At the end of the dreary dirt center of the Civic Center Plaza, cranes appeared on Monday morning.
Ever since the lawn was taken out for Alice Waters' Slow Food Nation extravaganza last summer, and the Patrick Dougherty tree sculptures came down in February, the plaza has looked a bit forlorn.
Coming to the rescue is a huge statue by the 45-year-old Chinese performance artist Zhang Huan of a three-headed, six-armed Buddha that has arrived in San Francisco just in time to complement the Shanghai exhibit at the Asian Art Museum.
The installation has been going on all week, involving a huge crew from Oakland's Atthowe Fine Art Services and multiple cranes.
According to an interesting post on the San Francisco Art Commission website, which is sponsoring the world premiere of this piece:
"Three Heads Six Arms is part of a series of monumental works depicting the fragmented extremities of Buddhist statues. The series was inspired by Zhang’s discovery of religious sculptures that had been destroyed during the Cultural Revolution for sale in a Tibetan market. He began the series in 2006 shortly after moving from New York City to Shanghai where he retired his performance art practice and embraced a more traditional approach to artistic creation."
The installation continues all this week, culminating in a dedication ceremony next Wednesday, May 12th at 10AM. This will be followed by a "conversation" with the artist and Jay Xu, the director of the Asian Art Museum, at 7PM. Admission to the event on the second floor of the museum in Samsung Hall is free.
The statue is slated to stay in San Francisco until 2011 and should be a fun new neighbor.