About 10 years ago there was a large retrospective of Henry Moore’s work at the Legion of Honor. I dutifully went to have a look, yet have to confess that I rarely appreciate sculpture in a museum setting. I like to see sculpture outside and particular like to see large pieces in a more natural environment. Imagine if they could have closed the Lincoln Park golf course and filled it with Moore’s sculptures for the show. Yes, the security might have been a hassle and the golfers would have complained, but oh what a show. Ironically, what I liked best was on the walls, seeing Moore’s sketches for his work was nearly as interesting as the work itself.
In Northern California the best place to experience sculpture is probably the di Rosa Preserve up in Napa. The sculpture collection includes many pieces of public art that were rejected by communities. Communities like my own City, where the loudest nimby or hackneyed newspaper columnist feels entitled to act as art critic. San Francisco is a city bereft of public sculpture.
We do have a Henry Moore but it has to fight for attention on busy Van Ness Avenue in front of Symphony Hall. It’s a tough corner to work. But I always give it a look when I stroll by. On a recent trip I went past the sculpture and headed to the Main Library. At the weekly book sale out front I founded a tattered catalog of Moore’s work. Priced at only one dollar I felt no guilt in cutting up and creating today’s landscape.