Posts Tagged ‘sculpture’

The Least Politically Correct Sculpture in San Francisco Has Got To Be This One, On Display at Civic Center

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

It’s called Early Times, or something.

A friar lays his Jesus trip down on a native Californian, back in the day:

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Oh well…

Don’t Forget the Sculptures When Cleaning the California Academy of Sciences: Maya Lin’s “What Is Missing” Gets Scrubbed

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Scrub-a-dub-dub at our CalAcademy: What Is Missing?”

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What is missing?

OMG, Picasso’s Famous “Head of a Bull” Bicycle Sculpture Coming to the de Young Museum – Happy Birthday Pablo!

Monday, October 25th, 2010

As our de Young Museum wishes artist Pablo Picasso a happy 129th birthday, let’s look forward to Picasso from Musée National Picasso, Paris coming to Golden Gate Park on June 11th. Deets below.

This is what will be hanging on the walls, it’s Head of a Bull (1942):

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Make a version of your own, why not?

The girls would turn the color of an avacado
When he would drive down the street in his El Dorado
Why, he was only 5′ 3, girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso was never called a butthead
Not like you
Yeah, he was really something

The de Young hosts an extraordinary exhibition of more than 100 masterpieces by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) from the permanent collection of Paris’ world-renowned Musée National Picasso. The once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, made possible only because of the temporary closure of the Musée Picasso until 2012 for extensive renovations, comprises paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints drawn from every phase of the artist’s career.  The works on view demonstrate the wide range of artistic styles and forms that the artist mastered, including: La Celestine (1904), from the artist’s Blue Period; Two Brothers (1906), from the Rose Period; Expressionist studies for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907); the Cubist Man with a Guitar (1911), the Neoclassical Portrait of Olga (1917), the artist’s wife; the proto-Surrealist Two Women Running on a Beach (1922); Portrait of Dora Maar (1937), the artist’s lover and famed French artist; six Surrealist bronze heads of the artist’s mistress, Marie-Therese Walter; the Head of a Bull (1942) fabricated from a bicycle seat and handlebars; the bronze Goat (1950); the six life-size bronzeBathers (1956); and the late self-portrait, The Matador (1970).

The Spire: Andy Goldsworthy’s Tree Sculpture is Now an Icon of the Presidio

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I thought they would have taken down The Spire from Andy Goldsworthy by this time, but it keeps trucking along.

It’s practically a landmark now – you can’t miss this 90 foot tall icon if you’re in the area.

As it looks at sunset:

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All the deets, from when it was new:

Artist Andy Goldsworthy Makes New Art from Aging Presidio Trees. Renowned artist interprets the historic Presidio forest
Presidio of San Francisco (September 18, 2008) – Renowned British artist Andy Goldsworthy is bringing his vision to the Presidio in a new work that showcases efforts to save the Presidio’s aging forest. The artist’s team has begun work in the Presidio in a cypress grove along the Bay Area Ridge Trail above Arguello Boulevard. The new work is entitled “The Spire.” 

