African Bead Museum

 Posted by on July 25, 2017
Jul 252017
 
African Bead Museum

Dabls’ MBAD African Bead Museum 6559 Grand River Avenue Detroit, Michigan * I had the absolute privilege to speak with Olayami Dabls, the creator of Dabls’ African Bead Museum (pictured above), and he told me some of his story.  He began this project during the Clean Up Detroit program, a project to help clear all of the empty lots of the trash and building parts left after many homes were bulldozed. He repeated often, how he was surprised the city had not shut him down and how happy he was to just keep doing what he was doing.  He did point Continue Reading

Pewabic Pottery

 Posted by on July 24, 2017
Jul 242017
 
Pewabic Pottery

1025 Jefferson Avenue Detroit, Michigan   Pewabic Pottery is a ceramic studio and school founded in 1903 by artist Mary Chase Perry Stratton and Horace James Caulkins. Caulkins was considered a high-heat and kiln specialist, and developed the “Revelation kiln”.  Caulkins invented the kiln to help with his dental supply business, he then sold his kilns to other dentists so they could fire enamel for their patients. Mary Perry Stratton was “the artistic and marketing force. Mary Stratton established the ceramics department at the University of Michigan and taught there. She also taught at Wayne State University. In 1947, she Continue Reading

The Saarinen House

 Posted by on July 23, 2017
Jul 232017
 
The Saarinen House

Academy Way Cranbrook Bloomfield Hills, Michigan A tour of the Saarinen house is an amazing look into the perfectionism of Eliel Saarinen and his design beliefs and senses.  The house combines  Arts and Craft movement ideas with Art Deco elements for a stunning and harmonious work of art. * The home was built concurrently with sculptor Carl Milles next door for a cost $140,000 for the two.  The typical cost of a home at that time in Detroit was $6250. The home was completely restored in 1994, after having been changed by subsequent owners from 1950 to the 1990s. The Continue Reading

The Spirit of Detroit

 Posted by on July 21, 2017
Jul 212017
 
The Spirit of Detroit

2 Woodward Avenue Detroit, Michigan This stunning sculpture is the best-known piece of public art in Detroit.  It’s location and presentation was well thought out. The backdrop was designed by the architectural firm of Harley, Ellington and Day, also responsible for the Veterans Memorial Building in Detroit. The sculpture itself is by Detroit area sculptor Marshall Fredericks. Commissioned in 1955 for $58,000, the sculpture was dedicated in 1958. The seated figure represents the spirit of humanity. In his left hand, he holds a gilt bronze sphere, with emanating rays, symbolizing God, in his right hand he holds a group of Continue Reading

Ringold Alley’s Leather Memoir

 Posted by on July 17, 2017
Jul 172017
 
Ringold Alley's Leather Memoir

Ringold Alley Between 8th and 9th Streets Harrison and Folsom SOMA Prior to the AIDS crisis, Ringold alley served as one of the go-to places for gay men to rendezvous after the numerous gay bars along Folsom Street (the “Miracle Mile”) closed for the night. Until the 1990s, Ringold Street continued to play a major role in San Francisco’s leather and gay SOMA scenes. Leather Memoir is a project to honor the history of this area. “Leather Memoir” consists of several custom fabricated features.  A black granite marker stone mounted at 9th and Ringold features an etched narrative, which includes a Continue Reading

Ethereal Bodies

 Posted by on July 15, 2017
Jul 152017
 
Ethereal Bodies

San Francisco General Hospital 1001 Potrero Avenue Potrero Hill Parking entry on 22nd Street Titled Ethereal Bodies, this piece, done in 2015, is by Cliff Garten. It consists of nine undulating stainless steel sculptures lit by multicolored LED lights. The installation’s stainless steel rods range in height from 14 to 22 feet tall. The surface of each is finely worked to achieve the most interesting interaction with sunlight and the LED lights at night. Garten received a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture with Distinction from the Continue Reading

Healing Hearts

 Posted by on July 15, 2017
Jul 152017
 
Healing Hearts

San Francisco General Hospital 1001 Potrero Avenue Potrero Hill The pieces were all created by sculptor Tom Otterness who was born 1952 in Wichita, Kansas. He is a prolific public art sculptor who has been creating whimsical satirical pieces since the 1970s. * Otterness employs the “lost wax” process to cast his bronze figures, which range from monumental to palm-sized. About his sculptures, the artist says, “I try to make work that speaks a common language that people understand, a visual language that doesn’t intimidate them.” * The sculptures are part of the San Francisco Art Commission Collection and cost $700,000.  Otterness Continue Reading

