Locomotoring

Seven continents, seven seas, seven billion people and seven thousand good eats …

Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

Edgewood Park, a cloudy day in June 2022

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The quintessential park – grasslands, chaparrals, Bay views

Edgewood is our neighborhood county park, the one whose trails and flora we are trying to learn by heart. It claim to fame are its wildflowers. This hike is not fun on a hot summer day, but this weekend in June, it was cloudy and not crowded, turning the hike into an unexpected summer surprise. This time, we started at the Sunset trailhead where parking is less challenging. From junction sign 21, we took the detour on Clarkia; then at 22, we got back on Sunset; at 13, we took Ridgewood; at 15, Franciscan; at 12, Live Oak; at 17, we walked up the hill to enjoy the view; and then took Ridgewood back to Sunset trail. The entire hike is a little more than 3 miles and no more than 200 ft of climb. Between junction signs 15 and 12 on Franciscan trail, there was a profusion of coyote mint. And monkey flowers were in bloom throughout.

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Written by Sachin

June 13, 2022 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Pulgas Ridge Preserve, June 2022

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From the top of Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail

Pulgas Ridge Preserve is another beautiful open space in our neighborhood! From the parking lot, we took the Cordilleras Trail to Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail to Hassler Trail to Dick Bishop Trail to Blue Oak Trail returning back to the parking lot, a total of 3.8 miles. Elevation change is no more than 400 ft. Much of the climb up is through the woods and rather pretty. The park is dog friendly, and the dogs were all clearly excited to be there. Monkey flowers were in bloom everywhere. It does get a bit noisy for about a third of a mile when Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail gets close to Hwy 280.

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Written by Sachin

June 5, 2022 at 5:17 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve, May 2022

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A typical view on this trail

This park is a recommendation from Peninsula Trails by Jean Rushmore, Frances Spangle and Betsy Crowder. The trailhead is about 100 ft north of the Skeggs Point parking lot. It is a wonderful park for summer. The trail we followed was approximately 4.4 miles by the park map and 6.1 miles by wearable devices. It took us through El Corte de Madera Creek trail to Resolution trail to Fir trail to Tafoni trail back. El Corte de Madera Creek is mostly redwoods. Fir trail is mostly Douglas firs and madrones. We hung about the picnic bench near the Resolution Aircraft Memorial and did a quick detour to see the Tafoni sandstone formation. Resolution trail is interestingly rocky, makes you think you are elsewhere, like in Joshua Tree NP and seemingly popular with bikers.

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Written by Sachin

June 4, 2022 at 9:12 pm

Posted in USA

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San Bruno Mountain, May 2022

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A foggy morning on Summit Loop trail, a lonely bench

The recommendation for San Bruno Mountain Summit Loop Trail came from the book Peninsula Trails by authors Jean Rushmore, Frances Spangle and Betsy Crowder. On a fogless day, you can see a lot – Daly City, Colma, the Pacific Ocean, and the Santa Cruz Mountains, San Francisco, the Bay Bridge, Oakland, Mount Diablo, and the San Francisco Bay, planes taking off from San Francisco International Airport – you can also see all this without hiking by simply parking at the San Bruno Ridge Trail parking lot.

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Written by Sachin

May 29, 2022 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Wunderlich County Park, Apr 2022

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Salamander Flat

An approximately 5 mile hike in Wunderlich County Park, starting at the Alambique Nature Trail, going clockwise via Meadow Trail, Bear Gulch Trail, Redwood Trail, and back to the parking lot via Madrone Trail. The Meadow Trail is unshaded in large parts. Alambique is dappled shade. Bear Gulch, Redwood Trail and Madrone are well shaded. Going clockwise, both Alambique and Meadow are mostly uphill. The trail starts going down on Bear Gulch and continues downhill all the way to the parking lot. At the top of Meadow Trail, there is a clear view of the Bay including Stanford campus and the dish. On a hot day, it may be easier going counter-clockwise where the uphill is cool and shaded. Jane Huber of BAHiker likes this trail in the autumn when she says that the ground is dry and the foliage is gorgeous.