”The Spire” will be made from 30 to 40 cypress trees that the Presidio Trust forestry crew has saved following its reforestation effort in the area. The sculpture will be about 15 feet in diameter, tapering to 90 feet at its peak. The Trust has removed about 150 dying trees from the grove and over the next decade, will replant 1,200 trees in the area. The new trees will grow up around the sculpture, which will eventually disappear into the forest. “The sculpture will be a poetic reference to the forest’s past and will welcome the next generation of trees,” said Presidio forester, Peter Ehrlich. “In 20 years the new trees will be about as tall as the sculpture.”
Goldsworthy is known to many through the 2001 film, “Rivers and Tides.” He draws his inspiration from places and creates art from materials found close at hand, such as twigs, leaves, stones, snow, and ice, and his works interact with their environment.
“The Spire” recalls one of his earliest sculptures, “Memories,” also spires of mature trees, created in 1984 in the Grizedale Forest in the Lake District of North West England. “I have not found another great location for this type of work until now,” said Goldsworthy. Today, the sculptures are among the more than 60 works of art in the Grizedale forest.
The Presidio Forest was planted by the United State Army at the end of the 19th century in an effort to beautify the post and to set it off from the city that was growing around it. “The forest is made up of Eucalyptus, pines, and cypress trees. The trees were planted over a short period of time. While the Eucalyptus trees are thriving, the pines and cypress, which typically live for about a century, are dying. We will replant these trees in one- and two-acre groves over the coming decades,” said Ehrlich. “By staggering the reforestation over as long a period as possible, we will create an uneven-aged forest, one that will be healthier and more sustainable.”
The Presidio Forest is a dramatic example of how people have shaped the landscape of the historic military post. In 2006 Goldsworthy visited the Presidio and was inspired by the history and character of the forest. The Presidio’s man-made forest is an evocative backdrop for the artist who strives, “to make connections between what we call nature and what we call man-made.”
Work on the sculpture will continue through the end of October, at which time the public will be invited to take a walk along the Bay Area Ridge Trail and discover “The Spire.”
Andy Goldsworthy was born in 1956 and spent his childhood in Yorkshire, England. He has made most of his art in the open air in places as diverse as the Yorkshire Dales, the North Pole, and the Australian Outback. He is known to many Americans through the film, Rivers and Tides, which was released in 2001. His works in the Bay Area include “Stone River” at Stanford University made from the rubble left after the Loma Prieta earthquake, and “Drawn Stone” at the De Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which also recalls San Francisco’s earthquakes and their effects.
The Presidio of San Francisco is a national park and a National Historic Landmark District. Four hundred and sixty nine historic buildings and diverse historic landscapes, such as the forest and the parade grounds, contribute to its landmark status. The Presidio is overseen by the Presidio Trust, established by Congress in 1996.

Raygun Gothic Rocket Inspires Supervisor David Chiu to Consider a Burning Man Trip

Friday, August 6th, 2010

That 40-foot-tall Raygun Gothic Rocketship down at Pier 14 is already having an effect on people. For example, it has David Chiu, District 2 rep and President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, pining for the Playa.

Per Steve Rhodes, “after seeing this he might go to Burning Man for the fist time.”

Via Steve Rhodes

Bon voyage!

[UPDATE: Mayor Gavin Newsom was on the scene as well. Read an account, after the jump.]

Via Steve Rhodes:


OMG, Forty Foot Tall Raygun Gothic Rocketship to be Unveiled Friday Afternoon at Pier 14!

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

From LiveSOMA comes the news that the Black Rock Arts Foundation is counting down to the Opening Reception / “Landing Party” for the 8-ton  Raygun Gothic Rocketship installation at Pier 14 (at the foot of Mission Street) on Friday, August 6th, 2010 starting at 3:00 PM.

This is a fine replacement for the Bourgeois Spider (aka Bougie Spider aka Crouching Spider) from Louise Bourgeois, R.I.P.  

Photo: Tomas McCabe

Isn’t it awesome? OMG, it opens up!* Check out the insides via an awesome video from

But, as you know, getting anything done in the 415 ain’t cheap – San Francisco has a well-earned reputation of being America’s most expensive city in which to conduct business, west of Chicago anyway. So why not see what you can do to help?

Check it:

“The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to collaborate with artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, and their talented crew ( on the installation of the iconic, large-scale sculpture, The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14 on San Francisco’s waterfront from August 2010 until September 2011. The 40-foot-tall art piece, The Raygun Gothic Rocketship, offers a retro-futuristic, highly-stylized vision of space travel circa 1930’s-1940’s science fiction and is the latest in a series of temporary public art exhibitions sponsored by BRAF with the aim of enlivening and activating public spaces.

Is this the very same craft that you saw on The Playa last year? Hells yes, playa! (Leave us note NK Guy’s excellent photos of RGR from last year’s Burning Man.)

A nice poster non?

