Friday, May 12, 2006

will it ever end?

From an article on the $78 million dollar expansion of the Crocker:

"Sacramento is growing up, and it's a great city, but to be a truly great city it needs a great art museum," Jones said. "This will be a great museum."

OK, so add that to the list of the things this city needs to be something other than what it is: downtown arena, big, flagship chain stores on K st., an IMAX, anything I forgot? Those kinds of things don't matter as much to the people who live here as they do to the people who visit here (whoever they are, Germans, I guess?). I have nothing against art museums, but a good coffee shop in my neighborhood or a cafe with a nice patio or a park that I will not get stabbed in mean oh so much more on a day to day basis. And that just reminded me, my fucking city councilman Robert Fong never responded to my email about redevelopment on Broadway near Tower. Not even a form email. What am I, chopped liver?!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

A BIG addition to your list of things that prove that Sacramento has an identity crisis (meaning politicians and developers trying to make it be something that it can never be) is the ridiculous twin towers of condos planned for 4th and Capitol. Hello? Can anyone say "Look at me! Look at me! I'm a big city TOO!"

Like an 11 year-old trying to buy whiskey with his dad's drivers license.

charvey

Anonymous said...

Sacramento not only has an identity crisis but an inferiority complex as well...

President,
Sacramento Appreciation Society of San Francisco

katymonster said...

as much as i fully agree with you Beckler on the neighborhood safety issue, the Crocker and other museums are huge in forming an identitiy for a city.

in all of my state travels, i finally realized the one thing Sacramento is lacking is public money. i know, duh. but when i went to Oklahoma and the downtown area had a botanical garden - and recently visiting New Mexico and seeing artfully crafted bus stops, i realized California as a whole sells itself to the highest bidder (typically this is a corporation).

the News and Review has a great essay this week on Jane Jacobs. if you get the chance to read The Death and Life of Great American Cities, i highly reccomend it if you haven't already.

it's true that yes, museums and other attractions tend to be more for tourists than the city inhabitants, but that's a sad fact in its own. the Crocker has a number of outstanding community programs that are begging to be taken advantage of.

as Jacob's points out, entertainment is as vital to a cities success as is affordable housing and a viable, often local, commercial district. i think the Crocker could very well be a great addition to the entertainment of Sacramento. the Tuesday(?) wine and jazz sessions may be a bit stuffy for us, but i'd much rather the city assited something worthwhile to a large percentage of the population than say the chunk of people they'll appease with dumping money into all of the chains proposed for K St. or the absurdly expensive living they're projecting for the R St. corridor.

Anonymous said...

Hi Beckler...

I was about to post a long comment in response to your remarks about the Crocker expansion...but God bless katymonster for making my case more eloquently than I could have. But I'll just add this: I grew up in Massachusetts and came of age in Boston. And there's a lot of things I miss about that city (Good Lord, where to begin?) but topping the list is the MFA: the Museum of Fine Arts.

I'm sure the MFA is a tourist destination to some (its Egyptian collection is jaw-dropping) but without a doubt its primary patrons are Bostonians themselves. I've heard strong pro- and con- arguments regarding the new tower projects going up in downtown Sacto. But honestly, for a city this size -- with the growth that's expected in the next 10-20 years, not to mention our own aspirations and ambitions -- we need a better, and yes larger, art museum.

It would be one thing if the Crocker was one of several. But it's the only game in town, so to speak, and it really is inadequate at this point.

I will say this, though: if the Crocker's expansion doesn't set aside an adequate amount of space for local artists, than we can write it off as a failure before the ground is even broken. Dowtown Sacramento has some remarkable galleries showing off the work of incredible local artists. And to be honest, I'm not entirely convinced that the expansion plans adequately take into account our homegrown talent.

But to all those griping about Kabinet's screen, or the temperature at HQ...bear in mind that the Crocker expansion could very likely mean a robust and regular film program at the museum featuring films from around the world. I've interviewed a few of the key Crocker players in the courseof my work at KVIE, and I intend to keep pressing them on this issue...

That's all. Take care,
J.

Mark said...

Hey there Chop Liver,

As a Midtowner (21st) a good museum is one of the of things that matters to me. How does not supporting expansion of the city's only art museum going to improve the changes of your neighborhood getting a good coffee shop or a cafe with a nice patio or a park?

In fact, things like museums and other urban public amenities will attract the type of people who know and demand good coffee and food.

BTW what is the Broadway near Tower plans?

Stephen Glass said...

Um zu Ihrer amerikanischen Stadt zu besuchen, fordere ich ein ausgezeichnetes Museum von sensationellen Gestaltungsarbeiten. Sonst zu mir sind Sie nichts als ein staubiger Vorposten von schade Grenzcowboys und Indern, die sich mit dem bloßen rauhen Spass beschäftigen.

Stephen Glass said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Mistah Harvey was right on about them damn towers, miz monster was also correct in her assessment of the redickyouluss rents they'll be charging all over with the new units. I fear a crash a-coming once the novelty of urban living wears off for those who have already leased units at 21st and L for two grand. The market will not bear those prices out. The towers really bug me, since there are way too many projects that are blocking the view of the Capitol. That should remain the highest profile building and taller buildings should be a rare exception. "inferiority complex" is right. People still say they're going to The City when they go to SF. SF has so much going for it because it has never been ashamed of its' origins. As for $, what bugs me is all the talk of pie-in-the-sky, big ticket items when there are still plenty of potholes that heed filling and the library is still not budgeted to be open 24-7. Okay, that constitutes my two cents.

Ed

beckler said...

OK, OK, yeah I already linked to that SN&R article, I thought it was good. I agree, public museums and such are great. I enjoy visiting them in other cities. I just want there to be money for smaller projects, too. That's all. Not the endless stream of giant projects floated by the city that fail. As for Broadway by Tower theater, I merely wrote to the city councilman who has that district (and also the district where I live) and pointed out how blighted the block is that Joe Marty's was on and how nothing seems to be happening with it. The city seems really proud of this area but that whole block looks like crap. And I'm including the comic book store in there. Get a new window painting already!

Did anybody else see that article in the sunday bee about how the bosses at nonprofits are reaping huge raises in the last few years? The head of the Crocker was included in there. Let's just hope they spend that money wisely.

katymonster said...

oh man. nonprofits know how to shell out.....

armeniac said...

If the Crocker expansion leads to them getting higher levels of art I'm all for it. That is truly the measure of a museum, the collection. The Crocker holds a niche collection of California art and some c-b level paintings from Europe. They do have wonderfull traveling exhibits that come through, but they need to get a top quality collection to fill that new space or it's wasted $$.
Some of the best museum I've seen were in local city musuems in europe, give the Crocker $$ to get some masterworks and the prestige will follow.

Anonymous said...

That's really interesting about the Crocker - I've known several current and former curatorial staff members there and have heard comments (personal opionions, mind you) about how while the push is to move the collection and museum profile to the "next level" it could be at the expense of staff positions. Obviously any type of one-time collections purchase has a lesser ongoing financial committment than FT staff, but who's going to manage these collections if there's never any money for staff?