Moscone Park

 Posted by on July 11, 2017
Jul 112017
 
Moscone Park

Moscone Park 1800 Chestnut Street Marina District This Leatherback Sea Turtle and the Pink Short Spined Starfish in the playground of Moscone Park were gifts to the San Francisco Arts Commission from the Friends of Moscone Park These bronze sculptures were the work of Jonathan Roberson Beery. Jonathan Beery is a California native and studied at the California State University in Long Beach. The tiled seating was also a gift of Friends of Moscone Park and was a joint project between the artist and children of the neighborhood.  The bench cost approximately $9500. *

Birds in the Mission

 Posted by on July 8, 2017
Jul 082017
 
Birds in the Mission

In Chan Kaajal Park 17th and Folsom Mission District There are two California birds represented in this Mission district park.  They are painted water-jet cut steel panels created by Carmen Lomas Garza. San Francisco-based artist was born in 1948 in Kingsville, Texas. She attended Texas Arts and Industry University (now Texas A&M) and received a BS in art education.  She also holds a Master of Education and a Master of Arts degree. She is well known for her paintings, ofrendas and for her papel picado work inspired by her Mexican-American heritage. Her work is a part of the permanent collections of the Continue Reading

Esmeralda Slide Park

 Posted by on April 29, 2017
Apr 292017
 
Esmeralda Slide Park

Winfeld and Esmeralda Bernal Heights April 2017 In the 1970s a group of volunteers, with some help from the city, conceived and created Esmeralda Slide Park.  That volunteer organization later became the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. A New York Times article published in 2010 noted that “At the park’s dedication party in 1979, a shrieking Mayor Dianne Feinstein slid down her chute, racing and defeating the district supervisor, Lee Dolson. Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. enjoyed the plunge at a rededication in 1998, wearing a three-piece suit and a fedora. Tom Ammiano, the District 13 assemblyman and a nearby resident, has also enjoyed Continue Reading

Civil Rights Monument

 Posted by on March 31, 2017
Mar 312017
 
Civil Rights Monument

Capitol Park Richmond, VA March 2017 The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial sits on the grounds of Capitol Square in Richmond VA and commemorates the protests which helped bring about school desegregation in the state. Unveiled in 2008 this $2.8 memorial was designed by Stanley Bleifield. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “A Commonwealth once synonymous with defiance of court-ordered school integration celebrated the latest symbol of its often-difficult embrace of equality with the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial in 2008. It represents a key moment in the history of the civil-rights movement in Virginia. The statue spotlights the African-American students in rural Prince Continue Reading

Reconciliation Triangle

 Posted by on March 28, 2017
Mar 282017
 
Reconciliation Triangle

East Main Street Richmond, VA March 2017 Reconciliation Triangle has a fascinating and worldwide story. The statue represents Richmond, Virginia’s place in slave history.  With the addition of Liverpool, England, and the republic of Benin, West Africa, identical statues by Liverpool artist Stephen Broadbent are in place in each country marking the three points of the infamous slave trade triangle. The statues symbolize a commitment to new relationships based on honesty, forgiveness and reconciliation. In 1999, President Mathieu Kerekou of the Republic of Benin convened an international gathering at which he apologized for Benin’s part in selling fellow Africans to Continue Reading

Woodward Garden

 Posted by on February 4, 2017
Feb 042017
 
Woodward Garden

Woodward Gardens Duboce and Woodward Street Mission/South of Market On January 19, 1873, 12,000 people showed up at Woodward’s Garden in the Mission District to watch Frenchman Gus Buislay and a small boy soar aloft in a hot air balloon. The man who made it happen was Robert B. Woodward. Woodward had made his fortune in the grocery store business. In 1849, he opened a store right off the waterfront to serve the ever-increasing number of people flooding into the Port of San Francisco for the Gold Rush. With the acumen of a savvy businessman, he realized the ’49er economy Continue Reading

Shadow Kingdom

 Posted by on January 27, 2017
Jan 272017
 
Shadow Kingdom

16th at Missouri Potrero Hill The plaque at the site reads: This artwork is inspired by the history of Mission Bay, a 5,000 year-old tidal marsh that was once the habitat of a rich array of flora and fauna.  Growth of the city in the 19th century brought shipyards, warehouses and railroads and this part of the bay was eventually filled with sand and dirt from nearby development, as well as debris from the 1906 earthquake. The five panels that form Shadow Kingdom evoke this layered history. Ship masts intersect with topographical and architectural references. Some of the plants and Continue Reading

Mosaics of Balboa Park

 Posted by on December 13, 2016
Dec 132016
 
Mosaics of Balboa Park

Ocean and San Jose Avenue Mission Terrace/Outer Mission There are several mosaics throughout the new Balboa Park Playground.  This bench sits on the exterior of the playground and explains about the restoration of the park, it also lists all the donors that helped  to make the project possible. The mosaic work is by Rachel Rodi.  Students from Denman Middle School and Lick Wilmerding helped to design and build the mosaics on the two stairways, under the supervision of Rachel Rodi. Rachel received a BA in Ceramics from Regis University, Denver Colorado and studied at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Continue Reading

