Apr 222015

Iris Jazz Club Cuba

Music: breathing of statues.
Silence of paintings.
You language where all language ends.
You time standing vertically
On the motion of mortal hearts.

by poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Iris Jazz Club

 IRIS Jazz Club is a cultural complex located in front of  in the city of Santiago de Cuba. The space, originally a cafeteria, was turned into a jazz club with the specific purpose of promoting jazz in the area.

DSC_2482Santiago de Cuba is celebrating their 500th year in 2015. These bronze panels were the work of Santiago born artist Alberto Lescay’s Caguayo foundation to mark this celebration. The program costs 125,400 Cuba Pesos or approximately $5000US.
DSC_2485A group of about 20 Cuban and German visual artists work with Lescay on the project.

*Iris Jazz Club









*Iris Jazz Club



Apr 222015

Germinal by Euless Nibbles

Eulises Niebla born in 1963 in Matanzas Cuba, studied at the  Escuela Provincial de arte in Matanzas, Cuba from 1975-1979, He then went on to the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) Havana from 1980-1984 and then to the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). in Havana from 1984-1989

A contemporary Cuban artist Niebla works with industrial materials to create geometric three-dimensional objects, which are then painted in bright colours. These objects have been likened to the forms in children’s playgrounds and belong to an established constructivist tradition in Latin America that pushes the boundaries of the art object and encourages the spectator to participate in the work.

The Caguayo Foundation, created in 1995 is responsible for much of the public art in Santiago de Cuba through an annual symposium. This piece was part of the 2010 symposium.

The piece was titled Germinal, however, that has no meaning.  It is possible that it was a typo, as often happens in these situations, it could be titled Germinal, which means to germinate.

Apr 222015
Armonia Exterior by Ramon Casas

Armonia Exterior by Ramon Casas – 2013


In December of 2010, the city of Santiago de Cuba held its first Rene Valdes Cedeño Public Sculpture Symposium. Sponsored by the Caguayo Foundation and the Advisory Council for the Development of Public Sculptures and Monuments, the symposium seeks to promote sculpting in marble and metals. Armonía Exterior was a result of the 2013 Symposium, the pieces that came out of the project were put around Santiago de Cuba.Ramon Casas of Cuba

Ramon Casas graduated from the National School of Arts (ENA) in Havana in 1976, he then went on to study at the Higher Arts Institute (ISA) in Havana, Cuba and graduated in 1982.


Apr 222015
Arco by Jose Villa

Arco by Jose Villa Soberon

In December of 2010, the city of Santiago de Cuba held its first Rene Valdes Cedeño Public Sculpture Symposium. Sponsored by the Caguayo Foundation and the Advisory Council for the Development of Public Sculptures and Monuments, the symposium seeks to promote sculpting in marble and metals. Arco was a result of the 2013 Symposium, the pieces that came out of the project are put around Santiago de Cuba.

Jose Villa has two pieces in Havana that have been in this website before and that you can read about here.

Santiago de Cuba native José Ramón Villa Soberón ( September 2, 1950) is particularly known for his public sculptures around Havana. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte (The National School of Art) in Havana, Cuba and the Academy of Plastic Arts in Prague. He is a professor at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana.

Jose Villa Soberon

Apr 222015

Nature by Juan QuinterraThis piece, titled Nature, is by Juan Quintanilla.

In December of 2010, the city of Santiago de Cuba held its first Rene Valdes Cedeño Public Sculpture Symposium. Sponsored by the Caguayo Foundation and the Advisory Council for the Development of Public Sculptures and Monuments, the symposium seeks to promote sculpting in marble and metals.  Nature was a result of the Symposium, the pieces that came out of the project were put around Santiago de Cuba.

Juan Quintanilla studied at the School of Visual Arts in Pinar del Rio in 1965.  He went on to get a graduate degree in Sculpture from the National Art School in 1967.  In 1973 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Praque and spent the year of 1989 studying at Pietro Tacca Institute in Carrara, Italy.

When asked about the marble of Cuba he answered (this is a rough translation)

“In our country we have different qualities of marble. I have only worked with the Siboney Grey Isla de la Juventud, but I have also made ​​inroads into the green and black of Pinar del Río, and the cream and pink orchid of Bayamo, both high quality marbles. There are many others, but these are the ones that I most identify with. I think it is also a way to promote Cuban marble. Many people do not know you could do these sculptures in marble and have been  surprised to some to see how a piece can bring out the different qualities.”