In closing, Raygun Gothic Rocketship! Raygun Gothic Rocketship! Raygun Gothic Rocketship!

(If we can manage to keep the vandals, the taggers (both corporate and non), away from this thing, we’ll be in good shape.)

“Dear Friend:

You are invited to join us in celebration of the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s latest Civic Arts Program project, the installation of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14 in San Francisco, California. Come hear more about this ambitious undertaking from the crew that made it happen. Enjoy entertainment, dj’s, light refreshments and surprises from the Rocketship crew! The Rocketship will remain on view, free to the public, until October 7, 2011!”

*Sadly, the ship’s hatch won’t be open to the public for various reasons, like the ADA and the chance of falls from 15 feet up etc…

A great shot from Nick Winterhalter:

Get Your Very Own Harvey Milk Bust for Just $350, $1500, or $2500!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Remember all the trouble people had getting Harvey Milk back into City Hall, what with all the issues involving the placement of the busts of former Mayor Willie Brown and that Filipino-killing super-cracker Frederick Funston? Well, now that that’s over, why not get your own Harvey?

It’s new, it’s you. Check it out at And best of all, most of your money will end up going to the San Francisco Arts Commission,, GLBT Historical Society and Lyric.

As seen just atop the Grand Staircase:

via Son of Groucho

All the deets:


Available in three styles, the busts are replicas of the commemorative sculpture of Harvey Milk located in San Francisco’s City Hall.

60% of proceeds support the San Francisco Arts Commission,, GLBT Historical Society and Lyric.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2010 – Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Luis R. Cancel is pleased to announce that Jonah Hendrickson, one of the original artists who created the commemorative bust of Harvey Milk at San Francisco’s City Hall, has made replicas of the bust, which are available for sale. Following the dedication of the sculpture in City Hall in 2008, both Mr. Hendrickson and the Arts Commission received numerous calls from people interested in purchasing reproductions. According to Mr. Hendrickson, “I realized there was a demand from parties who wanted their own copy for the home. I just thought, if people wanted these, why not make them available?” The busts, which come in three styles in both bronze and plaster, can be purchased online at and range in price from $350 to $2,500, see below for further details. Sixty percent of all proceeds will benefit the San Francisco Arts Commission,, GLBT Historical Society and Lyric. 

“I thought if these reproductions take off, it would be a great opportunity to channel a percentage of the profits back to the LGBT community,” said Mr. Hendrickson. “My hope is that these donations will continue Harvey Milk’s legacy of furthering equal rights and also support the great civic work of the Arts Commission, which ensures that the arts are an integral part of the City’s identity.”

Ever more deets, after the jump


Is It Really Worth $1000 a Day to Pump the Water of Vaillancourt Fountain?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

What makes the water in Vaillancourt Fountain (aka Québec libre !), that boxy water sculpture down in Justin Herman Plaza, go? Natural gas, most likely. All that methane energy gets converted into electricity and that’s what powers the pumps.

Of course it costs money – a quarter million per year back in aught-four, back when ‘lectricity was cheaper. So is it a reasonable guess that the bill is substantially higher these days?

Here it is, at its most beautiful, as captured by the talented David Yu:

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What is this thing, a monument to graffiti?

What does it say to you, “Canada out of Québec,” or something?

Is this thing destined to burn money and take up space in perpetuity, all because some people, some people lost to history, made a bad (or good, You Make The Call) decision four decades ago?

Upper Crust Sculpture from Patrick Dougherty in Civic Center Continues – Docent Tour Today

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Luis R. Cancel, director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, would like you to know that Patrick Dougherty’s Upper Crust, which was supposed to end yesterday, has been extended through February. Here’s what it looks like.  

And there’ll be an official, one-hour First Tuesday of the Month Docent Tour to explain What It All Means starting at noon today, Tuesday, December 1, 2009. Just head to Civic Center and find the group of people looking up at the eucalyptuseses.

