Human Structures (San Francisco) // Jonathan Borofsky // 36 feet tall // galvanized & painted steel // 2008
This burst of color is a pleasant surprise when walking in the financial district of San Francisco. Located at 555 Mission Street, this tall sculpture consists of 62 figures stacked together. Artist Jonathan Borofsky used 12 bold colors including purple, red, blue, yellow and pink for his figures. This human structure highlights the importance of working together.
What is your favorite art work? I know you probably have one. At the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco a brown board is located in the main atrium with the question “If I could take one artwork home I’d pick ______ because_____.” Visitors are invited to write down their favorite work and explain their reasoning. My favorite in the Asian Art Museum is Boat by Zhu Jinshi. This installation is created with Xuan paper [calligraphy paper], bamboo and cotton thread. Walking through this work, the Chinese calligraphy paper creates an calm atmosphere, one perfect for relaxation.
Boat // Zhu Jinshi // Xuan paper, bamboo & cotton thread // 2012
The Death of Marat // He Xiangyu // 2011 // Painted fiberglass, silicone, fabric, human hair & leather // Ed. 1 of 3
OH MY GOODNESS. Is that man okay?! I cautiously approached him. My mind was racing. Why didn’t anyone go help him. Then it hit me, omg this man looks like the contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. This life-size and highly realistic man looks exactly like Ai Weiwei. This work, located in the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, is titled The Death of Marat after the famed painter Jacques-Louis David’s painting The Death of Marat in 1793 which depicted the martyred politician who was stabbed to death in his bathtub during the Reign of Terror. He Xiangyu was inspired by Ai Weiwei persevering through the revocation of his passport and imprisonment and decided to create a work of art to honor him. I think this striking piece is extremely effective don’t you?
High Heels for Going to Heaven // Yayoi Kusama // 2014 // Fiberglass-reinforced plastic, stainless steel & urethane paint // Photograph by Naomi Hatanaka
Remember to take your shoes off when you pass through security! That is what the TSA agents always remind you at the airport. At the SFO Airport, while you remove your shoes you can see on display artist Yayoi Kusama’s High Heels for Going to Heaven. The larger than life pair of red and white polka dotted heels, a characteristic of Kusama’s style, sprout flowers with little mirrors in the center. Aren’t you glad you don’t have to wear these shoes through the airport?
It’s Throw Back Thursday! I made a post on a Thursday a few months ago on the artist Rivelino and his thumb statue in Trafalgar Square in London. Jumping continents Rivelino once again has a large scale work in a very public center, the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Lining a pedestrian walkway stand ten larger than life white and brown busts. Their eyes and noses are shown but their mouths are covered serving as a symbol for free speech. San Francisco is not the only location to see these statues. They are currently stationed across the globe in Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the UK, Russia and Mexico in addition to the US.
Walking in the Financial District in San Francisco I stumbled upon a row of stone faces. Popping out of the grass, each face had distinctly intriguing facial features reminiscent of a Tim Burton character. These faces of happiness, indifference and surprise serve to provide a hint of humor in a fast-pace urban city.
Vaillancourt Fountain // Armand Vaillancourt // Precast aggregate concrete // 1971
Near the Embarcadero in San Francisco is the Vaillancourt Fountain. Designed by Québécois artist Armand Vaillancourt, the water to the fountain has been turned off due to the severe drought in California. Is this fountain still considered a work of art despite the lack of its main component, water? You tell me.
Polaroid Heart // February 12, 2015 // Sponsored by United Health Group
As Tony Bennett famously sang, he left his heart in San Francisco. In the past few years, over 130 artists have also left their hearts in the city by the bay. These hearts are not a figure of speech, nor a metaphor, they are actual hearts. Sculpture hearts. Part of a fundraiser for the San Francisco Hospital Foundation, these sculpture hearts were each designed and decorated by various artists and scattered throughout the city before being auctioned. The project was started in 2004 and continues today. I saw these three hearts in Union Square. Have you seen any others?
To see more of these hearts visit their website — http://sfghf.org/events/gallery-of-hearts/
America’s Greatest City By The Bay // Tony Bennett // October 25, 2005