Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Canessa's Siren

Canessa's Mermaid by deanv41
Canessa's Mermaid, a photo by deanv41 on Flickr.

I stopped by The Canessa Gallery at 708 Montgomery at the foot of Columbus Avenue to get a good look inside this historic atelier. As previously mentioned in Fleeting House, the building has a tremendous cultural history. It's ground floor was once the Black Cat Cafe, an early gay bar and bohemian nexus from the post-Quake years until 1964, with a hiatus during Prohibition. The gallery space upstairs was once occupied by Ralph Stackpole who hosted Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera here when they came to San Francisco in the 1930s. The ménage electrified the city with parties and rumors of carryings-on. As i ascended the stairs, I imagined this shapely Siren repeating to me the last echoes of the great artists who had trod these same steps.

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