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Written by Sachin

May 1, 2022 at 2:03 am

Posted in California, USA

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Jean Lauer Trail, April 2022

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The artifacts of US Air Force base visible from much of the trail

Jean Lauer trail is short coastal hike in Pillar Point Bluff County Park. It is a flat and mostly accessible trail. We went walkabout a bit beyond the main trail. Wildflowers from mustard family were in bloom.

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Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 9:23 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Walk in the woods, Apr 2022

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Somewhere near Little Basin Road off of CA Route 236

We had intended to do the Eagle Rock trail. When we reached the designated parking, we found it closed. We walked about a bit, for a mile or so, searching for the trail, and eventually realized we were on someone’s private land. We were puzzled and decided to head out. Once we got out, we noticed a sign saying that the campground was closed due to hazardous conditions from 2020 fires. Silly us, it took us a while to realize we weren’t getting a prize here – a trail all to our ourselves!

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Written by Sachin

April 25, 2022 at 5:30 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Thornewood Open Space Preserve, Apr 2022

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Looking up on Bridle trail

First, we did the Schilling Lake trail recommended by POST. The parking lot on La Honda only has space for six cars and is often overcrowded on weekends, it helped us that this was the Tax weekend as well as the Easter weekend. On our way back, we decided to explore the Bridle trail. This trail is almost entirely shaded by Redwoods. Overall, approximately 3.5 miles and elevation change of approximately 400 ft. The trails go along streams and small waterfalls and could be nice, albeit cold, in winter. It had rained yesterday and portions of the trail were a little muddy.

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Written by Sachin

April 18, 2022 at 6:46 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Calero Park from Rancho Cañada del Oro, April 2022

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Field of vetch under an oak tree

From the same parking spot as Rancho Cañada del Oro, this 4 mile hike is through the neighboring Calero Park, following Longwall Canyon to Needlegrass to Bald Peaks trail to Little Llagas Creek trail. This is part of the POST recommended Rancho Cañada del Oro hike, with the climb going up the wrong way, on the shorter and exposed Needlegrass trail. The only shaded portion of the hike is the Little Llagas Creek trail. Top of Needlegrass has stunning views of the mountains and if one knows where to look, the view of Loma Prieta, the highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Although we were too winded to appreciate. Note to self – pay attention to trail markers next time. This time again, after the hike, we took our lunch on one of the benches on Whole Access Llagas Creek Loop Trail looking at the field of lupines and vetches and poppies.

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Written by Sachin

April 10, 2022 at 7:08 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Windy Hill Hike, April 2022

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On the way down from the summit

We followed the recommended POST hike, from Spring Ridge Trail to the Hamm’s Gulch Trail, to Bay Area Ridge Trail, and the Anniversary Trail to reach the summit and a descent via the Spring Ridge trail to the Betsy Crowder Trail. We saw a number of new flower species on Hamm’s Gulch. The trail was all shaded until we reached the end of Hamm’s Gulch and then it is almost entirely exposed until Betsy Crowder trail. This direction is a whole lot more pleasant than going up Spring Ridge and coming down Hamm’s Gulch.

It is not common to have a trail named Betsy, it is named after local conservation activist Elizabeth “Betsy” Swann Crowder.

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Written by Sachin

April 8, 2022 at 12:00 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve, March 2022

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What a beauty! This is on the Ancient Oaks Trail near Bo Gimbal Trail intersection.

Followed the POST recommended 3.6 mile trail from the Ridge Trail, to the Ancient Oaks Trail to the Charquin Trail back to the Ridge Trail. The parking lot was full and we parked by Highway 35. The wildflower season was at its peak.

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Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Rancho Cañada del Oro, March 2022

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An exceptionally beautiful park in spring.

While we had intended to do the 5.8 mile Bald Peaks trail recommended by POST, we accidentally ended up on the 4.3 mile Mayfair-Longwall canyon loop trail. The climb took us through Blue Oak woodlands. It was stunningly beautiful. Occasionally we would see signs for cattle grazing. We found ourselves discussing how the land might have been before the settlers.

