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Public Art

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

$5M of Weaponized Tackiness: Super Bowl City Is a Depressing Bore

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 4:30 PM

PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane

I went to Super Bowl City, and it's absolutely terrible. It's a boring, badly planned surveillance state by and for people with shitty taste that manages to be as crassly commercial as a mall with lackluster foot traffic without any kind of glitz or spectacle. It is a tableau of weaponized tackiness, a failure of urbanism, and an irruption of banality into a public space with enormous potential. For $5 million — or whatever the true cost of San Francisco's sporting-event-by-proxy turns out to be — we should have gotten a lot more than this half-assed carnival of the jejune.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Interview: Leo Villareal's Bay Lights Returns Tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 11:30 AM

THE BAY LIGHTS
  • The Bay Lights

On Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7:25 p.m., Leo Villareal’s enormous work of public art, The Bay Lights, will resume its campaign of getting people to pay closer attention to the Bay Area’s second-favorite suspension bridge. Initially a two-year project, the second iteration partnered with sponsors like Heineken and Philips Electronics to include updated LED lighting and a program called Shine it Forward, where the public can dedicate individual lights to people they love.

We spoke with Villareal and Ben Davis, the founder, president, and CEO of the non-profit Illuminate, about what people can expect, how the Bay Bridge itself has changed since last time, and what the artist Christo said about this particular installation.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SFO Unveils Massive Mosaic As Part Of Ongoing Public Art Project

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM

JOHN JANCA
  • John Janca

“It’s a straight line and a curved line,” says San Francisco artist Amy Ellingson. She’s pointing to a 109-foot length of wall in San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 3, where her massive, 1,100-square foot mosaic mural, Untitled (Large Variation) ceremoniously watches over passers-by.

This is starting to feel like a trick. With our noses close to the thousands of tiny ceramic tiles in an assortment of colors, it’s hard to find a place for your eyes to rest, let alone decipher clear shapes. Ellingson is known for her smart approach to creating abstract work. It begins with extensive planning on Photoshop, before switching over to paint on canvas, or, in this case, large-scale mosaic. Whatever her medium, her preferred mode is “energetic.”

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Sculpture Lights up YBCA, Lets You Send Secrets Messages

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 12:00 PM

PHOTO BY TOMMY LAU. VIA YBCA ON FACEBOOK.
  • Photo by Tommy Lau. Via YBCA on Facebook.

In our high-tech society, star-crossed lovers, business colleagues and bored teenagers everywhere are finding new ways to communicate. No longer satisfied with analog methods, now we can send each other much shorter messages using digital means.

That’s nothing new but what will a love letter or business email look like in the next ten years? Hopefully as wild as Murmur Wall, a spiraling structure lit in bright purple near the entrance of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Hard to miss — especially during the darker hours — the piece allows curious visitors to read short messages and even send their own. You can type something into this website and watch your message immediately come up on the sculpture's pod-like spheres with small screens on them. You’re limited to 20 characters (and no symbols).

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Free Leonard: The Story Behind the Bay Area's Famous Sign

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM

click image CT YOUNG
  • CT Young

We’ve all seen the bright red “Free Leonard” signs while driving through the East Bay – they’re impossible to miss. The signs, typically lacking any information beyond “Free Leonard,” are a staple along Bay Area roads and have been around so long that they're pretty much folk art.

After years of passing them by, wondering who the hell Leonard is, I decided to finally do some research.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

The Mural that Brought a Community Together

Posted By on Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 10:15 AM

PHOTO BY EVA RECINOS
  • Photo by Eva Recinos

When Galería de la Raza began its Digital Mural project in 2007, it encouraged artists to take on strong political messages. The project was equally advocating for the use of digital tools in public artworks and the expression of important messages that would reference both hyperlocal and global issues.

Currently on display is a mural by Manuel Paul of the Los Angeles-based Maricón Collective, a queer Chicano and Latino artist and DJ collective. The mural depicts three scenes woven together: A male couple looking down and out of the frame and a female couple gazing into each other’s eyes frame the middle figure, a shirtless man looking into the distance with a furrowed brow. Bright flowers with thick thorns surround him and wrap around his chest near a scroll that reads “Por Vida,” or “For Life.” All the figures seem to be surrounded by chains and thorns, as if a sudden movement could result in intense pain. The thorns near the middle figure’s chest look almost like scars.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Artist Qinmin Liu Painted a 328-Foot-Long Line of Code at Twitter

Posted By on Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 3:36 PM

QINMIN LIU
  • Qinmin Liu

Qinmin Liu
, the biting Dadaist artist known for trading her kidneys for Apple watches and walking across San Francisco in the hopes of establishing some interpersonal connection, is back. Her Coding Project is a roundabout attempt to address the inequities of tech and the mysterious alchemy by which long strings of ones and zeroes become the architecture for modernity (and, by extension, the basis for widening inequality here in San Francisco).

