Proposals for a new public artwork at the Central Subway 4th and Brannan Street Platform
4TH AND BRANNAN STREET PLATFORM STATIOIN
PUBLIC ART PROPOSALS
On view at the Mission Bay Branch Library April 17 – April 29, 2012
960 4th St. near Berry St., San Francisco, CA 94158
In conjunction with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Central Subway stretching from South of Market to Chinatown, the San Francisco Arts Commission is managing a diverse and exciting public art program that includes the permanent installation of large-scale durable artworks at each of the four stations. The above-ground platform station at 4th and Brannan streets will be located in the South of Market neighborhood not far from the Caltrain Station and the AT&T Ballpark and will mark the transition between the T-Third Light Rail line and the beginning of the Central Subway, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
THe 4th and Brannan platform station will have a similar design as the completed T-Third Light Rail platforms. The Arts Commission will be selecting one artist to produce a large-scale unique sculpture for the platform’s marquee pole, which is in keeping with the pole-mounted sculptures on the other T-Third Street platforms.
Following a national open call for artists, the Arts Commission convened a community-based artist selection panel to review and score the artists’ qualifications. Through this process the panel identified a shortlist of finalists who were invited to produce artwork proposals for the 4th and Brannan station. The short list includes the following artists: David Boyer, Joyce Hsu, Moto Ohtake, and the artist team of Peter Richards & Andrew Forrest. The proposals presented here are the finalists’ preliminary concepts. The selected proposal will be further developed and refined to meet all feasibility, maintenance, safety and other requirements, as needed. All final designs are subject to approval by the Arts Commission prior to implementation.
PUBLIC ART PROPOSALS:
What I am proposing for 4th and Brannan Street Platform Station public art is a sculpture entitled “In Motion”. This is a kinetic wind sculpture, which means that it derives all of its motive force from the wind. “In Motion” is designed to be installed on the 40ft tall Marquee pole that will be part of the finished station. The idea behind the sculpture was to design something that was dynamic, alive, and energetic, like the neighborhood. Over the years I have become quite adept at making sculptures that turn easily in the wind. For this sculpture I will be using low friction stainless steel ball bearings. The lack of friction coupled with an efficient wind-catching design and San Francisco’s consistent wind, means that this sculpture will be in near constant motion. Just as the wind and weather is dynamic and ever changing, so too is the pace and spin of this sculpture. From a viewer’s perspective, as one looks up and views the reflective paddles turning in the wind, one will be treated to a moving kaleidoscope of light and shadow.
Our site at 4th and Brannan was once the edge of the Mission Bay Marshland, part of the San Francisco Bay estuarine system. It was a rich, complex and diverse ecological habitat teeming with large varieties of wildlife both above and below its waters. Tidal marshes occupied about 200,000 acres along the bay’s margins in the early 1800’s. Millions of birds once used San Francisco Bay as part of their Pacific Flyway migration. Even now, San Francisco Bay is known as a major North American refuge for many species of shorebirds and waterfowl during their migration and wintering periods.
The area surrounding the new station has experienced manmade modifications for centuries, man’s influence on the environment has increased significantly in both degree and scope over the past 150 years: Tidal marshes have given way to industrial hardscapes and flocks of migrating birds have been replaced by crowds in transit.
The average commuter may spend up to five hours a week in a transit station. For me, most transit experiences are hardly inspiring. Most of us have a love-hate relationship with transit systems; their discomfort and crowdedness often overshadowing their convenience and efficiency. We often wish for a better, more personal experience.
The proposed kinetic artwork, Aequilibria, is inspired by migratory shorebirds. With 16 feet wingspan, the mechanical bird hover, spin, and pivot gracefully in the wind greeting daily commuters and visitors. The artworks would become a strong icon for the station, offering commuter’s a reminder of the history of the site and introduce a sense of playfulness to the mundaneness of transit systems. The installation will be aesthetically intriguing and fun, eventually becoming synonymous with the vibrancy of the new station.
“Microcosmic” is a wind activated kinetic sculpture proposed for the 4th and Brannan Street Platform Station project. The sculpture reflects the community of San Francisco as microcosm and is intended to evoke a contemplative response. The sculpture interacts with the environment by responding to San Francisco’s variable wind conditions.
