New Public Art at San Francisco International Airport
With 2%-for-art funds generated by the expansion of San Francisco International Airport’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1, new Long Term Parking Garage, Grand Hyatt Hotel and AirTrain stations, the San Francisco Arts Commission developed an ambitious public art program designed to create a dynamic environment that engages travelers from the moment they arrive at the airport.
Over the years, the Arts Commission has shaped an unparalleled public art collection at the airport. With each new building project, the Agency has the opportunity to work with a diverse group of artists to create an atmosphere that reflects the innovation and creativity for which San Francisco is known and celebrated throughout the world.
Terra-Techne consists of six suspended “tectonic plates”, each representing a different continent, from which an upside-down landscape projects from the underside of the continents while an abstract circuit board extrusion sits on the top. The geology and plant forms are cast in stainless steel with amazing exactitude. Each continent represents a different biome from diverse terrains of California, featuring characteristic soil types, plants, and one large plant or tree element. For instance, Eurasia, the largest continent, is 21’ 6” x 17’, and features a palm tree oasis, complete with a cast palm tree that is 10’ 6” in length!
While passengers lining up for security will have one view of the sculptures, those on the mezzanine level will have another narrative: ceramic tile “circuit boards” cover the tops of each of the continents and depict a different design in the evolution of the silicon chip.
The artwork is intended as a monument to technological innovation and organic connectivity. In this inverted landscape, technology replaces the root network of the plant, symbolically becoming the source of growth and connectivity in the digital age. As the site where international travelers depart, connect and transfer, SFO manifests the ever-greater connectivity of our society throughout the world.
Location: South Courtyard
Coming in 2020
Gay Outlaw transforms the new South Courtyard into a sculpture garden with three bold, geometric artworks that can be enjoyed from above and at the ground level. Each sculpture relates to one another through form, material and color, with an eye towards playfulness and engendering rich language associations.
Materials: Cast concrete; cast terrazzo
Bird Plane House
Bird Plane House is created from the intersection of two isometric drawings of a cube. From different perspectives, the sculpture may remind the observer of a bird, an arrow, a simple drawing of a house, or even a plane. This sculpture will be made of aluminum plate and painted to resemble crayon on cardboard, scaled up so that the textures are rendered at the size of bricks. The edge of the artwork will be machined to mimic the corrugation detail of cardboard.
This sculpture takes its form from a half sphere that has been reduced to two rolled planes joined along one edge. The convex interior is visually dynamic and naturally reflective. The exterior will be painted a deep steel blue, and the interior will be coated with a paint that reflects a spectrum of light from gold to silver, mimicking the light and color of a green abalone shell or peacock feather. Outlaw’s goal with this work is to allude to a natural form that gives the impression of generating its own light.
Intersection is an iteration of a construction based on a perforated cube that has been part of Outlaw’s sculptural vocabulary for many years. While the cast concrete body of the sculpture echoes the material of the Terminal 1 plaza, it is adorned with colorful and sculptural terrazzo heart-shaped and elongated oval dots.
Suzanne Husky Close Encounter with the Californian Sublime, coming in 2022
Location: Pre-security; Meet and Greet
Close Encounter with the Californian Sublime is an altered painting of a landscape by painter William Keith called Landscape with Mount Shasta (circa 1888). A couple of tourists taking a photograph of themselves with a selfie stick and a grizzly bear have been added to the painting.
William Keith’s original painting belongs to the California Historical Society, who gave their permission for the artist to use his image for this artwork. Keith was a close friend of naturalist John Muir, and early painter of the California sublime. The “wild west” painters of that time were already aware that colonization of the American West meant an end of the wilderness. Paradoxically, their paintings contributed to the fabrication of the myth of the west and the perception that it was an epic landscape of unlimited natural resources for the taking.
Landscape paintings like Keith’s also forged our sense of beauty. The couple in Husky’s artwork have found a spot from which they can photograph themselves within nature’s grandiose backdrop. They are so intent on the narcissistic impulse to “document” themselves that even a grizzly bear becomes a prop in the “selfie”. This mashup of images juxtapose historical romanticism of 19th century landscape painting with commentary on contemporary culture, where, in the words of the artist, nature has become relegated to a “consumable commodity for a culture of image and self.”
