Saturday, August 1, 2015



A friend reminded me yesterday that to be creative means that you create “something”.  It isn’t enough to think about it or read about it or look at what others are creating, but you have to do it. I have somehow had a summer hiatus that is blocking that flow, both in writing and in photography. I wonder if it is related to a resistance to change?

It struck me as I looked at one of my favorite buildings this week….the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I have loved this building for its presence on the urban scene, for the glory of its collections and for the many hours I have spent wrapped in creativity within its walls. I have photographed it inside and out. In fact, a Spanish magazine selected one of my SFMOMA photos as one of the best of the year. But, now an enormous new addition is nearing completion to encompass a vast new collection of art, new galleries that will allow much more of the permanent art to be shown, plus expanded and inviting new public spaces. It seems evident to me that the building I loved is now tacked on to an urban behemoth, almost as though an afterthought.

I imagine that I will find new and wonderful things to admire and love in the new structure. However, it seems like I have watched a loved companion relegated to the past. Mario Botta’s 1995 vision of an art space in San Francisco deeply resonated with me. I am sad.

The first photo shows the Botta building as it related to the incredible 30’s Pacific Telephone building of Timothy Flueger. The second show the Botta building coming out the side of the new Snohetta building.


  1. Hi Duff, I remember visiting the SFMOMA over 10 years ago on a rainy weekend in December. Our son had a season pass. We spent a good part of the day meandering through the exhibits. Our son loves art museums - he's both an engineer and an architect. He'll be in San Fran with his wife and children in August. I'll have to tell him about this change. However, I think he'll say change, especially in an urban landscape, is inevitable. I've been wondering about your "vacation" from the blog. I've missed the news of the city and your comments on daily life. Your friend's reminder is an interesting one. I never think too much about "being" creative. There are so many ways each of us might express our creativity, and sometimes we're not even aware that creativity is our intention. Sometimes, daily life is an exercise in creativity! I don't think I have to have something to "show" to be a creative soul. Enjoy the rest of your summer, Duff. Can you believe it's August already?

    1. Thanks so much for your comments, Barb. My friend was urging me to write, photograph and blog....her way of getting me out of my doldrums, I think. It is through the inspirational people in my life that I do so often find that "creative" space. I am glad for to be urged on, as you have in your thoughts. I agree that our daily life is the center of creativity. I often think my musings on the street happenings are so minor that it can't much matter to anyone. But, it does to me. The urban changes are often exciting for me. It was just seeing one of my treasures jutting out of the side of the new building that made me sad. It does seem like that part of SFMOMA that was once central is now simply an oddity.

  2. just rereading this and enjoying it again