Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Three Heads Six Arms Buddha Installation

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.


Nancy Ewart said...

Everything about the Shanghai Exhibit here and their Expo in China seems oversize. First the 21-foot Robo Baby and now, Mega-Big Buddha. I am now waiting for the floor at the Civic Center to crack open as I read that there were serious concerns about whether it was strong enough to hold the statue. Of course, our supervisors wouldn't be careless about that, would they?

affinity said...

I am so thrilled you are blogging about this. I just love this piece, may even take the morning off to go to the dedication....

Bryan said...

The city engineers were very careful with research and placement of the piece. The load points are over beams or walls. No worries there. We were thrilled to be a part of this beautiful installation.
Atthowe Fine Art Services

Civic Center said...

Dear Bryan: Thanks for the update, and watching your group put the piece together has been a blast.

Big_Iron said...

Isn't this presentation that goes against the whole religion government thingie?

Civic Center said...

Dear Big Iron: Good question. I wonder what the public reaction would have been to a 15-ton, three head six arm Jesus statue.

Your driver said...

I went and saw it today. The vibe was much more Ray Harryhausen than Dalai Lama.