More than 50 guests filled the bus that took is into the renowned Oliver Ranch on Saturday for our third fundraising tour of the stunning works by internationally recognized artists. The only way to see this art is to enter the Ranch with a nonprofit organization that has made the cut with the Oliver Ranch Foundation, and we're grateful to have been invited for a third tour. Here we are at right, under way for the Ranch on our luxury bus.
Before that, however, came our delectable riverside breakfast. Our gracious comestibles host Jed Larkin (left) of Chef Jed Catering and guest Ed Weil help serve it up, below.
Our tour guide was Steve Oliver himself. Well-known in the Bay Area as a major contemporary arts supporter, advocate, and civic leader, Steve is the former chairman of the board of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he served as chair of Phase III of the New Museum Campaign in 1992, a role in which he was responsible for raising the final $5 million— a goal which he exceeded when he finished the campaign at $95 million.
It's a breathtaking experience to see this art. This installation, by Martin Puryear, is a mortared fieldstone sculpture with red cedar. When you peek in the front (it's hollow in there, but very dark),you have no idea what you're going to find when you walk around to the back (at right).
We decended into the installation by David Rabinowitch and Jim Jennings, "Visiting Artist Studios," architecture and carving in concrete walls, and then decided that sure, we could live and work there. Or spend a weekend. Or an hour. Whatever we can get.
Roger Berry's mammoth Corten steel sculpture "Darwin" (at right) is always a big favorite, for obvious reasons, with a scale that dwarfs a tour group.
Ditto Richard Serra's monumental six pairs of forged hyper-dense Corten steel blocks, titled "Snake Eyes and Boxcars." They are placed in precise mathematical relationships with each other and weigh up to 50 tons each. We spent a long time with them, riveted by Steve Oliver's stories about forging and transporting them. Below is CAFL board member LuNell Anderson, leaning against one with no fear of pushing it out of position! Note another pair, off in the distance. We moved on, but the pieces stayed.
Then it was on to a dual installation, Terry Allen's companion "humannature" pieces. They pretty much tell their own story, and WCC coach Paul Epstein (l.) is capturing part of it here with his camera. As for the second part of it, well, let's just say one of our guests is going to keep his belt tightened.
Near the end of the tour came one of the day's true highlight's, Ann Hamilton's famous performance tower, all eight stories of it (and that doesn't count the base under ground). It defies description, inside and out. Here we are, climbing in, and climbing (or sitting) up and down, with Richmond and Oakland Site Coordinator Karen Larson in a pose you won't see her in much while she's supervising her coaches.
It was a day to remember. We raised in the neighborhood of $8,000 (!), at least four times the amount from our previous Oliver Ranch tour two yearsa go. Many thanks to to our generous paying guests; to our organizers Shelli Fried and Kent Wright; to CAFL helpers and tour benefactors LuNell Anderson, Maureen Dixon, Kris Hafner, and Karen Larson; to our gracious in-kind contributors:
- Chef Jed Catering
- Blue Chair Fruit Company
- Oracle Team USA
- Alegio Chocolate
- True Grass Farms
- Steve Oliver and his Oliver Ranch Foundation staff. We hope to be back in two years!