Like these. Those branches added to the trees? That’s part of Upper Crust.*


via Shapeshift

(Hey, whatever happened to our Civic Center Victory Garden this past summer? We had one last year, right? Isn’t this kind of thing a “growing movement” or whatever? So what gives? Speaking of which, when is the Great Lawn of Civic Center going to come back? We lost it ’cause of Victory Garden ’08, but now we have no garden and no lawn, we’re left with just a plane of plain gravel. Mmmm…)

Anywho, if you can’t make it to the tour, SFMike’s Civic Center Blog has lots and lots of info.

All the deets after the jump.

*I was s’posed to tell you about this exhibit last year, but the official photos that I was going to post (from a City-favored “woman/minority-owned business contractor” or something) were unusable in a unique, headache-inducing OMG-Canon-SLR-with-a-bright-flash-but-the-body-is-not-in-Manual-Mode kind of way, so I forgot about the whole thing. My bad. Could I provide The City with list of hungry-for-work women/minority-owned small businesses that would have done a competent or better-than-competent job? Oh yes, easily. Oh well.


Language of the Birds in North Beach Recognized as One of America’s Best Public Artworks

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Have you seen this one yet? Read all about it, below.

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via Steve Rhodes

The San Francisco Arts Commission’s The Language of the Birds Recognized as One of America’s Best Public Artworks at the 2009 Americans for the Arts Convention in Seattle.

San Francisco, CA, June 26, 2009– Luis R. Cancel, director of cultural affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission, is pleased to announce that The Language of the Birds, a permanent site-specific sculpture by San Francisco artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn located at the intersection of Broadway and Columbus avenues, was selected as one of the best public artworks in the United States at the 2009 Americans for the Arts convention held in Seattle from June 18–20. During the annual Public Art Year in Review session, two independent art experts, artists Janet Echelman and Mildred Howard, presented 40 of their top choices for the most innovative permanent or temporary public artworks created or debuted in 2008. The Language of the Birds was chosen from more than 300 entries from across the country.

“Since its dedication in November, The Language of the Birds has brought excitement and poetry to a dense urban streetscape, transforming one of the City’s busiest intersections into a destination. The artwork also set a new precedent as the first solar power-offset public artwork in California,” stated Luis R. Cancel. “We are proud to receive this honor as it brings national attention to San Francisco’s community of pioneering local artists and exemplary Public Art Program, which is deeply committed to enriching our City by commissioning new artworks of the highest standards.”

In addition to Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn, San Francisco-artists JD Beltran and Scott Minneman’s recent project Downtown Mirror located in downtown San Jose and Teresa Camozzi’s Now Becomes Memories, Tomorrow Becomes Now at the Haggard Library in Plano, Texas also received recognition at the Public Art Year in Review session.

According to Supervisor David Chiu, “The Language of the Birds has become an iconic landmark for District 3 where locals and tourists alike stop to marvel at the installation. I congratulate Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn along with the other San Francisco-based artists on achieving such an honor. Their work has helped distinguish this City as a world-class destination for arts and culture.”  

For nine years the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America, has recognized public artworks.  The artists and commissioning organizations involved in creating and citing the recognized public artworks will receive letters of recognition and congratulations from Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch.

For more information about The Language of the Birds, visit the “Press Release” section at or contact Kate Patterson at

Established by charter in 1932, the San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts in San Francisco. Led by the belief that a creative cultural environment is essential to the City’s well-being, the Arts Commission programs permeate all aspects of City life. Programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Arts & Education, Cultural Equity Grants, Public Art, SFAC Gallery, Street Artist Licensing, and summer in the City Concert Series.
The Arts Commission’s Public Art Program was established by the City Arts Enrichment Ordinance in 1969, as one of the first of its kind in the country. The Public Art Program seeks to promote a diverse and stimulating cultural environment to enrich the lives of the city’s residents, visitors and employees. The Program encourages the creative interaction of artists, designers, city staff, officials and community members during the design of City projects in order to develop public art that is specific to the site and meaningful to the community.