The small new park at Hayes and Octavia called Patricia's Green opened in 2005 and was host to the first San Francisco Burning Man art installation in June of that year. It was a pagoda temple made out of plywood by David Best and a crew of volunteers that was sponsored by the newly formed Black Rock Arts Foundation. The sculpture was also the subject of the first post here at "Civic Center."
There have been a half dozen temporary art installations at Patricia's Green since then that have met with varying degrees of success, but nothing has quite taken the neighborhood's immediate fancy like Best's pagoda until this week's latest artwork magically appeared.
It's a huge metal sculpture by Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito entitled "Ecstasy" that was part of a larger installation at the 2008 Burning Man Festival at Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
According to the Hayes Valley Art Coalition site:
"Ecstasy" is one of the eight monumental metal figures of the artists’ masterpiece, "Crude Awakening." These eight figures surrounded a 99-foot tall wooden oil derrick in gestures of prostration, worship and exaltation. The figures represented the "faithful"; the religious peoples of the world in their various postures of worship, all joining together in homage of the ominous symbol of the oil derrick. The installation culminated in a massive firework and fire display, and in the burning of the oil derrick. It was the biggest and most memorable burn to date at the Burning Man event."
"Alone, Ecstasy embarks on a hopeful journey. Instead of throwing her head back in reverie to the oil derrick, she gazes wistfully into the open sky as she steps forward into an optimistic future, free of dependency on fossil fuel."
There was another Mann/Cusolito sculpture installed near the Ferry Building in 2006 which was called "Passages." Though it was quite striking, the problem with sculpture along the waterfront is that it's in competition with the even more beautiful water-meets-land view, which is part of why the late Donald Fisher's Oldenburg sculpture of "Cupid's Bow" seems so monstrous. What's worst about the latter is that the sculpture is supposedly a permanent installation unlike the Black Rock Arts Foundation pieces which are gone after six months in case you hate them.
The monumental scale of "Ecstasy" works well with the height of the surrounding apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
If you want to meet the artists and celebrate in public style, an official opening is scheduled for February 26th from 4-7 pm. Update: There's a note in the comments as follows: The "Opening Reception" for Ecstasy has been delayed until March 19, due to possible rain.