Jan 252016
 
Murals of the Merchant Exchange Building

465 California Street Financial District Julia Morgan was responsible for the artistic elements, under architect Willis Polk, in the Merchant Exchange Building. Miss Morgan chose William A. Coulter, the leading marine artist of his time to fill the bays between the marble and bronze columns in what is now a bank lobby. William Alexander Coulter, (March 7, 1849 – March 13, 1936) was a native of Glenariff, County Antrim, in what is today Northern Ireland. He became an apprentice seaman at the age of 13, and after seven years at sea, came to settle in San Francisco in 1869.  A Continue Reading

Jan 202016
 
Art at the Merchant Exchange Building

465 California Street Financial District As you enter the lobby from the California Street side of the Merchant’s Exchange Building you will be greeted by many of San Francisco’s founders. These ceramic/clay sculptures are each about 36″ x 24″ and were sculpted by Mark Jaeger of Marin County. Mark was born in San Francisco and received a BA in Art Studio from UC Davis where he was influenced by Robert Arneson and Wayne Thiebaud. Mark currently lives in Marin where he teaches full time and operates his own studio in San Anselmo.  William Heath Davis was born in 1822, in Honolulu in Continue Reading

Dec 212015
 
Chinatown Public Library

1135 Powell Street Chinatown The Chinatown Branch of the San Francisco Public Library started its life as the North Beach Branch.  It was changed in 1958. Andrew Carnegie left the City of San Francisco, then under Mayor James Phelan, $750,000 for a main library and branches. One half was for the main library and the rest to be distributed amongst seven branch libraries.  The city paid the difference of $1,152,000. Most of these seven branches have been enlarged very slightly, all have been retrofitted to modern earthquake standards and all are included in San Francisco’s “List of Architecturally Significant Buildings.” All of the Continue Reading

Dec 072015
 
The Lone Sailor

Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point Marine County Side This statue, in the center of Vista Point on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge, is a replica of the U.S. Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. by Stanley Bleifield The Lone Sailor, represents a sailor’s last view of the West Coast as he sails out for duty at sea. The attending plaque reads: The Lone Sailor This is a memorial to everyone who ever sailed out the Golden Gate in the service of their Country – in the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine. Continue Reading

Hatuey

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Nov 302015
 
Hatuey

Baracoa, Cuba Hatuey is one of the most important people in Cuban history, originally from Hispaniola, he fled with many other natives to warn the people of Caobana of the treachery of the oncoming onslaught of the Spanish. Sadly the Caobanans did not believe him and few joined him in his fight against the Spanish. He was captured in February of 1512 and burned alive at the stake. The story that every Cuban child learns is that before Hatuey was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Spanish historian Bartolomé Las Casas wrote Continue Reading

Rosa La Bayamesa

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Nov 232015
 
Rosa La Bayamesa

Holquín, Cuba This statue is of Rosa Maria Castellanos,(1834-1907) created by Santiago de Cuba sculptor Antonio Lescay. Rosa La Bayamesa was a 36 year old daughter of slaves, a nurse and organizer of field hospitals during the Ten Years’ War, which was the beginning of the attempt for Cuba to escape Spanish rule. Bayamesa refers to the Cuban town Bayamo, the insurgent stronghold during the 10 Years War. Alberto Lescay Merencio graduated with a degree in Painting in 1968 from the “José Joaquín Tejada” Fine Arts Workshop; In 1973 he added a degree in Sculpture from the “Cubanacán” National Art School. He became Continue Reading

Aplique da Parete

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Nov 162015
 
Aplique da Parete

535 Mission Aplique da Parete – Gordon Huether – 2014 This piece is a pattern of dichroic and mirrored glass mounted to a stone backing.  The piece extends through the lobby to the exterior. This and The Band are intended to enliven Shaw Alley.  Shaw Alley is a public right-of-way that has been closed to cars and is expected to function as a pedestrian linkage to SF’s Trans Bay Terminal when it is completed. This is what the piece looks like in reality during the daytime, the first picture is the architects rendering. Huether has two other glass based pieces in Continue Reading

