Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Double L Eccentric Gyratory
Though huge chunks of steel tend not to be my favorite pieces of sculpture (get thee behind me, Satanic Richard Serra)...
...there is a huge piece by George Rickey called "Double L Eccentric Gyratory" that stands in front of the San Francisco Main Library in Civic Center which is quite amusing.
It consists of two 18-foot steel L's that move slowly with the wind but not in directions you would expect.
Last Saturday the 25th, crosswinds were whipping wildly through the Civic Center and causing some interesting gyrations.
While crossing the street, I heard a five-year-old boy asking his father to lift him onto the ugly base of the sculpture so he could play with it, but we both told him that was it was way too dangerous.
The defaced inscription notes that the piece was made in 1982 and that Carl Djerassi, the local "father of the birth-control-pill" millionaire, had donated it to San Francisco in 1997 for the opening of the new Main Library.
George Rickey didn't find his calling as a sculptor until he was in his 50's, which didn't much matter since he was born in 1907 and died at age 95 in 2002. He was part of a movement called "Kinetic Sculpture" that included Calder (Mister Mobile) as one of the patron saints.
Not many people stop to watch the sculpture, however, because the area around its base has become ground zero for some of the craziest street people in the neighborhood who like to congregate with each other.
Inside the library, while checking out a Weissmuller/O'Sullivan "Tarzan" DVD, the clerk kept looking around me to the lobby beyond with serious concern in her face.
Having heard any number of horror stories from library employees about crazy people using the library collection as toilet paper, I was certain that the big yellow puddle in the lobby was somebody who had decided to pee.
A security guard was curious why I was taking a photo, and I told him about this blog and how it was a shame some crazy had done that since the public bathroom was only twenty feet away. "Aw, that's not pee," he said. "Somebody dropped their cup of orange juice." We decided we were both relieved.