de Young Museum, San Francisco

Today I went to the de Young Museum to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit.  There was no photography permitted, so you’ll have to settle for my photos of the gardens and tower from outside.  I was surprised to learn that O’Keeffe had rejected the notion that her flowers were metaphors for sexuality:

“Well – I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flowers you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower – and I don’t.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

Nevertheless, the museum suggests that her painting Brown and Tan Leaves (1928) represents her husband Alfred Stieglitz’s affair with Dororthy Norman, a woman 40 years his junior.  Sure, you can see it.  The young leaf (Norman) lies on top of the older, torn, and tan leaf (Stieglitz), their stems lining up, with a third smaller leaf (O’Keeffe) cast aside, away from the stem, yet hiding any imperfections on the right side of the tan leaf.  But you can’t have it both ways, if her other flowers were just flowers, then these are just leaves.  Unless of course she was painting vaginas. . .  On that note, here are some leaves and flowers.  No really, they are just leaves and flowers.

Here are a few photographs of the Ruth Asawa sculptures in the tower building at de Young.

50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.  Open Tuesdays – Sundays.

For more information about logistics, click here.  I was pleastantly surprised to find out that people with Bank of America accounts receive free general admission during the first weekend of the month.  (You still have to pay for the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit.)

© Sarah Milstein 2014

Bois de Vincennes, Paris

It seems that 90 percent of Paris has shut down, and the rest is under construction.  All my usual cafés and coffee shops have closed for August.  There is a man yelling, “Alice, your mommy and daddy are here!” in an American accent outside my window.  And, I think I’ve heard more Spanish, English, Italian, and German today, than French.

Nevertheless, the parks remain open!   Yesterday, I laid in the grass in the Bois de Vincennes, which looks and feels like a flat version of the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.  However, there are more birds (at least of the non-pigeon variety), horses, and boats to rent at the Bois.  I hear if you come at certain times, you might also find ladies of the night.  That is, if you’re into that sort of thing.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Le Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, Paris

If it weren’t for Jude and her husband, Brian, I never would have discovered Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, on a vélib’ no less.  A must see park–not manicured like many of the other Parisian parks, but a perfect spot to picnic, read a book, stare off into the distance with your lover (below), or in my case, be a third wheel.  Come back to Paris, I miss you guys already!

Don’t miss the hidden waterfall.

The restaurant in the park is also pretty nice–they stopped serving lunch by the time we arrived, but they still made us an awesome charcuterie platter!

For more information about the park, such as events that are occurring there, or even more about its history (like that it used to essentially be an open trash dump, which Napoleon decided to turn into a garden that opened in 1867), read here.

© Sarah Milstein 2013

Notre Dame & Versailles

Feeling patient?  Head to Notre Dame or Versailles and prepare to wait . . . maybe even for a few hours.  But, you never know, maybe you’ll even meet some interesting people along the way.  A well-traveled couple who brought their granddaughter to Paris kept me company in line, while waiting to climb the tower to the top of Notre Dame, and I spent the morning with an awesome couple on their honeymoon waiting to get into Versailles.  We parted company at the gardens, I figured three’s a crowd.

Notre Dame

Versailles

© 2013 Sarah Milstein