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Coit Tower Murals Reveal Best View of SF Life

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

One of the murals depicting a slice a San Francisco life circa the 1930s—complete with a gun in hand robbery. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • One of the murals depicting a slice a San Francisco life circa the 1930s—complete with a gun in hand robbery.

Coit Tower
has taken on a royal blue hue in the last few days with the Golden State Warriors leading in Pacific Division championships against the Memphis Grizzlies of the 2015 NBA playoffs. Yet whether they hang on to their lead and advance and the blue lighting remains, there's still a 80-year-old masterpiece consisting of 27 pieces depicting a San Francisco of days gone by.  

If an excuse is needed to visit touristy Telegraph Hill, don't make it about the view (we've seen better) but for the Coit Tower Murals. 

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tourism for Locals: LeRoy King Carousel Takes Locals for a Spin

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 1:30 PM

JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda

No matter how old we get, San Franciscans will never stop being kids at heart —even when we get jaded and bitter from the rise of the cost of living. We're a city fostered in the spirit of youthful (albeit, child-like) creativity and enthusiasm.

For those looking to put a spin on their routine or seeking out an inexpensive excursion down Memory Lane , there's one location to go to unleash that inner child: The 109-year-old LeRoy King Carousel

Built in 1906, this intricately hand carved merry-go-round (carousels are comprised of solely horses) was constructed in Rhode Island by renowned designer and craftsman Charles I.D. Looff. The carousel was intended to be installed in San Francisco, however it could not be due to the great 1906 earthquake and fire.

In 1912 it was a permanent fixture in Sea Cliff's Playland-at-the-Beach until the fairgrounds closure in 1972. When Playland shut its doors, the merry-go-round was purchased by a private collector and put into storage in New Mexico. In 1983, it was brought out of storage and moved to Long Beach. 

Purchased by the City of San Francisco in 1998, it was fully restored and brought to Yerba Buena Gardens within the Children's Creativity Museum. It was renamed in 2014 after former SF Redevelopment Commissioner LeRoy King, who took his future wife on their first date on the carousel that now bears his name.

It’s a round-and round-trip that creates a lifetime of memories that's open Daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $4 per ride. 
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Tourism for Locals: Visiting Diego Rivera's The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 11:26 AM

A Diego Rivera masterpiece in San Francisco,  The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City. - JUAN DE ANDA
  • Juan De Anda
  • A Diego Rivera masterpiece in San Francisco, The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City.


San Francisco is home to many of the finest artists of the 20th century and the new millennium, whose works foster artistic rebellion and social critique. The City has played host to one of the greatest modernist painters of the 20th century, whose style exemplified revolutionary renegade art: Diego Rivera.

For those who don't know who he is, aside from his portrayal by the actor Alfred Molina in the 2002 Academy Award-winning film Frida starring Salma Hayek, Rivera was an enigmatic painter who fostered the muralist style of painting in Mexico at the turn of the last century.

Along with artists Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfredo Siqueiros, Rivera created allegorical and fantastical depictions of traditional indigenous cultures alongside uplifting and humane characterizations of working-class people that were welded with visions of a utopian future under socialism. The purpose of the muralist movement was to create public art that would educate those who were from low-income backgrounds, but also appeal to the aesthetic tastes of those from the higher rungs of the social ladder.

The first commissioned murals that Rivera painted outside of Mexico were in San Francisco.

Between 1930 and 1940, he painted murals in San Francisco, Detroit, and New York that focused on social and cultural progress through industry and technology. Here, he painted three murals, aiding him in getting global recognition for his technique and use of color. One of those works is titled The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City

Located inside the San Francisco Art Institute, the mural was commissioned by SFAI President William Gerstle, and was completed by Rivera in the course of one month, from May 1–May 31, 1931. Living up to its name, the fresco shows the building of a city and the making of a fresco, including the various individuals involved in the commission, such as artist assistants, architects, and general laborers.

The central figure of a helmeted worker, rendered in supernatural proportion, is the primary subject of the mural within the mural, thus driving home Rivera's belief of the importance of the industrial worker. Rivera makes an appearance in this mural, looking up to  the work, wielding palette and paintbrush, his back to the viewer. 

This is one of three Rivera murals in the city. The other two: The Allegory of California and Pan American Unity are located in The Pacific Stock Exchange and City College of San Francisco, respectively.

The gallery is open to the public from 8 a.m.until 9 p.m. daily

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