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Written by Sachin

April 7, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking Edgewood Park, March 2022

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Near Clarkia Trailhead

This is one of the best places to see wildflowers and it is in our neighborhood park too. We have walked this park dozens of times, from the main park entrance or Sunset trailhead, but this time we started from Clarkia trailhead. We followed Clarkia to Sunset to Ridgeview to Franciscan to Live Oak to Serpentine back to Sunset and Clarkia (23, 22, 14, 13, 15, 12, 17, 20, 22).

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Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking Huddart Park, March 2022

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Huddart Park is a lovely park for picnic and the wooded trails are great on a summer day. The trails are uneven dirt trails, but in Redwood forests, trails are always easy on your feet. At this time of the year, the streams carry water and delicate green ferns grow by the trails. We did a short hike around the Zwierlein picnic area following Crystal Spring Trails, Canyon Trail, Campground Trail and Dean Trail (from marker 21 to 17 to 13 to 15 to 24 to 19 to 17 and back to 21).

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Written by Sachin

March 26, 2022 at 10:04 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail, March 2022

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Quintessential view from this trail. There is no beach access.

We ended up going all the way from one end to another and coming back. That made is a nearly 7 mile hike, near all flat and nearly all exposed. We started on the north end. There is perhaps more place is sit at the northern end, so if doing a picnic lunch in the middle, it might make more sense to start at the south end.

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Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:58 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking Pearson-Arastradero Preserve, March 2022

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A beautiful oak on the Paseo del Roble trail near Arastradero lake

Our intent was to do the recommended 3.7 mile scenic loop recommended by POST, but we ended up going a little longer. We first did the Redcap loop trail. Then we went on to Juan Bautista de Anza Trail to Meadowlark Trail to Acorn trail to Arastradero creek trail to Paseo del Roble to Wild Rye trail before descending back to the de Anza Trail. The parking lot appeared quite busy on the weekend!

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Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 5:42 am

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Visiting Bair Island, March 2022

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Happenstance view at the start of the walk, three teams competing.

Bair Island is only a few miles from home. There are public parking and restroom facilities at the Bair island trail entrance. It is a flat, exposed trail, about 1.7 miles one way going to Middle Bair Island observation deck. Most of the path is along highway 101, so there is some white noise. There is excellent bird watching opportunity all throughout. The observation deck away from the highway and is quieter.

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Written by Sachin

March 21, 2022 at 4:36 am

Posted in USA

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Sequoia Audubon Trail, Feb 2022

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At the start of the trail

It was a delightful 1.5 to 2 miles roundtrip trail along the marshes. It was an absolutely gorgeous day by the beach when the inland was cloudy and cold. We took our binoculars to watch the birdlife and found some common Canadian geese. January and February had not seen much rain this year after a lot of rain the previous two months and as a result, some of the vegetation had started to dry out already. There were a lot of cattail. A few of the yarrows were in bloom, but plenty were getting ready. There was not much shade along the way, and it was surprisingly warm.

There is parking right at the start of the trail, but south Pescadero beach is perhaps a better spot to park if combining with picnic lunch. At the beach, you will see people fishing and there are a number of benches to enjoy the ocean view.

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Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Visiting Ano Nuevo SP, Feb 2022

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An elephant seal family with a male, eight females and eight pups (seven seen).
A lone seal hanging out, they often use their flippers to move wet sand on themselves.

Año Nuevo State Park is one of the largest elephant seal rookery. It is a short walk, about 1.5 miles roundtrip, but set aside 2 hrs because it is really fun to watch these seals when they do decide to move. As per the docent, the best time to come here between December and January, especially the days where it is wet and clammy. There is a lovely picnic area right at the entrance and plenty parking.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Bay Area, California, USA

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Hiking in Uvas Canyon, Feb 2022

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At the start of the waterfall loop

We had intended to do the 3.5 mile waterfall hike as per POST recommendation but ended up taking the detour up to Knobcone Point which added an additional 0.8 miles to the total. When they say steep, they mean steep. We practically crawled up to Knobcone, but the reward was a lovely picnic table where we had our lunch. I enjoyed the flatter contour trail part of the hike where the air smelled of California/mountain laurel. Much of the hike is shaded, the ground is packed dirt and also steep downhill on Alec Canyon.

