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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Flying Furniture: Brian Goggin's Art Piece Defenestration Evicted

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

click to enlarge Flung furniture welcomes the sane to our City's crazy. - JUAN DE ANDA/ SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/ SF Weekly
  • Flung furniture welcomes the sane to our City's crazy.

Brian Goggin's art is iconic, internationally recognized, and purely San Franciscan in its entirety. The San Francisco-based artist crafts his high-flying pieces, ranging from flapping books to plummeting pianos -- each piece fusing with existing edifices and structures.

But even though his public art pieces can be considered unofficial monuments to the Foggy City, Defenestration, one of his most famous installations that features flung furniture flying outside the walls of the now closed Hugo Hotel, is getting tossed out of the window by the City to make room for affordable housing.

The temporary installation that lasted for 17 years, checked out of the Hugo Hotel June 3, as the City of San Francisco plans to demolish the decaying building. Goggin's work was moved to Varnish Fine Art Gallery in the meantime where it is up for sale to collectors and art enthusiasts.

Defenestration was Goggin's first public art piece that gained local and national attention for its novelty in concept and introduced us to his unique style of injecting animal-like movements to inanimate objects. Commissioned in 1997 as a site-specific piece from the National Endowment of the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation, and private donations; this art piece has 42 different pieces of furniture bolted to the window ledges and walls of the long closed Hugo Hotel located at Sixth and Howard streets in the SOMA neighborhood.

click to enlarge Sitting pretty in SOMA
  • Sitting pretty in SOMA

The falling furniture in Defenestration (which literally means to throw something out the window) includes grandfather clocks, rotary phones, tables, and ottomans. Suspended from the crevices, they appear to be hanging on for dear life, as though some invisible force is pushing them to be thrown out on the street.

According to the artist, the area has historically endured economic challenges and is often attached with the stigma of being identified as a skid-row kind of place. Having the abandoned furniture injected with life like movements, in turn makes art and people around the piece feel alive.

Although the installation was taken down and no longer available for viewing in its original environment, Varnish Fine Art has an online, interactive gallery for those wishing to witness the piece for the first time or for purposes of nostalgia. The Internet gallery will be on display until July 31, 2014.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?


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