There is a lot of art in this world.
Some beautiful, some odd, some disturbing, some breathtaking.
Humorous, political, religious, plein air...the list is endless.
There are also a lot people in this world who have opinions about how
we should view art. Educated opinions.
My philosophy is that the merit of a particular piece of art lies
(here comes the cliche) truly "in the eye of the beholder."
If you like it, great. If you don't like it, great.
Either way, I bet it gave you pause, and cause, to ponder.
The di Rosa Collection in Napa, CA is nothing like you've
ever experienced before. I came away with a skip in my step,
an injection of adrenaline in my creative veins, and an enormous
feeling of gratitude to Rene & Veronica di Rosa for loving and
collecting, and surrounding themselves with art that they connected to.
No rhyme, no reason.
It is vast. And it is quirky.
Style and subject matter? All over the map.
And it represents the talent of emerging Northern California
contemporary artists of the 1980's-1990's. And, most impressively,
the di Rosa's home was the venue for this vast collection of over
2,000 works by more than 800 local artists. LOCAL.
I love these people.
Now lets's take a little peek at this amazing and thought-provoking collection...
One of the many 1800's structures on the sprawling property.
The Gatehouse Gallery.
The Gatehouse Gallery. You can drop in and see the current
exhibit. But to see the Main Gallery, Residence and Sculpture
Meadow you need to go on a tour with a docent (a must-do).
Entering the Main Gallery.
Made with found objects, and mud.
Detail of the details.
Benches are important art pieces too.
This was all cut out of paper,
homage to the women seamstresses who died
in a sweatshop fire in NY.
It was made by the same artist who did the car.
The peacocks were communing with the saints.
This is the underground passage from the
Main Gallery to the Residence.
The stained glass installation is made of 27
tv screens, replicating the stained glass of
The basement of the Residence. This is how the
di Rosas lived with their art.
Rene di Rosa.
A man of much humor.
Rene di Rosa's office.
Staircase to the living quarters.
Or you can take the elevator.
Peacocks roam everywhere.
Looking down upon the Main Gallery from the residence.
View to the Tractor Shed.
The shower in the Residence, filled with bowling balls.
Veronica di Rosa's sitting room.
One of Veronica di Rosa's works.
The Kitchen, looking into the bell tower entrance.
(they let me ring the bell....pull hard, it's very heavy)
He loved hats.
Rene above the door.
One of only two works by Rene, a lynched VW.
A rare rainy day in Napa kept us from wandering the
Sculpture Meadow. Something to see the next visit....
Masks made of chewing gum.
This one is deserving of a second angle.
Tractor Shed, left, Residence, right.
The grounds from the jitney.
When asked if there is a favorite medium, Rene responded:
"Couldn't care less. What matters to me is what it's made into,
not what it's made out of. Multimedia. Chewing gum, crab claws,
hair, bones, bowling balls, feathers, marbles, brooms, boots and shoes.
Shirts. Pretty much anything - anything that smacks of life.
Paint is nice too."
Rene di Rosa has a quote displayed prominently in the Main Gallery,
that the collection is "divinely regional, superbly parochial, wondrously
provincial - an absolute native glory." A champion of native emerging artists.
"Big city museums everywhere want to be national and international,
with art imported from New York, Europe, and elsewhere grabbing
more and more space from what they were formerly showing:
art of the region."
And, finally, when asked what hopes Rene might hold for the
"I'd like to think that visiting a museum that doesn't intimidate and
doesn't follow the 'correct' preachy-teachy protocols has helped
people rediscover themselves and their own creativity. And I hope
that now they feel that art is not some lofty "should" - but can be a
real part of living. In fact, if creating art is good therapy, then isn't
viewing it beneficial - even therapeutic?"
RIP Rene di Rosa. You have left us a tremendous gift.
5200 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA 94559