Written by Sachin

March 20, 2022 at 12:45 am

Night sky in Joshua Tree NP

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We started the year 2022 with trip to an old favorite, Joshua Tree National Park. If there is a national park, that feels personal and accessible, this is it. You can stop anywhere, walk anywhere and scramble up any rock. So it feels. It is perfect in the winter when it rains elsewhere. Best night sky is perhaps the month of September when JT hosts night sky festival, however, for those of us who live amidst light pollution, a sky where you can see stars is perfect anytime of the year. The photos below are from a small stretch between Quail Springs and Hemingway between 9 and 10 pm. We didn’t really have appropriate winter attire, so we were rather cold, but the photos were well worth it.

From Quail Springs Parking Lot. This is a single long exposure, otherwise unprocessed.
On a dirt trail right before Hemingway, coming from the West Entrance. This is a different night compared to the previous image. Night sky was cloudless. This is a single short exposure but otherwise unprocessed photo. The glowing tip of the rocks is from a car passing by on the Park Boulevard.
From the same dirt trail and the same night as the previous photo. This is stacked but otherwise unprocessed. You can see the linear trails from flights.

Written by Som

March 19, 2022 at 8:51 pm

Posted in California, USA

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Ojai, an escape from the humdrum

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Ojai exists to charm the suburbia and city dwellers. It is picture perfect everywhere, from its cute little homes to its expansive meadows. And the food here is a mecca for those of us on any type of fringe diet.

Our designer built cottage

A perfect town to experience California’s indoor-outdoor lifestyle

Ojai Meadow Preserve, a delightful and easy hiking trail where it is easy to get a bit lost

A lovely brook where the trail becomes particularly directionless

Meditate, ponder, rest

Written by locomotoring

February 24, 2019 at 9:08 pm

Posted in California

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Falling in love with Sequoia National Park

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Last 4th of July, we drove down south, a circuit tour from Bay Area to Pismo Beach to Ojai to Sequoia National Park and back up. While all three destinations are delightful in their own right, I simply fell in love with Sequoia Park. At the root of the deep affinity was my realization that for the last 3 years, I had been putting together Dogwoods, Manzanitas, Cercis and Ribes that grow abundantly in Sequoia NP. Inadvertently, I have been trying to mimic the Sequoia landscape in my backyard!

Ribes in bloom

Manzanita in bloom

Dogwood in bloom in the backyard

Kaweah River

Dogwoods of Sequoia National Park

Crescent Meadow

Bear at Crescent Meadow

View from Moro Rock Trail at Sequoia NP

Top of Moro Rock at Sequoia National Park

Written by locomotoring

February 24, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Posted in California, USA

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Atelier Crenn from an year ago

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Third time is the charm for the photos, with the latest renovation, there is now a hint of light for the lens. Not that photos matter or even the menu matters. A dinner at Crenn is like a series of short adventure trips for the uninitiated. No baby steps, you jump straight into it – sky diving, canoeing the rapids, zip lining, bungee jumping and so forth. Imagine you have been handed a schedule that looked like the following,

Sky, gravity & wind
River, foam & paddles
Canopy & pines

Frankly, even if the schedule came with a video of the activity, you will only know the motions and not the sensations.

Here was what the menu said on Nov 22, 2017,

Plum kambucha
Kir Breton
Fish & Chips
Geoduck, Sea Urchin & Citrus
Seeds & Grains
Caviar, Monkfish & Koji
Brioche & Housemade butter
Abalone, Cabbage & Smoked Creme
Matcha Tea Service
A-5 Wagyu, Porcini & Bearnaise
Harbison, Buckwheat & Truffle

Nopal Elixir
White chocolate avocado cremeux
Mesa Crisp
Sapote Ice Cream & Maracuya
Vanilla Bean Guanabana & Crystallized Tobacco Leaf
Recreation of Agave, Coconut & Iced Pulque
Mignardises

Think of the elixirs and tea services as brief rest stops in between the adventure courses. I had been experimenting with home brewing kambucha last year, but that only made me wonder how did Dominique manage to get kambucha to taste good, let alone great. Thanks to a recent trip to Mexico City, at least the dessert menu ingredients like Sapote and Guanabana were familiar. Harbison? Your Googling is as good as mine. Her pastry Chef Juan Contreras, a Los Angeles native, has been with her for a while but this was the first time we noticed an influence from south of the border.