Balboa Park’s Art Fence

 Posted by on December 10, 2016
Dec 102016
 
Balboa Park's Art Fence

Ocean and San Jose Avenue Mission Terrace/Outer Mission Balboa Park became part of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in 1908.  In the 1950s a swimming pool and baseball fields were added.  Then in 1953 a 3,000 person soccer stadium was included in the park.  The 1970s brought a tot park, and then age and neglect brought about the need for a complete overhaul. The playground was completely rebuilt by the neighbors, along with tennis courts in 2008, as of 2016, the city is still trying to find the budget to upgrade the swimming facilities, but the park itself is Continue Reading

Monarch

 Posted by on December 7, 2016
Dec 072016
 
Monarch

1600 Owens Mission Bay, San Francisco Cliff Garten Studio is internationally recognized for creating integrated public art projects which collaborate with urban design, architecture, landscape architecture and engineering to challenge the assumptions of how public places are built and used. Through a diversity of materials, methods and scale, the studio is committed to exploiting the artistic and expressive potential of public spaces and infrastructure in varied urban and natural contexts. Cliff Garten has a Masters of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from Harvard University GSD. He has served as a visiting Continue Reading

The Park Emergency Hospital

 Posted by on August 29, 2016
Aug 292016
 
The Park Emergency Hospital

811 Stanyan Golden Gate Park The Park Emergency Hospital is part of a system of Emergency Hospitals that existed in San Francisco during the early 1900s.  There were four of them.  Park, Central (in Civic Center and still functioning), Alemany and Harbor (since torn down). This particular hospital has been designated City Landmark #201. Built in 1902, at a cost of $8488, it functioned as a hospital until 1978.  It remained an ambulance station until 1991, and it now serves as offices for the Rec and Park District. The architect was Newton J. Tharp.  The San Francisco ran his obituary on Continue Reading

Anima by Jim Sanborn

 Posted by on August 24, 2016
Aug 242016
 
Anima by Jim Sanborn

1700 Owens Street Mission Bay, San Francisco This piece, in Mission Bay, is titled Anima, and is by American Sculptor Jim Sanborn (1945 – ). Sanborn is best known for creating the encrypted Kryptos sculpture at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, a piece of work that has captured the imagination of cryptologists around the world for years. He attended Randolph-Macon College, receiving a degree in paleontology, fine arts, and social anthropology in 1968, followed by a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Pratt Institute in 1971. He taught at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, and then for nine years was Continue Reading

Central Emergency and Detention Hospital

 Posted by on August 23, 2016
Aug 232016
 
Central Emergency and Detention Hospital

50 Dr. Tom Waddell Place previously 50 Lech Walesa previously 50 Ivy In the alley, somewhat behind the Public Health Building that dominates the corner of Polk and Grove in San Francisco’s Civic Center is a small building that was once the Central Emergency and Detention Hospital. According to the 1918 Municipal Record Volume 11 the building included a court room, and also housed the Social Services Department of the Public Health Department. The architect is not known, although it was most likely a city architect. The contractor was Anderson and Ringrose, they were paid $78,140 for their work.  Other Continue Reading

Overflow X

 Posted by on August 19, 2016
Aug 192016
 
Overflow X

1500 Owens Street Mission Bay, San Francisco Overflow X  is a stainless steel sculpture by Jaume Plensa. Jaume Plensa was born in 1955 in Barcelona, where he studied at the Llotja School of Art and Design and at the Sant Jordi School of Fine Art. He has been a teacher at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and regularly cooperates with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a guest professor. This particular design is not new.  Plensa has been utilizing the seated figure created from letters in various installations around the world.  They range in Continue Reading

Elevators and Marine Engines

 Posted by on August 18, 2016
Aug 182016
 
Elevators and Marine Engines

235 First Street Foundry Square This wonderful building, sitting amongst all of the surrounding high-rises brings joy to the eye and a question to the mind. The City of San Francisco has labeled this the H.N. Cook Belting Company designed by Ward and Blohme.  However the American Architect and Architecture Magazine, Volume 113 disputes that fact with this photograph. The photo was accompanied by a full length article in the January to June 1918 issue. The Western Architecture and Engineering Magazine – Volume 40-41 states that the building is the home to the B.C. Van Emon Elevator Company. This 1915 Continue Reading

The Metropolitan Laundry Company

 Posted by on August 15, 2016
Aug 152016
 
The Metropolitan Laundry Company

7 Heron South of Market, San Francisco The lovely trumpet vine on this building is hiding a lot of the detail of the brick work, but the buildings history is the real charm. Built around 1907, this was once part of the Metropolitan Laundry Company and Power Plant. According to the January 8, 1910 Journal of Electricity, this was a modern, cutting edge plant. It was touted as the largest and most up-to-date in the U.S. The whole laundry facility was housed in two buildings and covered an acre of land. The second building, at the corner of Berwick and Harrison, is Continue Reading

The Bethlehem Steel Building

 Posted by on August 12, 2016
Aug 122016
 
The Bethlehem Steel Building

Pier 70 Dog Patch The Bethlehem Steel Office Building, also known as Building 101, was designed by San Francisco architect Fredrick H. Meyer. The building anchors Pier 70, sitting at its entry on the corner of Illinois and 20th Street. Built in 1917, the building is Classical Revival in style. The three story building consists of 56,268 square feet. There is an iron perimeter fence framing the entrance to the building that originally extended down both 20th and Illinois Streets. Building 101 was designed as a new main office building in 1917, at this point Bethlehem Steel was growing by leaps and bounds Continue Reading

1176 Harrison

 Posted by on August 10, 2016
Aug 102016
 
1176 Harrison

This 9,796 square-foot building is actually two: the east section was constructed in 1912 and the west section was constructed in 1929. The buildings were unified by the present façade in 1929, This 1-story, steel and reinforced concrete industrial building was designed in the Art Moderne style. The interesting architectural details include an incised sign that reads “San Francisco Galvanizing Works,” concrete beltcourses, a stepped recessed bay, galvanized metal rivets, and a parapet. Like its neighbor at 1140 Harrison it to sits in the Western SOMA Light Industrial and Residential Historic District.  Also likes it neighbor it is historically significant due to Continue Reading

1140 Harrison Street

 Posted by on August 4, 2016
Aug 042016
 
1140 Harrison Street

This nondescript industrial building is about to be torn down for a giant condominium project.  I thought it time to get it documented before it disappeared. Part of the SOMA Light Industrial and Residential Historic District, the building has been marked historical due to its age, but that does not prevent it from being torn down, it is simply a designation. Built in 1907, the building is a 75,625 square-feet, 1-story, brick masonry industrial building in a modified Renaissance Revival style. The rectangular-plan building, clad in smooth stucco on the primary façade and brick on the secondary facade, is capped by Continue Reading

Lily Pond

 Posted by on July 21, 2016
Jul 212016
 
Lily Pond

125 W. Fullerton Parkway Lincoln Park Chicago, Illinois Chicago’s official motto is “Urbs in Horto,” which translates to “City in a Garden”, much of the garden aspects of this town can be attributed to Alfred Caldwell and his mentor Jens Jensen. Lily Pond is the work of Alfred Caldwell. During the depression, Caldwell worked on and off for the Chicago Park District. It was a tumultuous relationship, but it was also steady work. In 1936, under the guise of the Park District and with WPA money Caldwell designed the Lily Pool. Caldwell suggested that “besides being a nature garden,” the Continue Reading

Boulder Man

 Posted by on July 19, 2016
Jul 192016
 
Boulder Man

951 Chicago Avenue Oak Park, Chicago On the piers flanking the entry to Frank Lloyd Wrights 1898 architectural studio in Oak Park, Illinois, sit these two pieces, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and executed by Richard Bock. “Boulder Man” is the most valuable of Richard Bock’s work.  He originally designed and modeled the piece to top a gate post.  The body, apparently half buried in the earth is stunning from every angle.  These sculptures are reproductions.  They were re-created from photographs.  The originals had disintegrated beyond repair, the replicas were done during the 1980s restoration of Frank Lloyd Wrights home Continue Reading

Standing Lincoln

 Posted by on July 17, 2016
Jul 172016
 
Standing Lincoln

Off N. Lake Shore Drive near W. North Avenue Chicago This is one of the two sculptures in Lincoln Park that were bequeathed to Chicago upon the death of lumberman Eli Bates. This 12 foot tall figure known as the “Standing Lincoln” was the first of Saint-Gaudens’ statues of Lincoln. He received the commission for this monument in 1884 and began work the following year. Lincoln had made quite an impression on Saint-Gaudens when he saw Lincoln in 1860 . “Lincoln stood tall in the carriage, his dark uncovered head bent in contemplative acknowledgement of the waiting people, and the Continue Reading

Shakespeare in Chicago

 Posted by on July 16, 2016
Jul 162016
 
Shakespeare in Chicago

N. Lincoln Parkway West and W. Belden Avenue Chicago According to the Chicago Parks Department: “When Samuel Johnston, a successful north side businessman, died in 1886, he left a sizeable gift in his will for several charities as well as money for a memorial to William Shakespeare in Lincoln Park. A competition was held to select a sculptor. The winner was a Columbia University graduate, William Ordway Partridge (1861–1930), who had studied sculpture in France and Italy after a short stint as an actor. This commission presented a unique challenge for Partridge since the only known portraits of William Shakespeare Continue Reading