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Meet Max Hollein
Max Hollein

Photo by FAMSF

On June 1, Max Hollein became the new director of the Fine Arts Museums. Born in Vienna, Max comes to us most recently from Frankfurt, where he directed the Schirn Kunsthalle (since 2001), as well as the Städel Museum and the Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection (both since 2006). Max studied art history at the University of Vienna and business administration at the Vienna University of Economics and began his career at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. We asked members to send their own questions to ask our new director.

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Photo Competition: “A Ruscha With Words”
The image on the far right (OK) should be cropped to eliminate the black strip at the bottom (it's background, not a part of the image). This might require the detail to be enlarged a bit to fit the rectangle.

L-R: Ed Ruscha, Rancho (detail), 1968. Oil on canvas, 60 x 54 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Steven and Alexandra Cohen, 2006; Ed Ruscha, There and Here, State II (detail), 2007. Color lithograph, 18 5/8 x 27 15/16 in. Gift of the Artist; Ed Ruscha, God Knows Where (detail), 2014. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 in. Collection of Robert Lehrman, courtesy of Aimee and Robert Lehrman; Ed Ruscha, OK (State II) (detail), 1990. Color lithograph, 27 1/16 x 35 15/16 in. FAMSF, museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund. All images © Ed Ruscha

Along with a passion for California and the West Coast, a key theme in Ed Ruscha's work and Ed Ruscha and the Great American West is the abundance and playfulness of words. Throughout his career, Ruscha experimented with words, song lyrics and sayings, even filling notebooks with them and waiting for the moment that the temperature of a word becomes "really hot."

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Housekeeping: The Thinker
applying wax to The Thinker

Photo by FAMSF

In this post, Geneva Griswold, the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Objects Conservation, explains how she and her colleagues keep Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker looking its very best. Read on for more about how the job involves a propane torch, why boat exhaust is an issue, and how hard it is to get to that awkward spot on the back of the leg.

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10 Works of Art to Avoid If You're Hungry
Ed Ruscha, "Pepto-Caviar Hollywood",1970. Color screenprint, 15 x 42 1/2 in. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund, 2000.131.37.1 © Ed Ruscha

Ed Ruscha, Pepto-Caviar Hollywood,1970. Color screenprint, 15 x 42 1/2 in. Published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Museum purchase, Mrs. Paul L. Wattis Fund, 2000.131.37.1 © Ed Ruscha

Did you know that some of the prints in Ed Ruscha and the Great American West were made with edible materials? Pepto - Caviar Hollywood in particular was made with - you guessed it - Pepto Bismol and caviar, perhaps a reference to the excesses and obsessions of the Hollywood film industry.
What other works of art pique our interest in food? If you’re looking to tame the grumble in your belly, look to these works for inspiration on your next snack:

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Preserving a Giant: Treatment of a 19th-Century Photograph
Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Big Tree Grove, California after treatment

Howard Clinton Tibbitts, Grizzly Giant with Troop F in Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, Yosemite National Park, 1899. Gelatin silver print, 39 3/8 x 29 7/16 in. Gift of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company

Anisha Gupta, Graduate Intern in Paper Conservation

Wild West: Plains to the Pacific, now open at the Legion of Honor, includes a spectacularly large photograph from the Museums’ collection, taken by Howard Clinton Tibbitts (1863–1937). Tibbitts was a San Francisco–based photographer who documented the American West for the Southern Pacific Railroad’s magazine Sunset, still published today. This photograph from 1899 depicts members of the U.S. Cavalry’s Troop F, who were charged with the protection of Yosemite from 1883 until 1916.

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Indispensable: Steve Ferrera
Detail of the artist working

“Indispensable” is a series that asks the de Young’s Artists in Residence to describe a tool that’s essential to their work.


Steve Ferrera was desperate, so he went to the Alameda Flea Market and bought a bag of used dental tools.

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