Monday, July 27, 2009

Adaptations 2: Patricia's Green

For over 30 years, a doubledecker freeway ran through the Hayes Valley neighborhood like a festering wound, but the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the structure sufficiently that it was torn down by Caltrans, and committed neighborhood activists managed to keep the monstrosity from being resurrected.

Of course, there is a new, surface roadway leading from Market Street and the 101 freeway known as Octavia Boulevard, which is a case of disastrous urban planning all of its own. However, at the end of that car-centric mess, a beautiful little park called Patricia's Green was installed just as this blog was starting up over four years ago.

The first post, in fact, was about David Best's temple, which was the first collaboration between the Black Rock Arts Foundation and the Hayes Valley Art Coaliation.

The popularity and the example set by that initial temple has been wonderful for San Francisco public art. The process used to involve a long, expensive, and elitist bureaucratic tangle that commissioned work from an established artist, usually outside of the Bay Area. This would take years to fund, negotiate, and install, and if the people living around the art hated it, they basically had to lump it.

With "temporary" neighborhood installations, however, if you don't like it, just wait for a bit and the thing will be gone and replaced by something else. This Burning Man, transitory aesthetic has essentially been a quiet revolution in San Francisco over the last four years. It has also probably led the San Francisco Art Commission into some interesting new ways of thinking, evidenced by its current Patrick Dougherty commission in Civic Center Plaza, and the other "temporary" installations they have sponsored, from Louise Bourgeois' waterfront spider to Manolo Valdes' Infanta sculptures.

Patricia's Green has hosted a few sculptural clunkers over the last four years, but most of the exhibits have been magical, such as the Best Temple, the Wowhaus miniature golf course, and Koilos from Burning Man. Mark Baugh-Sasaki's "Adaptations" is a welcome addition to the neighborhood, where it will reside until the end of the year. As Matthew Hubbard commented, "twigs are the new marble."


Anonymous said...

The temporary installation thing is great. I didn't like the Louise Bourgeois spider, others did; either way, it's gone and life goes on. I wish I could expect the same to happen to the Claes Oldenburg bow and arrow a couple of blocks south, but it seems to be there for good.

Civic Center said...

Dear rootlesscosmo: I feel the same way about Donald Fisher's bow and arrow, and have a feeling his "world-class collection of art" that he was trying to house in the Presidio is similarly monumental, expensive crap by famous artists.

Black Rock Arts Foundation said...

Thanks for the shoutout and the great photos. I loved meeting you and putting a face to your "voice". The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to help support this piece at Patricia's Green. I really like it.

Black Rock Arts Foundation said...

Did you see that you made the CBS "Eye on Blogs" today?