What I’m Reading – 12/5/17

My first post for December! Spent the weekend absorbed in Christmas decorating and I’m pretty happy with the results. Hopefully this is the first of many great Christmas tress I’ll have in San Francisco.

Besides that not much else has been going on. Chelsea play their final match in their Champions League group stage today. A win would put Chelsea on top of their group although even a loss still means they’ll make it to the knockout stages. Either way the opponents in the next round will be difficult. Honestly, even a quarter final appearance this year would be a pretty good showing. Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/30/17

I thought I was done for November, but I found six more articles I really wanted to share! I don’t have much else to share in the way of personal details today; I’ve mostly spent the week doing shopping for Christmas decorations for the tree. I do have a few things to say about Bitcoin and the markets today, though.

We’ve had a crazy few days on the markets as Bitcoin blitzed to $11,000 to the dollar and then pulled all the way back to $9,000 all in the span of 48 hours. Anyone still seriously looking at this as anything other than a severe bubble is likely to get burned badly. Remember, if Bitcoin bursts this is going to have big ramifications for the rest of the crypto-markets as mainstream investors move away. If crypto takes a hit, make sure to re-assess any positions you might have in AMD or Nvidia since the two major GPU makers have received a huge boost from crypto-mining over the past year and a half.

In other news, tech stocks pulled back a fair bit both in China and the US as investors decided to take profits. It looks today that any profit-taking has ended temporarily and we may be heading higher before the end of the year. Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/28/17

Feels good to be back to work after the holiday. I spent the weekend eating great food with Sydney’s folks at her house and finally finished the Hamilton biography I’ve been starting and stopping for ten years. I have to say the first half of his life was definitely more entertaining the second, although for someone who died at age 49, Alexander Hamilton lived an incredible life. If you never saw the musical or read about his life, I highly recommend it.

This week is all about getting decorations ready for Christmas and hopefully putting together a surprise for Sydney (don’t tell her). Other than that, I’ll be going to see the Disaster Artist later on this week. If you haven’t seen the previews, the Disaster Artist is about Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room, one of the most notoriously bad movies of all time.

I haven’t really kept up too much with the news over the weekend, so I’ll leave off this section for today. Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/22/17

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hopefully all of you are safely with your family or friends and ready to enjoy the holiday. I’m trying to get this written while packing up, so I’ll keep it short. The week has been busy on the production side of things and equally busy in the news. We’ll most likely be paying more for our internet service going forward if the FCC repeals Net Neutrality later this week. For those of you who aren’t up-to-date on that issue, I’ve included a link on the issue in today’s set.

Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/18/17

Originally this post was supposed to have photos from a trip to the MOMA this weekend, but considering we didn’t finish making breakfast until 2pm today, it’ll have to wait for tomorrow. Instead, we watched Chelsea thump West Brom 4-0 in the Premier League with a beautiful assist from Alvaro Morata leading to an Eden Hazard goal. The win takes Chelsea to third in the table, as Spurs lost to Arsenal 2-0. Currently four teams are within one point of 4th place in the league which will definitely make for an interesting Christmas run of games. By the way, if you only read one link this week, I highly suggest reading the final article on finding lost trade cities of the Bronze Age.

In other news, Mugabe is definitely going to be ousted in Zimbabwe and the controversial Roy Moore is trailing his Democrat opponent by something like 5 points in the polls, which would add to Republican woes as the Democrats ready themselves for a midterm challenge. In business news, Tesla, under pressure for Model 3 production problems, unveiled a new electric semi truck picking up exploratory orders from the likes of Walmart.

Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/15/17

Finishing three days of Scala training today. I’ve been mostly writing Ruby for a few months now so it’s nice to have gotten the refresher on Scala topics. No language is perfect, but I have to say I’d take Scala every day over Java if given the choice. Readability is just on another level when compared to the more verbose languages.

In other news, it appears that Zimbabwe is currently undergoing a military coup. The army has captured Robert Mugabe and apparently is attempting to arrest members of the existing elite, including Mugabe’s ambitious wife. Worth keeping an eye on Zimbabwe; this could mean a new chapter in its history.

Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/12/17

Last night Sydney and I celebrated our one year anniversary. It was a great night; we had an early dinner at the Cliff House, caught the sunset, then went to see Aladdin at the Orpheum. They’ve changed the story of Aladdin a fair amount to fit a less cartoonish interpretation, replacing the tiger and monkey with groups of singing and dancing friends instead. The flying carpet is reduced to only two appearances as it carries the main characters around the stage in a pretty convincing way. The genie is no longer blue, but instead wears a blue outfit. To be honest, the genie’s character seemed heavily inspired by Titus Andromedon from Kimmy Schmidt. The sets and costumes both looked great and functioned well. The crew even included a hefty amount of pyrotechnics in the act. Overall, definitely worth the money to go see it.

In other news, the link I’ve included are from the week, but since I had them already set aside I thought I’d include them in a post. Trump was in Asia this past week, fleeing from negative press at home and trying to make some progress on his foreign policy objectives. So far, the trip has been heavy on positive rhetoric from all parties, but not necessarily equally heavy on details. Anyway, here are the links:

What I’m Reading – 11/6/17

What a let-down Halloween turned into… Sydney and I did wind up going out, but to be honest most of the crowd was either not in costume or wearing some sort of cop-out costume. I guess the holiday falling on a Tuesday this year thinned the herd a bit. We wound up making the best of it, but hopefully next year people are more enthused.

In other news, it seems like every week we find out more about how corrupt the rich and powerful are these days (maybe always?). One of the Panama Papers journalists was killed in Malta two weeks ago in a car bombing, while this week a new set of files detailing offshore tax havens was leaked. This time even Queen Elizabeth II got in on the action. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince made more headlines by purging 80-something members of the royal family and ruling elite in a “corruption” crackdown. More realistically, this is an attempt to centralize power before the ambitious royal begins his push for massive reforms. Nonetheless, what a world when Saudi Arabia can hold it’s leaders accountable, but we Americans cannot. Anyway, here are the links: