Apr 212014

680 Folsom Street
SOMA East of 5th

Reflections at 680 Folsom street

This piece by Gordon Huether is titled Reflections.  It is part of the 1% for Art program in San Francisco.

According to his website Gordon Huether was born in Rochester, NY in 1959, to German immigrant parents. Having dual citizenship in Germany and the U.S., Huether has spent much time traveling between both countries. Huether learned art composition and appreciation at an early age from his father. In the course of his initial artistic explorations, Huether was resolved to create a lasting impact on the world around him through the creation of large-scale works of art. He took a deliberate step towards this goal in 1987 when Huether founded his studio in Napa, California.

 In 1989 Huether was awarded his first public art commission for the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute. Given the opportunity to collaborate with a building design and construction team, allowed Gordon to realize what he envisioned, and proved to be a significant step for him.

Reflections by Gordon Huether


Reflections draws on Huether’s belief that our essence can always be found in nature and light. The dichroic glass panels mounted to the stainless steel frame allow the viewer to explore that essence through the images they reflect, whether beautiful and pristine, or dirty, damaged and decayed.   The piece is made of  glass and metal and stands 5 X 12 X 5 feet.

Glass piece of art work on Folsom Street

Apr 142014

240 2nd Street
SOMA East of 5th

Marine Firemens Union Headquarters

The Pacific Coast Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association often referred to as the Marine Firemen’s Union is an American labor union of mariners working aboard U.S. flag vessels. The Marine Firemen’s Union is an affiliate union of Seafarers International Union.The union was formed in San Francisco, California in October, 1883 by firemen on coal-burning steamers.

Marine Firemen's Union Headquarters

The building that holds this bas-relief was opened in 1957.  Sculptor Olof Carl Malmquist designed the exterior bas-relief depicting marine firemen at work in a ship’s engine room.

Olof Carl Malmquist

Olof Carl Malmquist (1894-1975) was born in Wallingford, CT on October 26, 1894. Malmquist studied under Lee Lawrie at Yale and continued on a fellowship at Rome’s American Academy. After settling in San Francisco in 1922, he provided architectural embellishments on many public buildings in northern California. He contributed greatly to the sculpture on Treasure Island for the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939.  He died in San Francisco.

Olof Carl Malmquist

I want to especially thank the authors of a wonderful book The San Francisco Labor Landmarks Guide Book, that was the only place I was able to find the artist of this historic piece.

Apr 072014

SFPUC Building
525 Golden Gate Avenue
Civic Center

Ned Kahn's Rain Portal

Rain Portal by Ned Kahn.  Kahn has several pieces around San Francisco that you can read about here.

Ned Kahn’s Rain Portal is located inside the lobby of the new Public Utilities building.  Kahn’s Firefly graces the exterior of the building and you can read about it here.

Rain Portal seeks to permeate an interior architectural wall with rain. Drops of water falling inside of an undulating polycarbonate membrane suggests the endless cycle of evaporation and precipitation.

According to Kahn, “One of the paradoxes of the Rain Portal is that much of the entire history of architecture can be viewed as the endeavor to keep rain out. Here we have invited it in.”



The installation covers two walls located on either side of the lobby stairway. The installation is a self-sustaining system that continuously recycles water to create the illusion of rain inside the clear polycarbonate wall panels. The extruded polycarbonate has multiple cells of plastic that through which water is pumped up from a reservoir at the bottom of the panels and released as small drops into the top. The artwork was dedicated with the opening of the building in June 2012.

SFPUC Rain Portal

The installation of Rain Portal cost $24,800, and was done by Gizmo Art Productions.  I was unable to find what the piece itself cost.

SFPUCThese two plaques are not part of Ned Kahn’s installation, but rather part of the buildings effort to be one of the foremost water conscious buildings in the world.  An important reminder while California enters another year of sever drought.

Mar 312014

154 McAllister Street
Civic Center

Peace by Reka


According to Reka’s own website:

James Reka – Melbourne, Australia

Self-taught artist

James Reka is a young contemporary Australian artist based in Berlin, Germany. His origins lie in the alleyways and train lines of Melbourne’s inner-suburbs where he spent over a decade refining his now-emblematic aesthetic. His character work has come to represent the beginnings of a new style of street art: clean, unique and not necessarily on the street (much to his mother’s joy). With influences in pop culture, cartoons and illustration, Reka’s style has become known for its fusion of high and low art. This style emerged from his Pop-Art-influenced logo design background, featuring simple but striking lines and colour ways. Over time, the logos and symbols he created for clients evolved into more structured, animated forms and embraced variances of the different media he began experimenting with.

This is Reka’s art: a paradox between sharp design and graffiti, held together with a fuse of passion and spray paint.



This installation was a result of Reka’s show at White Walls Gallery titled 3am Femmes.  The show ran October 12 – November 2, 2013.

Mar 242014

50 8th Street
SOMA/Civic Center

MAGS mural on Holiday Inn on 8th Street SOMA


I am a huge fan of  Lady Mags and Amanda Lynn, and they have been on this website many times. I have also been walking by this piece for quite a while, admiring it and yet not quite having a chance to take pictures when it wasn’t blocked by cars.  Finally, I had the chance, so here it is for your pleasure.

According to Amanda Lynn’s  website:

Lady Mags and I (aka Alynn-Mags) recently completed the largest mural production we have ever created, and it all happened in less than 5 days! We were asked to collaborate with JanSport and their ‘Live Outside’ campaign, to create a mural any size and any content that we could imagine. Mags and I decided to go bigger than ever and create a piece that was enhanced by elements of our fine art collaborations, traditional graffiti, and of course some lovely ladies! We are so honored and humbled by all the amazing support we have received with this project, and look forward to doing many more. Stay tuned for the official campaign launch and accompanying video of the whole process.

Amanda Lynn Mural*

Lady Mags Mural*

Lady Mags and Amanda Lynn*

Amanda Lynn and Lady Mags


If you follow this website often, you will notice that I have been doing fewer and fewer murals.   The reason is they have become repetitive.  I am in awe with anyone that can take brush or spray can to a wall and create something of beauty.  However, the art of so many of the artists I have focused on in this website can be recognized without the help of a guide.  The same might be said of Alynn-Mags, but it isn’t quite true.  Their work, while often of beautiful women, are of the same genre, but the paintings themselves are each unique and beautiful.

I look forward to catching other great street artists breaking out of their molds.

Holiday Inn Mural





Mar 172014

McDowell Hall
Franklin Street
Fort Mason
Marina District

Fort Mason, San Francisco

Fort Mason was originally called Fort Point San Jose



McDowell Hall Fort Mason, SF


According to a 2005 Historic American Buildings Survey Quarters 1 was built in 1877.  General Irvin McDowell secured $9,998.74 from Congress to construct Quarters 1. This building was not named McDowell Hall until July 1958, in honor of the General.

From the Report:

“The original building plans have not yet been found. Quarters 1 was originally built for General Irvin McDowell, the commander of the Military Division of the Pacific, who was stationed at Fort Mason. Prior to 1877, the building site was home to the Brooks- Grisar house, a privately-owned building constructed in 1855. In the course of constructing the general’s residence, the old Brooks-Grisar house was moved from its former location and relocated approximately 250 feet to the north. During the construction of Quarters 1, the Brooks- Grisar kitchen and servant’s wing were retained on site, moved slightly and set on new foundations to serve the same function for the new house. ”

oil painting of fort mason in its first daysThis oil painting, which once hung inside McDowell Hall when it was an Officers Club documents landscape characteristics of 1868 when Point San Jose (Now Fort Mason) remained an isolated outpost.

General's Quarters Fort Mason 1885Quarters 1 Circa 1885-Library of Congress

“The original architect is not known. The building was probably built from standard army quartermaster building plans. The United States Army contracted the construction of this building.

The building was owned by the United States Army from 1877 to 1972, when the property of Fort Mason was transferred to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service.

The original builders and contractors for this building are unknown. It is presumed that the original and all subsequent contractors were hired through the army’s quartermaster office. Almost immediately after the building was constructed, the army began modifications and upgrades to the building. Over the years, there were several different contractors hired for the work, although their information has not been found.

McDowell Lodge 1891Quarters 1 Circa 1891

Quarters 1 played a significant role during the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. The Commanding General’s house experienced little damage from the earthquake and the building was quickly pressed into service as the army’s emergency headquarters for firefighting and relief activities in the aftermath of the disaster. The divisional commander, General Adolfus Greeley, was not in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake so his second in command, Colonel Frederick Funston, assumed command until the general’s return. It was Funston who realized that the army’s Divisional Headquarters, located in downtown San Francisco, had been grievously damaged during the earthquake and would probably not survive the expanding fires. Reacting quickly, Funston established Quarters 1 as the emergency command post and coordinated the critical martial and civil law enforcement from the building. While much of the city’s down town was on-fire, Fort Mason was quickly designated as San Francisco’s temporary City Hall and emergency command center. Fort Mason was also home to the essential earthquake relief camps, where the soldiers provided food, water and temporary shelter to hundreds of homeless citizens. ”

Fort Mason after the earthquakeFort Mason’s  earthquake relief encampment. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library; photo circa 1909

Midway through World War II Quarters 1 was turned into an Officers Club it remained so until 2002 when the building was turned over to the GGNRA

McDowell Hall San Francisco

The following two photos are from the Fort Mason website, as the house is now available to rent for private parties.

Inside of McDowell Hall Fort Mason

Sadly the renovation looks as though it was done by the government, the rest of the interior is not worth any further photographs, but the views are rather fabulous.

The view outside the back of McDowell Hall in Fort Mason


Mar 132014

Maritime Museum
Aquatic Park

Hilaire Hiler Mural at Maritime Museum

The interior of the museum is painted with a large mural by Hilaire Hiler, These murals depict the mythic continents of Atlantis and Mu.

Hilaire Hiler


Many know the story of Atlantis, but Mu is not as well known.  Mu is the name of a suggested lost continent whose concept and the name were proposed by 19th-century early Mayanist, archaeologist, photographer, traveler and writer, Augustus Le Plongeon  Le Plongeon claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt and Mesoamerica, were created by refugees from Mu—which he located in the Atlantic Ocean. This concept was popularized and expanded by James Churchward, who asserted that Mu was once located in the Pacific

Mu and Atlantis


Hilaire Hiler was born in St Paul, Minnesota on July 16, 1898. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania; University of Denver; Golden State University, Los Angeles; and the Nat’l College, Ontario, Canada. Sailing to France in 1919, he continued at the University of Paris while playing saxophone in a jazz band. During the 1920s he ran the Jockey Club (an artists’ hangout) on the Left Bank. At the club he often played jazz piano with a live monkey on his back.

Upon moving to San Francisco in the 1930s, he was commissioned by the Works Progress Administration to paint these murals in the Maritime Museum. He contributed illustrated maps for the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939 and exhibited at the fair.

Hailer and Hiler Atlantis and Mu

From San Francisco he moved south to Hollywood where he opened a short-lived nightclub on the Sunset Strip. He then lived in Santa Fe (New Mexico), New York City, and in the early 1960s returned to Paris where he remained until his death on January 19, 1966.

Hiler was a Modernist. He helped found the idea of ‘Structuralism’ which aims to create harmony by the presentation of organized color and form. Structuralism design is made for contemplation.

Hailer Hiler Atlantis and Mu

Hiler’s works are in many museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of New Mexico, Oakland Museum of California, Portland Art Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Georgia Museum of Art. His work is in numerous private collections in the United States and abroad.

Hilaire Hiler Atlantis and Mu



Atlantis and Mu


I found this when pursuing the Hiler papers in the Archives of American Art.  I thought it to much fun not to share.Hailer Hiler 1964 ResumeThis was drawn up around 1965.

Atlantis and mu*

Atlantis and Mu


Mar 112014

Terminal Three
Post TSA

spyrogyrate at sfo

One weekend in January 2014 the city of San Francisco and the contractors opened the new Terminal Three to the public before it went live.

I used the opportunity to capture as much public art as I could before you had to buy an airline ticket to get access to this part of the airport.

The lighting in the terminal is pretty bad.  There are big windows letting in lots of natural light, but the placement of the art made reflections, often the only thing, I was able to photograph.

This piece by Eric Staller proved to be very popular, it didn’t hurt that there was a DJ playing music for the kids to enjoy as well.

Spirogyrate by Eric Staller at SFO

Eric Staller was commissioned by the SF Arts Commission to create a children’s play area at SFO.  These are twelve, six foot diameter, spirals that seemingly propel one another like gears. The gears are laster-cut acrylic and are motorized to move both clockwise and counter-clockwise. The spirals sit under plate glass, and motion sensors activate the spirals to not only move, but change colors as people walk over them.

eric staller spirogyrate

Eric Staller was born in 1947 in Mineola, New York. His father’s avocation has been architecture, this inspired Staller to study architecture himself. In 1971 Staller completed a Bachelor Degree in Architecture at the University of Michigan.

Kids area at sfo


Spirogyrate was commissioned by the SF Art Commission for $304,000.

spiral at sfo

Mar 072014

Merrion Square
Dublin, Ireland

Oscar Wilde Marrion Square Ireland Dublin

This fun statue of Oscar Wilde, laying back without a care in the world is in Marrion Square, Dublin.  He is facing his boyhood home just across the street at 1 Merrion Square.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde,  was born in nearby Westland Row in 1854. Wilde, who spent much of his adult life in England, is regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest literary figures. Until the late 1890s, owing to a gay affair which led to a prison sentence and disgrace, he was the darling of the upper classes, entertaining them with his considerable wit and lively conversation.

Oscar Wilde statue

The statue was commissioned by the Guinness Ireland group for 45,000 pounds. It was unveiled in 1997. The sculptor was Danny Osborne.  Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson was the model used for the sculpture’s head.

The sculpture is carved from a variety of colourful semi precious stones from many parts of the world. Green nephrite jade from Canada, white jade from Guatemala, pink thulite from Norway, black granite from India and blue pearl granite. The boulder on which the figure reclines is granite from the nearby Wicklow Mountains.

The two pillars which flank Oscar Wilde on both sides are used to set out his thoughts,opinions, witticisms on art and life. These quotes were selected by a mixture of poets, public figures, artists, and scientists, who use Wilde’s own words to pay tribute to him.


Oscar Wilde Quotations


Danny Osborne was born in Dorset, England in 1949. He now resides in  Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada and Cork, Ireland. Osborne studied at Bournemouth & Poole College of Art. He is best known for his public sculptures, particularly this Oscar Wilde Memorial, listed by The Irish Times as one of the sites to see before you die. Osborn is also known for his paintings of the Canadian Arctic and his experimentation with lava flows to create sculptures. He is believed to be the first to figure out a process of casting sculpture out of live lava flows. His work has included lava casted sculptures from the active complex volcano Pacaya.

Oscar Wilde Quotes


On the top of these two pillars are Dionysus and Constance. Male and Female. With Oscar in the middle – the perfect triangle.

“The bronze torso of Dionysus stands on the pillar of Art. Oscar had a plaster cast of a statue of this god in his study in Tite Street, London, associating this image not only with wine and youth but also with drama. Because it is fragmented, the sculpture represents not any particular body, but the unattainable or lost ideal that is Art.

On the pillar of life, kneels the figure of Constance, 6 months pregnant, her hands cradling the life she is carrying, gazing across the path over her shoulder at Oscar. It is significant that Oscars first homosexual encounter occurred when she was at this stage of pregnancy with her second child. Here the figure is complete and realistic, and represents the tyranny of fact, and Oscar is not looking at her but beyond her.”  From Danny Osbornes website. 

Dionysus *

Constance Wilde


Feb 272014

Blarney Castle – Rock Close
County Cork, Ireland

Michelle Maher Dublin CastlePuffballs from the Inside Out

These ceramic pieces are by Michelle Maher.  Maher is a Ceramic Artist who lives and works in Castleknock, Dublin.  She graduated from N.U.I. Maynooth in 1996 with a Master’s degree, after studying English and History.

Ceramic Works by Michelle Maher at Blarney Castle

According to her website: 

My ceramic sculptures are an exploration of colour and texture.  Microscopic organisms often inspire my work and unusual plant forms and the science behind living things continues to fascinate me.  My passion is for large-scale sculptural work and my pieces are mostly for outdoor exhibition.

Michelle MaherSymmetry by Michelle Maher

I often design my work for installation in lakes, ponds, rivers and streams – the interaction of the ceramic with the water is very important to my practice.  Indeed, I have won a number of sculpture awards for large-scale outdoor pieces in a water setting.

Michelle Maher at Blarney Castle


These pieces are part of  Blarney Castle’s permanent collection.  The Symmetry piece won the Public Award for the sculpture most popular with visitors to the Castle in 2013.  In 2012, this same piece was exhibited in the National Botanic Gardens and won an award for Sculpture in Context.  Symmetry was inspired by coral and dahlia flowers.