“Bookworks 2014” at the SFPL

Yesterday Oola and I took BART to San Francisco to help install a show of handmade books from the Pacific Center for the Book Arts right there in Civic Center, in the Public Library.  There was plenty of unpacking, lip smacking, list checking, and a little bit of worry that there wouldn’t be enough room for all 120 pieces.

I pulled a lot of guard duty, and Oola had the heavy responsibility  of the bathroom key for a while.  But….

There was plenty of sharing and caring,

Judy shows Momo her exquisite book of Kadish.
Judy shows momo her exquisite case and book of Kaddish.

and a few situational encounters.

How many book people does it take to level a table?
How many book-people does it take to level a table?

There were book installations big and small.

Just when we feared that there really wasn’t enough display space for all the work, Andrea – the Library’s guardian angel – produced more cabinets and tables.

Library cabinets
Cabinets saved from the old library, and they are magnificent!

When Oola and I finally limped home there was still more work to do on the show.  But all will be ready for the grand reception/opening this Saturday.  Come by and enjoy! This won’t happen again until 2017!

The show will be open until Sept. 6.

Bookworks 2014

Reception: June 21, 2 – 4PM

San Francisco Public Library
Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor
100 Larkin St. (at Grove)


Google map

Civic Center BART, take the station exit farthest west.  You will find yourself across the street from one of the entries to the Library.


Pan American Unity Mural, Diego Rivera at City College of San Francisco

Yesterday a trip to San Francisco to deliver my art to a show at CCSF  lead to viewing Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity Mural for the first time. It knocked my socks off…and I still can’t find them!

You may feel a desire to click on images to see them enlarged.  Indulge yourself!

section of Pan American Unity Mural by Diego Rivera
Section of Pan American Unity Mural by Diego Rivera


Helen Crlenkovich, graceful diver from CCSF


Central motif of Diego Rivera's mural at CCSF
Coatlicue, Central motif of Diego Rivera’s mural at CCSF

Coatlicue is the central unifying image of the mural.  She is divided in half, flesh and stone sculpture on the left (South) side, and industrial steel on the right (North).  I have to keep reminding myself that Rivera thought of the industry of the North as something good.  He could not know the peril that the oil wells and the deforested redwoods – which he so lovingly depicts – would bring us to.

The title of this work – translated – is “The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on this Continent”.  It is curious that the shape of Coatlicue’s nipple is repeated in the nightmarish panel showing part of the North’s contribution to this marriage.

Section of Diego Rivera's mural at CCSF
Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Charlie Chaplin

At the tip of the soldier’s outreached fingers, it looks like the tip of a bomb.  Coatlicue is the Mexican mother goddess, holder of life, death, and rebirth.  It is appropriate that the light/dark of the South be repeated with light/dark in the North.  Oh, but such a darkness!

Frida Kahlo in Diego Rivera's mural at CCSF
Frida Kahlo in Diego Rivera’s mural at CCSF

At the foot of Coatlicue, Rivera painted Frida Kahlo who being from the South with Roots in the North becomes the compositional hinge, the human marriage of the North and South. (Frida and Diego were re-married in San Francisco City Hall around the time of this painting.)

This composite is borrowed gratefully from http://redtreetimes.com/2010/06/18/pan-american-unity/

Rivera painted the Pan American Unity Mural on 10 steel framed panels during the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1940.  It measures 74ft wide and 22ft high.  It was intended for the new library at CCSF, but then World War 2 began, and funding for the library stopped.  The monumental mural was kept in storage until 1961;  then it was installed in the foyer of the new theater at CCSF.  The only negative thing to say about the mural is that it does not command the kind of space it needs to be seen comprehensively.

But, OH!, the color, and the masterful visual organization of the narrative!  Don’t miss this one.

City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Avenue, San Francisco, CA. 94112
(415) 239-3000

Monday, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Tuesday, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Wednesday, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Thursday, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Friday, 10:00 AM – 3:30 PM

The Diego Rivera Mural will be closed during school holidays.


Open to the public and free of charge.
Donations greatly appreciated.


Viewing Hours: 415 / 452-5313
Directions: 415 / 452-5550
Purchase Posters: 415 / 452-5210