Gertrude, Barbara, Florence and me

On Contemporary Jewish Museum ExhibitTuesday, Barbara and Florence and I took the BART into San Francisco to attend a luncheon and presentation about a new Gertrude Stein exhibit coming to the Jewish Contemporary Museum in May. Dr. Wanda Corn is the guest curator for the original exhibition, and has been working at a feverish pitch with Tirza True Latimer, Guest Assoc. Curator, and Connie Wolf, Director and CEO of the CJM.

The Exhibit, and accompanying book is entitled SEEING GERTRUDE STEIN: FIVE STORIES. Dr. Corn’s lecture and photos were fascinating, down-to-earth, humorous and enlightening, both to me and to other Gertrude fans at the luncheon. Wanda Corn is the kind of lecturer that we all wanted to have in college.  I can’t imagine why she’s not at Wellesley!

The Five Stories encompass Gertrude’s “lives” relevant to Portraits of Stein, Domesticity and Alice Toklas, her Post World War I friendship with the young, male, gay and global Neo-Romantic artists,  her Celebrity Years, after the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, and finally her Legacy, illustrated in literary and  performing arts, and her pioneering feminism.

Florence, Barabara and I had a great time (and I was a bit lionized for being the Stein on site – always a pleasure).

SEEING GERTRUDE STEIN: FIVE STORIES is being presented by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.  The exhibition will open first at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in May 2011 to remain on-view until September 6, 2011.

Wanda M. Corn is a senior scholar of late 19th and early 20th-century American Art with a PhD from New York University (NYU). She taught at NYU, University of California, Berkeley, and Mills College before moving to Stanford University in 1980 where she served as chair of the Department of Art and Art History and Acting Director of the Stanford Museum. Since retiring from teaching at Stanford in 2007, Dr. Corn continues to lecture, research, write, and curate major museum exhibitions. She has dedicated more than half of two separate fellowships—one at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard University, and one at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art—to her research on Gertrude Stein.

A fully illustrated and scholarly exhibition catalogue will be edited by Professor Wanda Corn and will include major contributions by Dr. Corn and Tirza True Latimer, PhD. The book will be published by the University of California Press, Deborah Kirshman, Editor.

To see what Barbara, Florence and I did after that, go to the next link:

Barbara, Florence and me

We went on a rampage!  Well not exactly.  We headed for Union Square, the Christmas lights and decorations and Macy’s windows. UP AND DOWN the escalators to every floor, all the way to the top 7th floor where the Christmas decorations were, and beyond to the outside terrace overlooking Union Square.  Dusk was descending over the ice skaters and pedestrians, the car lights just pricked the grey light, and if I put on my Chanukah 3-D glasses I could see tiny neon dreidels everywhere.

Florence rising up

Barbara coming up the escalator

We finished with a trip to the cellar level to “visit” Boyd, Barbara’s husband, who had been called from the New York Macy’s to start the Housewares department here in San Francisco. If not for that “call” we-all might never have met.  Thank you, Macy’s.

More to come: TEA! At Neiman-Marcus.


About Stein Ink

Gertrude Stein's cousin. Writer, Reader, Knitter. STARR Restaurant Reporter and Virtual Travel Editor for the Tri-City Voice, serving communities East of the Bay (as in San Francisco Bay Area). Married with one wife, one small dog, and an irritable cat. Raised on the East Coast, where they have an "edge" not found out here in California. Two grown children: good men with families.
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