El Pelu

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Nov 112015
 
El Pelu

Baracoa, Cuba This is El Pelú sculpted by Ramon Dominque Gainza. El Pelú was a native of Coruña, Spain named Francisco Rodríguez. There is very little known about him other than at some point in his life he ended up in Baracoa, Cuba.  He apparently wandered the streets preaching until sometime around 1896 when his sermons became offensive and the town council expelled him. Legend has it that while standing on the wharf, waiting for the boat that would send him into exile, he said “In Baracoa many good plans will be made, many good ideas will be generated, but all of Continue Reading

Nov 102015
 
The Shipyard

Hunter’s Point has a wonderful naval history in the City of San Francisco.  The Shipyard is a housing development by Lennar Corporation that has overtaken the entire site, building housing where the Army once resided. Originally, Hunters Point was a commercial shipyard established in 1870, by the Union Iron Works company, later owned by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company and named Hunters Point Drydocks. The original docks were built on solid rock. In 1916 the drydocks were thought to be the largest in the world. At over 1000 feet in length, they were said to be big enough to accommodate the world’s Continue Reading

Oct 132015
 
Bayview Horn

Bayview/Hunters Point at the Shipyards 11 Innes Court The Shipyards at Hunters Point is a new Lennar Development.  Part of the project is $1million in art provided by a Federal Grant to the San Francisco Redevelopment Commission. This piece titled Bayview Horn is by Jerry Barish and was purchased for $125,ooo. Jerry Ross Barrish is a sculptor and fourth generation San Franciscan who works  in Dog Patch. Barrish is a figurative artist whose early assemblages are made of found objects, actual plastic refuse and debris collected from his long walks along the southeastern shoreline. Barrish received his Bachelor of Fine Continue Reading

The Band

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Oct 032015
 
The Band

535 Mission Street The Band by Anton Standteiner -2014 This piece is part of the City’s art requirement for new construction. The artwork is a sculptural composition by Anton Josef Standteiner entitled “The Band”, constructed of bronze, copper, and steel, situated at the corner of Minna Street and Shaw Alley. The piece consists of four separate sculptures representing members of a music group, with each sculpture measuring approximately 10 feet in height. Standteiner, along with his brother and father make up Mountain Forge, a metal working shop in Tahoe, California since the 1960s.

Jaques Overhoff and Margaret Mead

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Sep 142015
 
Jaques Overhoff and Margaret Mead

150 Otis Street Mission/South of Market   This sculpture, by Jaques Overhoff, has sat on the side of 170 Otis Street, The Social Services Building, since 1977. The abstract sculpture is accompanied by a poem by Margaret Mead. At this time I am unable to determine whether or not this is part of Overhoff’s intent or a separate art piece all together. Jaques Overhoff, who has been in this site many times before was born in the Netherlands.  He attended the Graphics School of Design at the School of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, and the University of Oregon.  He moved Continue Reading

Our Silences

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Sep 082015
 
Our Silences

Harry Bridges Plaza Until October 15, 2015 The Consulate of Mexico and Rivelino are touring Nuestros Silencios (Our Silences) sculptures, to deliver a message about freedom of expression. Each sculpture has a metal plate covering its mouth as an allusion to censorship. The artist hopes the installation will prompt reflection about the importance of speaking out. This installation toured Europe (Russia, Germany, London, Rome and Portugal) in 2009-2011. The most recent installation was in Ruocco Park at the Port of San Diego in January 2015. “Our Silences” is made up of 10 monumental anthropo­morphic sculptures, in white and ochre cast Continue Reading

Trader’s of the Adriatic

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Aug 312015
 
Trader's of the Adriatic

The banking lobby at the Sansome Street entrance to the Bentley Federal Reserve contains a mural by Jules Guerin. “Traders of the Adriatic”  features prominently in the entrance to the main lobby. It pays homage to the world of banking with its depiction of Venetian shipping merchants accepting receipts for goods on deposit and slaves attending to the masters of galleons while the masters give the Venetians rugs, gold, silver, and incense for safekeeping. In the background there is the Venetian coat of arms.   The mural is oil on canvas and is dated 1922. As part of a building restoration Continue Reading

Fillmore Car Barn and Powerhouse

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Aug 242015
 
Fillmore Car Barn and Powerhouse

Corner of Turk and Fillmore This was one of the first and one of the largest substations built at the turn of the century when street cars were first converted to electric power.  The construction date has been documented as both 1902 and 1907. United Railroads owner, the owner of the line when the building was built, was Patrick Calhoun.  Calhoun was a boxing fan and often hired professional fighters as motormen and conductors.  There was a gym to the right of the building, explaining why there are no windows on that side of the building.  That lot is now Continue Reading

