Mission Artist Sendoff

San Francisco artist David Ireland, who passed away in May at age 78, proved to be one of the most challenging figures in a field already brimming with ornery ideas: conceptual art. He liked to upend viewers: “What makes a piece successful for me is when a viewer is totally ill-equipped to understand why a piece of concrete that I find on the street should be significant,” he told Oakland Museum of California curator Karen Tsujimoto in 2004, when the museum threw a 30-year, 80-piece survey of his work, which included drawings made of dirt and cement and an 18-foot-tall reading chair. That quote could go for his home as well: In 1975, he bought the looming, fortresslike Victorian at 500 Capp Street, just a rock's throw from Mission and 20th streets, and tore through the insides, filling it with art for 30 years. It needs paint — it has always needed paint — and it probably won't get it. That is, unless someone can sway the benefactor who bought it with the intention of honoring Ireland, thus saving it from becoming another Mission renovation with an open kitchen. Along with the minimalist house at 65 Capp he designed in 1979 (which went on to house the Capp Street Project artist residency program), the 500 Capp Victorian is one of the more intriguing windows into Ireland. Today, there's another: the SFMOMA Remembers David Ireland memorial service features speakers who were friends with the artist, including Tsujimoto, artist Tom Marioni, and Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II director of the Yale University Art Gallery.
Mon., Sept. 14, 4 p.m., 2009

 
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