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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

City to Demolish Furniture Art Building, Regardless of Artist's Crusade

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 6:30 AM

Sorry, Charlie
  • Sorry, Charlie
So you remember the iconic furniture art building we wrote about yesterday? It turns out the city is going to be demolishing the building whether the artist Brian Goggin restores it with $75,000 in donations or not.

Goggin tells us the original plan was to just demolish the building with the 13-year-running art installation named Defenestration. Goggin instead approached the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency for permission to keep the installation up until an interested developer gets the permits to build the planned affordable housing on the Sixth and Howard lot. After that, Goggin can take his installation elsewhere -- or it, too, will go down with the wrecking ball.
Isn't that a huge disappointment? Not necessarily. Goggin says the art installation at first was only slated for a six-month run when it went up in the 1990s, but has persisted for 13 years. He added that the year and a half until the building will be coming down is longer than most temporary installations.

"I will continue it only if there's interest in the community for it to

survive," Goggin said. "I'll miss it ... but

we need to look at what we value. Is this valuable? If it's not valued

it needs to go."

Goggin says that the city was mostly interested that the installation

was structurally sound -- i.e. that the bathtub that looks like its

teetering on the brink of tumbling out the window isn't actually going

to go through with it. The artist passed through the building with a

structural engineer and determined that in some cases, he needed to add

a strap, or prime some rusting metal, or take down a couple of chairs

"because the structure of the wood wasn't as stable as it should have

been." (Feel safe, pedestrians?)

But Goggin decided he didn't want the installation to just be

structurally sound, but to "bring life to the corner again," adding

back the lights that used to illuminate the exhibit. Thus the $75,000 improvement effort.

Goggin says he's been mulling moving the installation across the street

to the building of the 1:A.M. gallery. "I think the piece is full of

mystery and wonder, and could be effective in a number of contexts, so

I'm looking for it to continue. ... But at this stage, we're focused on

getting Defenestration looking good and stabilized, and from that point, we can explore the options of having it migrate."

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Lauren Smiley


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