Central Subway Public Art Proposals



Media Contact:
Kate Patterson, San Francisco Arts Commission
Tel: 415/252-4638 Email: kate.patterson@sfgov.org


Proposals for permanent public artworks at the Chinatown, Union Square/Market Street and Moscone Stations will be on view at the Chinese Culture Center, Contemporary Jewish Museum and Weinstein Gallery from July 9 through July 16

Click here to view the Chinatown Station proposals

Click here to view the Union Square/Market Street Station proposals

Click here to view the Moscone Station proposals

SAN FRANCISCO, July 2, 2010 – Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) Luis R. Cancel announces the exhibition dates for the Central Subway public art proposals. In late January, the SFAC announced the finalists for the Central Subway public art program who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and media. Each station has six finalists, three of which were asked to create proposals for one large-scale, or “landmark” project that would serve as the identity for the station and would be located in a prominent area such as the entryway or the large wall expanses on the concourse level. The other three artists for each station were tasked with developing proposals for a “wayfinding” artwork that would extend through two or three of the station levels, providing a visual thread for pedestrians to follow through the station. From July 9 through July 16, 2010, the proposals for the Chinatown Station will be on view at the Chinese Culture Center, the Moscone Station proposals will be on display in the lobby of the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Union Square/Market Street station proposals can be viewed at the Weinstein Gallery, located adjacent to Union Square (see below for operating hours and locations).

“The Central Subway Public Art Program will provide San Francisco transit riders with a first-class experience,” said Mr. Cancel. “Each station’s short listed candidates represent a diverse range of backgrounds and styles. I’m confident the public will be pleased with the variety and the quality of the proposals, and I look forward to reviewing their feedback.”

“On behalf of the SFMTA, we are pleased by the progress the Arts Commission is making in selecting finalists to compete in designing the art work for the stations as a part of the Central Subway program,” stated SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nat Ford. “We are confident that the overwhelming participation of local and nationally known artists will result in artwork that displays the rich cultural diversity of our City and creates modern day art exhibits for the public to enjoy while awaiting their train in our new subway stations. Best of luck to the finalists!”

In conjunction with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Central Subway stretching from Chinatown to South of Market, the SFAC’s Public Art Program will manage the implementation of a diverse and exciting public art program that includes permanent artworks and related arts programming in adjacent neighborhoods. The finalists worked closely with SFAC and SFMTA staff and project architects to prepare their preliminary proposals. For the Chinatown Station landmark artwork, artist Ming Fay developed a proposal of a large colorful glass mosaic that draws inspiration from the evergreen pine forests of California and the Gold Mountains in the Bay Area. Yu Mei Hou’s landmark design proposal incorporates traditional Chinese paper cut art based on traditional Chinese folk tales, and May Sun’s proposal consists of a large wall artwork incorporating both archival and current photographs of Chinatown, with insets in the adjacent floor area.

Four artists were selected for the wayfinding artworks at the Chinatown Station. Carl Cheng’s proposal will take transit riders on a walk through an underground Chinese garden. Using architectural glass elements, Tomie Arai will create a site-specific visual narrative about the history of the area surrounding the subway station. As riders move through the different layers of the station, they will be able to experience this narrative in much the same way as an archeologist might sift through layers of history to uncover the past. Yunfei Ji’s wayfinding proposal is based on the Chinese hand scroll that will weave its way through the station telling the story of Chinese-American’s participation in the building of America. Lastly, Faye Zhang proposes a series of mosaics on several level that reference moving water, as passengers move through the station.

At the Union Square/Market Street Station the candidates for the landmark artwork include Brian Goggin whose design consists of a glittering canopy of metal and glass inspired by the sand dunes that once were in the Union Square location. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s landmark proposal children gazing down at a hidden world located somewhere below the floor The final candidate for the Union Square/Market Street Station landmark artwork is Erwin Redl. Inspired by the famous Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” Redl proposes a ceiling grid of hanging 10” x 10” “light pixels” with shifting colors in a diamond shape pattern. For the wayfinding artwork, Michael Davis and Susan Schwartzenberg’s proposal includes overhead lighting with imagery of large-scale historic gatherings in Union Square and a series of artifacts imbedded in the walls that reveal little known historical stories from the downtown area. Keith Godard’s proposes floor mosaics depicting historic bird’s eye views of Union Square beginning in 1776 and continuing to the present day. The artist team Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz propose to create an undulating three-dimensional ribbon that spans the length of two station levels.