“Microcosmic” measures approximately H: 14 ft. x W: 17 ft x D: 3 ft when the structure is fully stretched and has 31 rotating points. The circular shaped wings are attached to each moving component and are angled alternately to create rotations that move in opposite direction to one another under the same wind conditions. The moving components of the sculpture will create both compound gyroscopic motions and various visual patterns within the structure, depending on the direction and fluctuation of wind patterns. The piece may appear relaxed and moving slowly or more frenetic in response to the movement of air.
“Microcosmic” will be securely installed on the upper section of a 40′ marquee pole on the platform, which is attached to The Platform station.
The stainless steel surface will be finished with fine abrasives to give the sculpture a reflective and shimmering textured surface.
The entire structure will be thoroughly engineered and securely constructed for maximum strength and durability to withstand anticipated wind load. The moving components will be precisely machined to create precision fitted sculpture that provides a safe and sound piece of artwork for the 4th and Brannan Street site.
PETER RICHARDS/ANDREW FORREST:
When one stands at 4th and Brannan it is hard not to think of flow. It is a crossroads where thousands of people pass by daily, and where periodically, thousands converge at the nearby ballpark. They stream steadily in and out of the area moving through an arterial maze of streets and alleys; pathways whose surfaces themselves hid the vascular systems of the water, waste water, and power. Communication systems, both above and below ground are the cities neutral networks and add to this complexity. All are designed to deliver services to the dwellers of the city in a seamless, unimpeded flow. At a more visceral level, one is aware of the steady movement of an invisible subterranean traffic of huge steel conveyances hidden by the thick layers of concrete. Two blocks away to the north is a traffic whose speed and volume is revealed by the steady cadence of tires converging with overpass expansion joints – becoming the pulse of a giant organism of iron and rubber whose daily migration to and from the City is as timely and predictable as the San Francisco Bay’s tidal flow. But it is not invincible like the tides: its flow can be arrested by unpredictable impediments whose consequences can ripple in complex patterns throughout the Bay Area and beyond. But when all the movement is even and smooth, it is like the sweet forces of nature – flow without resistance.
In our proposed artwork, we will work with this notion of flow, communicating that even in a tough build environment like the cityscape around 4th and Brannan there are direct and communicable links between the flows of nature and the flows of human built systems.
OPPORTUNITY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT:
We welcome you to provide feedback on the proposals by answering the questions below and emailing your responses to Zoe Taleporos, Public Art Program Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, April 29, 5:00 p.m. PDT. Your opinions will be shared with the final selection panel before one proposal is chosen for implementation.
**Please note that public comments do not constitute a vote.**
1. Do you live/work in the 4th and Brannan neighborhood?
2. Do you live/work in San Francisco?
3. What are the strengths (i.e. unique, beautiful, timeless, bold, etc.) of these artwork proposals?
4. What are the weaknesses of these artwork proposals?
5. Will these artworks be enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds?
6. How well do these artworks fit in to the Subway platform setting and surrounding neighborhood?
7. Additional comments.
To download these questions in a Word Document click here.
OVERVIEW OF THE ARTIST SELECTION PROCESS:
In November 2011, the Arts Commission advertised a Request for Qualifications nationally for artists to be considered for this project. The call was open to professional, practicing artists residing within the United States. The Arts Commission received 69 applications, which were screened for minimum qualifications. Staff presented the pool of qualified applicants to a selection panel in January 2012 consisting of: two community representatives; the Central Subway Program Director; a San Francisco County Transportation Authority Representative; the Project Architect; an arts professional; and an Arts Commissioner.
Through this process the panel identified a shortlist of finalists who were invited to produce artwork proposals for the 4th and Brannan station platform. The short list includes the following artists: David Boyer, Joyce Hsu, Moto Ohtake, and the artist team of Peter Richards & Andrew Forrest. Each of the artists spent six weeks developing their proposals, which are on view from April 17 to 29 at the Mission Bay Branch Library and on the Arts Commission website for public comment. Comments will be summarized and shared with the Artist Selection Panel prior to the final panel meeting.
At the final selection panel meeting, the panelists will interview each of the four finalists, discuss their proposals, and then decide which artist/proposal to recommend to the Arts Commission for final approval.
The final selection panel meeting will take place on Monday, May 1, 2012 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall, located at 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 421. (The meeting date is subject to change.) All artist selection panel meetings are open to the public. Please visit the Arts Commission website for any updates to the meeting schedule at: http://www.sfartscommission.org/pubartcollection/ under the Meeting and Events section.