Juan Quininilla

Apr 212015

Antonio Maceo

This piece, titled Antonio Maceo sits in Revolution Square in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.  Created by Alberto Lescay, a Santiago born artist, it was installed in 1991.  This monument is dedicated to the 19th century war hero, General Antonio Maceo. Saw-toothed “machetes” rise from the grass and surround a large sculpture of the General on horseback.  Antoneo Maceo

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 an Art Professor in 1979 at “Repin” Academy of Sculpture, Architecture, Painting and Graphic, in San Petersburg, Russia.  Lescay now keeps a studio and his foundation in Santiago de Cuba.

Alberto Lescay Msrencio

Lescay was the founder and creator of the Caguayo Foundation for Monumental and Applied Arts. The institution represents over 300 Cuban artists.


There are 23 “machetes” representing the date March 23 1878, when Maceo issued his “Protest of Baraguá” showing his disagreement with the Pact of Zanjón

The group that helped to get this off of the ground included the Structural Engineer Esteben Ferrer Esotiu. The project took over nine years.

DSC_1666There is a river running underneath the project site forcing some serious engineering to be accomplished. There is over 600 tons of steel underground to keep the entire thing stable.


Lt. General José Antonio de la Caridad Maceo y Grajales (June 14, 1845 – December 7, 1896) was second-in-command of the Cuban Army of Independence.


Apr 062015

Memorial Court
Civic Center



In 1932 when the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House and Veterans Building were built the project was supposed to include a memorial to veterans. The project ran out of money, and one was never made.

However, during this time the octagonal lawn in the Memorial Court has held earth from lands where Americans fought and died. This stone octagon, now encloses the earth. The Memorial has been designed so that it can be opened to accept newly consecrated earth from battlefields of the future.

Passages of Remembrance

In 1935 that War Memorial Complex architect Arthur Brown, Jr., recommended landscape architect Thomas D. Church be engaged to complete the Memorial Court. Church, a world renowned landscape architect, know for his gardens reflecting the Beaux-Arts tradition completed the design in 1936. His drawings reference a “future memorial” to be added in the octagonal area of the Memorial Court.

Soils from World War I battlefields were consigned there at the time of its completion. A similar ceremony depositing soils from World War II battlefields took place following the 1945 signing of the United Nations Charter in the Veterans Building. And in 1988, veterans groups held a ceremony interring battlefield soils from Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Guam, Italy, Laos, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Prior to beginning construction of the San Francisco Veterans Memorial, the soil from the center of the octagonal area of the Memorial Court was carefully removed and safeguarded.

war memorial sf

The Young Dead Soldiers, a poem also used at the Presidio Cemetery Overlook, is a fitting poem for this spot.

The project artist was Susan Narduli of Narduli Studio.  The project was completed October 2014 with $2.5 million of private donations.

War Memorial in San Francisco

Mar 312015

2825 Diamond Street
Glen Park

Six Degrees at Glenn Park Library

Six Degrees is an artwork installed in the entrance of  Glen Park Branch Library done in 2007 for $36,000. The artists are Reddy Lieb and Linda Raynsford.

The circular art elements were inspired by the history and ecology of Glen Park. The circle, which the artists used as their main geometric design form, is intended to symbolize wholeness and community.

Specific references in the artwork are:

  • In 1889, an amusement park was built in Glen Canyon to attract potential home buyers. One of the attractions was tightrope walker Jimmy “Scarface” Williams.

Jimmy the Tightrope walker from Glen Park Circus

  • Early streetcar tracks in Glen Park are silk screened on another metal circle.

Glen Park Street Cars

  • An abstracted glass bat house refers to a recent mosquito abatement program that included the installation of nine bat houses near Islais Creek.
  • A blue painted circle represents Islais Creek.
  • In 1965, when there were plans to destroy the southwest portion of Glen Park to improve automobile transit, three woman—Geraldine Arkush, Zoann Nordstrom,and Joan Siebold, collectively known as the Gum Tree Girls— helped prevent that development.