For the Moscone Station landmark artwork Brian Tolle’s proposal draws a parallel between the the ebb and flow of passengers in the train stations and San Francisco’s famous fog. Using state of the art technologies, he will create molded panels that depict single moments of a surface seemingly in motion. Joyce Hsu’s landmark proposal combines concepts based on San Francisco’s estuarine system as a bird refuge with mankind’s drive to look towards the sky for better mobility. Her design presents commuters with a flock of jet-packed flying devices with bird-like wings against a backdrop of a dreamlike sky. Catherine Wagner’s design incorporates large photographs she took in the late 70s documenting the construction of Moscone Center. For the wayfinding artwork, Tom Otterness has proposed a series of humorous sculptural vignettes featuring his signature bronze characters as transit riders place throughout the station. Mildred Howard’s wayfinding artwork proposal consists of laminated glass panels featuring archival images that appear and disappear as passengers walk past them and that are intended to take transit-users on a journey through time. Michele Oka Doner is proposing a multi-level series of floor insets, elevator designs, and sculptural elements that reference sunlight and other natural phenomena.

Exhibition Locations and Operating Hours

Central Subway Public Art Program Manager Judy Moran will be available to answer questions from the public at a Q & A session at each of the three proposal display sites, see below for more details.

Chinatown Station
Chinese Cultural Center, 750 Kearny Street
Operating hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Website: www.c-c-c.org
Q&A with Project Manager Judy Moran: Saturday, July 10 from noon to 2 p.m. on the Pedestrian Bridge that crosses Kearny Street from Portsmouth Square to the Chinese Culture Center in the Hilton Hotel.

Moscone Station
Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission Street
Operating hours: Monday-Tuesday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Wednesday, closed; Thursday, 1-8 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Website: www.thecjm.org
Q&A with Project Manager Judy Moran: Tuesday, July 13  from noon – 2 p.m.

Union Square
Weinstein Gallery, 291 Geary Street, 2nd Floor
Operating hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Q&A with Project Manager Judy Moran, Monday, July 12 from noon to 2 p.m.

About the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Public Art Program
The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is the City agency that champions the arts in San Francisco. We believe that a creative cultural environment is essential to the City’s well-being. Established by charter in 1932, SFAC programs integrate the arts into all aspects of City life. Programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Arts & Education, Cultural Equity Grants, Public Art, SFAC Gallery, Street Artists Licensing, and the Summer in the City Concert Series. The agency’s core values are committed to the principle that all residents have equal access to arts experiences in all disciplines, that programs are provided comprehensively and evenly throughout the City, and that they are innovative and of the highest quality.

The Arts Commission’s Public Art Program was established by the City Arts Enrichment Ordinance in 1969, as one of the first of its kind in the country. The Public Art Program seeks to promote a diverse and stimulating cultural environment to enrich the lives of the city’s residents, visitors and employees. The Program encourages the creative interaction of artists, designers, city staff, officials and community members during the design of City projects in order to develop public art that is specific to the site and meaningful to the community. SFAC Public Art website: www.sfartscommission.org/pubartcollection

About the SFMTA
Established by voter proposition in 1999, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (www.sfmta.com), a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), parking, traffic and taxis. With five modes of transit, Muni has approximately 700,000 passenger boardings each day. Over 35,000 extra vehicles enter San Francisco on any given business day, and rely on the SFMTA to keep the flow of cars, transit vehicles, taxis, delivery trucks, pedestrians and bicycles moving smoothly through the streets. For more about the Central Subway, and to follow the project on Facebook and Twitter, visit www.sfmta.com/central.

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