Thursday, July 26, 2007

San Francisco Galleries

I was asked recently about if there are any good galleries in San Francisco that a tourist should check out. This is probably because I wrote a little entry on Santa Fe galleries the other day.

I don't feel like I have any particular special knowledge on the subject. The galleries in San Francisco are kind of strangely insular - it's not like they encourage walk in traffic for the most part. Many are in 49 Geary - but you would never know it. There's hardly any information that there are galleries there, just a security guard and an elevator. And there's got to be 20 galleries over five floors, some of which are pretty interesting. It's also kind of a cool building to just explore. There's also another, oh, maybe a half dozen a couple of doors over at 77 Geary. Both are basically where Geary hits Market, near Union Square. Definitely in walking distance of any tourists, but you would never know it from the street. I guess they know what they're doing but it's a strange business model as far as I'm concerned.

Don't be shocked if half of them are closed, incidentally - there's lots of "open by appointment" type places. Again, I don't really understand the business model (if their traffic is so low and people are coming to them why be in such a high rent area? And compared to their rent how much does it really cost to staff the place?)

As with most cities there's an informal day/time that they're open late and openings happen - it's the first Thursday of the month here.

Away from the city, I actually like Modernbook in Palo Alto a lot - it's in a nice shopping area not too far from Stanford. Nice space, interesting art, you can actually look in from the street and tell it's a gallery. There are some other cool galleries in Palo Alto too, actually, but it's kind of far away and I don't make it out there very often so I don't remember all of their names. There are also galleries in the Oakland/Berkeley area but I don't know any of them particularly well.

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