Handsignals

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Aug 172015
 
Handsignals

McCoppin Plaza Market Street and Valencia Titled Handsignals, this piece sits in a small park made available after the tearing down of the Central Freeway that once bi-sected the area.  The McCoppin Hub Project was a joint project between SFMTA, SFAC and SFDPW. For this reason it was impossible for me to garner from the hundreds of meeting minutes that I read, exactly what this piece cost the taxpayers of San Francisco. Originally proposed by Rebar the final product was created by MoreLab. Handsignals refers to the formal qualities of the numerous theater signs prevalent in the Mission District, and repurposes that Continue Reading

Lincoln Park Steps

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Aug 102015
 
Lincoln Park Steps

Lincoln Park End of California Street Lincoln Park was dedicated to President Lincoln in 1909.  At the terminus of California street just past 32nd Avenue sit the Lincoln Park Steps.  These steps date to the time of the park and were the access for the surrounding neighborhood.  If you simply sit on the benches at the top of the hill you can enjoy views of downtown and fog permitting, the East Bay hills. In 2007 Friends of Lincoln Park began a campaign to have the stairs structurally supported and brought back to their glory days. With the help of the Continue Reading

Monumento al Cimmarón

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Jul 312015
 
Monumento al Cimmarón

The Monumento al Cimarrón, by Alberto Lescay, or Monument to the Runaway Slave is in the Cuban town of El Cobre.  El Cobre is home to the cathedral that houses Cuba’s patron Saint the Virgin on Caridad. Lescay has said “I feel the spirit of that work in others and I think I’ve found a road, because it is a very open proposal, not at all schematic or dogmatic and those are very universal codes that are expressed in it.” Lescay goes on to say that being a cimmarón is an attitude toward life, and will continue to exist as Continue Reading

Promised Land

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Jul 172015
 
Promised Land

10th and Market Streets Mid-Market As part of San Francisco’s 1% for Art program this 3500 square foot Public Open Space, at the corner of 10th and Market Street, was designed by Topher Delaney and Calvin Chin. The “official” description reads:” …cartographic layers of maps reflecting the exact location of the site in graded finishes of granite reflecting a scaled map 1:42 of San Francisco, bisected by intersecting granite trapezoids. One is etched with topographic lines indicating the California Coast and the other is etched with the watercourses of the Sacramento River which flows into the Richmond Bay surrounding San Francisco. Continue Reading

Center of San Francisco

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Jul 132015
 
Center of San Francisco

UN Plaza Civic Center What in the world is that brass cross in the middle of UN Plaza?  That is Joel Pomerantz of Thinkwalks pointing to something most San Franciscans probably don’t even know is there, or why. This is the spot used to measure the distance to and from the City of San Francisco to other cities around the world.  Why here?  Because this is where our original city hall once sat. The Hall of records is the round building in the front, City Hall is the taller one in the back. A common misconception is that distances shown Continue Reading

Hellenism in San Francisco

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Jul 072015
 
Hellenism in San Francisco

This plaque sits, somewhat neglected in an ivy bed at the corner of 3rd and Folsom Streets at the Moscone Center.  I, like so many people, have seen it, read it, and continued on my way.  I began wondering what was behind it. The Greek immigrant community was one of the largest and most conspicuous communities South of Market prior to the 1960s. Greeks had begun coming to San Francisco even before the 1906 Earthquake,  the community grew rapidly prior to the First World War as Greeks escaped their own war-torn and poverty stricken homeland. Many made their way across Continue Reading

Compton’s Cafeteria

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Jun 272015
 
Compton's Cafeteria

Corner of Turk and Taylor Tenderloin Funny how a plaque can stop you and educate you about something you may have known nothing about, and at the exact same time leave out so very very much of the story. If you were to hear about this event during those times you would have been told that in Gene Compton’s Cafeteria at the corner of Taylor and Turk Streets, in August 1966*, a person, described as a “queen” threw a cup of coffee in a police officers face.  The police began arresting “queens” and a riot broke out.  The riot included around 50 to Continue Reading