Glen Park Library Art

  • The outline of a red-tailed hawk’s wings is painted on a yellow circle.
  • Copper cut-outs fused in glass are images of plant life in Glen Park.
  • A poem written by local poet Diane DiPrima for William Blake is fired into a circular glass medallion near the bottom of the artwork. The entire poem reads as follows:For Blakeby now it is too late to wonder
    why we are wherever we are
    (tho some peace is possible): singing on the breath
    & we have had bodies of Fire and lived in the Sun
    & we have had bodies of Water and lived in Venus
    and bodies of Air that screeched as they tore around Jupiter all our eyes remembering Love

Diane DiPrima poem


Art at Glen Park Library

Reddy Lieb has a BA in art and an MFA in Glass Blowing, she lives in San Francisco.   Linda Raynsford has a BFA from California College of Arts


 Lower Nob Hill  Comments Off
Mar 302015

500 Geary
Lower Nob Hill



Austrian street artist NYCHOS is in town for the opening his show “Street Anatomy” at Fifty24SF Gallery on April 18th. In conjunction with the show, he has been putting up a few pieces around town.

According to his facebook page the Austrian urban art and graffiti illustrator Nychos was born in 1982 in Styria, Austria where he grew up in a hunting family. Getting confronted by the anatomy of dead animals at an early age and being an 80’s kid with an interest for cartoons and heavy metal ended up being some of the ingredients which inspired him when he started graffiti and painting at the age of 18. Over the years he developed a distinctive style which stands out – his dissections and cross sections of human and animal bodies are easily recognized. The focus and reinterpretation of dissected motives in a combination of colorful outlines can be seen as his branding. He is well known for his huge and technically outstanding art pieces in the urban environment as well as several gallery exhibitions. Nychos is the founder of Rabbit Eye Movement:

Rabbit Eye Movement (REM) originally started as a street art concept, created by the urban/graffiti artist and illustrator Nychos in 2005. It fueled and defined the artwork Nychos spread on the streets for the next seven years, and in 2012 he acquired a home for REM to live. Located in the heart of Vienna, the Rabbit Eye Movement Art Space is now a full time gallery and agency dedicated to pushing the same movement that created it.

“I created the ‘Rabbit Eye Movement’ as an homage to all the “Rabbits” out there who are active in the Urban Art Movement. It doesn’t matter what kind of mission they are following.”

Mar 232015

The Stanley Mosk Library and Court Building
Gillis Hall
914 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA

Maynard Dixon Mural Sacramento LibraryI recently toured the newly restored California State Library building.  The $62 million restoration brought the library/courts building into the modern age. (The project came in under budget at around $49 million).

Although this Maynard Dixon mural experienced a small amount of damage during the restoration, it remains in Gillis Hall for all to enjoy.

Maynard Dixon Mural in California State Library

Titled, A Pageant of Traditions, the mural is sixty nine feet long and fourteen feet tall.

The mural, painted after the library was opened in 1928, symbolically depicts the greatest influences on the history and development of California.

The left side shows the Spanish influences on California.  Amongst these you will find a Spanish explorer, Jesuit and Franciscan priests, Californios, and an Hispanic workman with his wife.  These are all pre-industrial California.

DSC_8076On the right side one sees symbolic references to the all that lies East of California. These figures include a colonial settler, a Revolutionary War officer, Native Americans and several Afro-Americans.  There is a forty-niner from the gold rush and a 1920s worker and his family.

Maynard Dixon Power and BeautyOver the entry way is a male figure depicting Power and a female figure depicting Beauty.  Three books, encased in halos, are the books of philosophy, science and art .

Maynard Dixon's signatureConsidered one of the nations greatest Western artists, L. Maynard Dixon was born near Fresno, California in 1875. He was an interpreter of western landscapes and Native American themes. He was a painter, a muralist, and an illustrator. He died in 1946 in Tucson, Arizona.

Although he was primarily self-taught, Dixon briefly studied at California Institute of Design in 1893. He worked as an illustrator for several California publications before going to New York where he worked at Scribner’s and Harper’s Monthly from 1907 to 1912.

He received a bronze medal for Trail in Oregon (1915) at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Maynard Dixon

The California State Library Foundations Bulletin put out a special issue on the restoration of the building in November of 2013.  It has excellent accounts of the life of Dixon and his preparation and execution of this mural beginning on page 14.

The library is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, excluding holidays.