The menu also showed a hand-drawn Ocotillo, a desert cactus. We had seen Ocotillo in bloom earlier that year during the trip to Joshua Tree National Park. From a distance, they look like red tipped 20 ft tall grass. When the earth is dry, the stems are leafless, grey and thorny. The leaves sprout whenever the earth is a little moist. I took that to be the representation for the dessert menu.

Some of the photos …

Kir Breton, this is the only repeat adventure from last two times. Champagne cocktail served in a white chocolate shell with creme de cassis on top.

Fish and chips

White chocolate avocado cremeux

Sapote Ice cream & Maracuya

Vanilla bean guanabana & crystallized tobacco leaf

Recreation of agave, coconut & iced pulque. Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the agave plant. It has the color of milk, somewhat viscous consistency and a sour yeast-like taste.

Written by locomotoring

December 30, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Noah Purifoy’s outdoor museum

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Assemblage sculpture from Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

Noah Purifoy was an accidental find. During last visit to Joshua Tree National Park, we ended up staying close to his museum of assemblage sculpture. Since then, I learned many things, a) media describes him as an artist forged by fire, his earliest body of sculpture, constructed out of charred debris from LA’s 1965 Watts rebellion, was the basis for 66 Signs of Neon, the landmark 1966 group exhibition on the Watts riots that traveled throughout the country, b) he was exhibited at LACMA in 2015, “Noah Purifoy: Junk Dada“, 50th anniversary of the Watts riots  when several of these large-scale sculptures from Joshua Tree museum were brought in along with some of his early works, and  finally, c) something provocative even by today’s standards, his 1971 solo show.

A 1971 solo show at the Brockman gallery in Los Angeles—for which he converted gallery space into a squalid, crowded inner-city apartment shared by an extended black family, complete with a stinky refrigerator, roaches, and figures getting busy under bedcovers—was an even more provocative exploration of racial and social injustice (the title of the show: “N* Ain’t Gonna Never Ever Be Nothin’—All They Want to Do Is Drink and Fuck”). – Julia Felsenthal for Vogue in 2015

One of the pieces, that stuck me most was an assembled home.

View 1: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

View 2: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

View 3: Assemblage sculpture of a home at Noah Purifoy’s museum in Joshua Tree, California

 

I didn’t know anything about Noah when we stumbled upon his open museum. I had seen assemblage sculpture in closed museum spaces before, a piece here or a piece there, and they never quite made much sense. But out there in the bright desert sun, in a seemingly middle of nowhere little (albeit destination) town, on a vacation from the humdrum of life, and seeing them all together, a narrative has started to form.

I am beginning to realize that the museum spaces are as important as the pieces themselves. I remember feeling sorry for the magnificent creatures of Theo Jansen when they were exhibited indoors at the San Francisco Exploratorium. They felt broken and powerless in the cavernously large and poorly lit exploratorium. I am sure they would have been wonderful on the beach, howling in the wind.

The disappointment at the Exploratorium was similar when seeing sunflower seeds of Ai Weiwei at the Tate Gallery in London. The original intention was a design where visitors could walk or roll on an infinite carpet of porcelain sunflower seeds in the vastness of the turbine hall. Juliet Bingham, Curator of Tate Modern had said, “Each piece is a part of the whole, a commentary on the relationship between the individual and the masses. The work continues to pose challenging questions: What does it mean to be an individual in today’s society? Are we insignificant or powerless unless we act together? What do our increasing desires, materialism and number mean for society, the environment and the future?” But shortly after its opening, this interactive display was declared a health hazard due to porcelain dust. So, Tate had to put the seeds in a conical pile  in the center of a featureless bright room, cordoned off with a security guard watching over.

So if a museum piece doesn’t make sense, I just have to remind myself that perhaps it is in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Written by locomotoring

May 7, 2018 at 6:30 am

Posted in California, USA

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