Playground Mosaics

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Jun 232015
 
Playground Mosaics

Father Boeddeker Park 295 Eddy The Tenderloin These little eggs sit in the playground area of the newly revitalized Father Boeddeker Park.  They were created by Laurel True of True Mosaics. Laurel has a degree from School of the Art Institute in Chicago and Parson’s School of Design of New York.  She presently is balancing her time between Oakland, California and New Orleans, however, she travels all over the world teaching the art of mosaic. Laura is also responsible for the Sun Spheres on Ocean Avenue. *

Bruce Hasson’s Ark

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Jun 152015
 
Bruce Hasson's Ark

Father Boeddeker Park 295 Eddy Street The Tenderloin The Ark – 1985 – Bronze This piece, by Bruce Hasson, sits in Father Boeddeker Park.  The statue, as well as the park have essentially been inaccessible to everyone until the parks 2014 renovation. According to the plaque that sits with the statue “Following a 1983 trek in the Peruvian Andes, Hasson was inspired by the mysteries of Inca stone work.  The Ark resembles a large geological artifact.  It is symbolic of a sanctuary that protects life and a reminder of the importance of preserving endangered animals and their natural habitat.” Hasson lives Continue Reading

Redding School Self Portrait

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Jun 082015
 
Redding School Self Portrait

Boeddeker Park 295 Eddy Street The Tenderloin Redding School Self Portrait by Ruth Asawa and Children of the School The Asawa piece is a tribute to Father Alfred Boeddeker.  Boeddeker was the Franciscan priest who founded St. Anthony’s Dining Room and he is the park’s namesake. The 4- by 16.5-foot bas relief wall mural is a portrait of Boeddeker surrounded by children.  Asawa was assisted by 100 schoolchildren from Redding Elementary School. The childrens’ images were initially created out of pastry dough, then coordinated into an overall design by Asawa. The piece was originally installed in 1985 and is made of glass Continue Reading

Labyrinth in Duboce Park

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Jun 022015
 
Labyrinth in Duboce Park

Scott Street Lower Haight Duboce Triangle This labyrinth was part of Duboce Parks revitalization plan. The plan, funded by Friends of Duboce Park, began with fundraising in 1997 and took years to accomplish.  The labyrinth was laid in 2007. It was proposed by Friends’ Janet Scheuer, who had walked labyrinths all over the world. “We need to create a quiet spot for people,” she said. She volunteered to “own” the project, find funding and work with designers. Hal Fischer headed up the fund raising. They raised $90,000, with $5000 from San Francisco Beautiful, $25,000 from the CPMC Davies Campus that Continue Reading

83 McAllister

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May 272015
 
83 McAllister

This is the Methodist Book Concern.  The book concern, established in 1789 in Philadelphia, was the oldest publishing house in the United States and used Abington press as their trade imprint. It is now the United Methodist Publishing House and it is the largest general agency of The United Methodist Church. The Methodist Book Concern furnished reading material to church members and helped support ministers, who received liberal commissions for selling the publications. ”The preachers still feel the need of the press as their most potent ally in their work,” said The Methodist Review in 1889 The building was designed by Lewis Continue Reading

The African American Monument of Savannah’s Riverfront

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May 192015
 
The African American Monument of Savannah's Riverfront

Savannah Riverfront East Side – near the Hyatt Elevator This monument was built in 2002, designed by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) professor Dorothy Spradley, it shows a family embracing with the chain of slavery at their feet. “We were stolen, sold and bought together from the African continent. We got on the slave ships together. We lay back to belly in the holds of the slave ships in each others excrement and urine together, sometimes died together, and our lifeless bodies thrown overboard together. Today, we are standing up together, with faith and even some joy.” Dorothy Continue Reading

Two Worlds Apart

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May 192015
 
Two Worlds Apart

Julliet Gordon Low Federal Building-Telfair Square 124 Broughton Savannah, GA Produced by Ned Smyth, these pieces were in conjunction with an exhibit at the Telfair Academy in 1992.  

A World Apart

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May 192015
 
A World Apart

The Center of River Street, on the west side of the Hyatt tunnel Savannah, Georgia This World War II monument is also known as “The Cracked Earth” monument. The two halves of the globe are split, representing the conflict of a world divided. Inside are the names of all who served from Chatham county, Georgia. The dream of the Chatham County Veterans Council, this memorial took ten years of fundraising to accomplish. Architect, Eric Meyerhoff,  was approached by the City of Savannah to help design the memorial. “This was a World War, and I wanted that theme,” Meyerhoff said. “The world was Continue Reading