Location: South end of terminal in the Departures level
Coming in 2020
Emily Fromm created four mosaic murals that illustrate some of San Francisco’s most colorful districts: the Mission and Castro districts, the Embarcadero, and Chinatown. Each artwork highlights the beauty and history of San Francisco with details that speak to the vibrant character of each neighborhood including some of San Francisco’s most famous establishments, like the Castro Theater. Her intention was to create a sense of what it is like to walk down the City’s streets, providing a first-look into the city for visitors as they arrive or a farewell glance before they leave.
Dana Hemenway The Color of Horizons, 2020
Wood, steel, rope, extension cords, glazed ceramics, LED lights
Location: South-end of terminal in the departures level
The Color of Horizons is a site-specific, suspended light sculpture by Dana Hemenway. The artist is known for applying weaving and macramé techniques to utilitarian objects to elevate and transform the object beyond its original functionality. For this installation, she draws from San Francisco's surroundings—specifically the frequently changing sky, sue to wind and fog. The work takes its title from Rebecca Solnit's book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Hemenway was inspired by the author's ponderings on the idea of the horizon. Solnit explains, "For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, the color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away... the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go."
BOARDING AREA B
Jason Jägel The Author & Her Story, 2019
Location: Hold room 10
The Author & Her Story is a 13 ft. by 33 ft. mosaic tile mural specifically designed for a global, intergenerational audience. The mural represents a tableau of unique individuals sharing a global table. Overlaying the entire image, the words ‘SPIRIT’ and ‘BODY’ are rendered in cut tiles to create a transparent script embedded in the picture. Spirit/Body invites viewers to consider the transcendent potential of air travel, where passengers can embark on an inner journey, exploring human interconnection.
Robert Minervini Hyper-Natural Bay Area, 2019
Location: Hold room 14
Hyper-Natural Bay Area brings the viewer in and out of an encounter with San Francisco, the artist’s adopted city. The mosaic mural is both a landscape and a still-life. An array of natural native or common plants are arranged in the foreground, alongside more surreal objects such as a statue of Minerva, (a reference to the artist’s eponymous hero), a Tiki Totem, and representations of the Golden Gate bridge. These objects partially obscure a panoramic view of the City’s famous skyline. As the viewers peer into this trompe l’oeil scene, the artist hopes that they will discover a new way to dream of place, city, and destination as they wait for their flights.
Leonardo Drew Number 69S, 2019
Mixed media sculptures
Location: Bulkhead adjacent to Gate B9
Leonardo Drew’s work is a multi-layered installation spanning three walls. Comprised of hundreds of small sculptural components to create a massive galaxy, the installation is a cosmos whose collective parts can be identified as letters of an alphabet that create a narrative. The elements comprising the whole are remnants of past artworks, a recycling effort that is integral to Drew’s desire to never let anything go to waste. When juxtaposed in a new setting, this visual alphabet creates new words and new meanings. The installation at SFO speaks to an enormous cross-section of people, carrying with them a multitude of life experiences and cultures.
Andy Vogt TBD, 2020
Architectural bronze 385 2” tubing
Location: Terminal 1, Boarding Area B Bulkhead
Andy Vogt uses mitered and welded bronze tubing sections to create his trompe l’oeil wall drawing on the bulkhead wall. Approximately 10’ x 32’ and 1” thick, the sculpture appears to float off the wall. He manipulates the depiction of perspective, along with shading of warm gold patinas to create the illusion of three-dimensional depth in what is a two-dimensional construction.
Spencer Finch Orion, 2020
Location: Terminal 1, Boarding Area B, end of pier
Each star in Finch’s installation is made up of 32 LED lamps. The position of the star sculptures in the installation roughly correlates to their position in the night sky. The distance of each star from the floor is determined by the distance of the star from the earth. The higher the star, the more light—years away from earth it is.
Orion includes the seven major stars of the constellation Orion, which are Alnilam, Alnitak, Bellatrix, Betelguse, Mintaka, Rigel, and Saiph. The colors of the filters on each lamp represent the spectral emission of that star. For example, Betelgeuse, a very old star, therefore red, has more filters at the red-end of the spectrum, while other stars are much bluer, thus have a greater percentage of blue filters.
Mark Handforth Red Cadmium Giant, 2019
Location: Terminal 1, Boarding Area B, mid pier
Handforth’s sculpture is a dynamic, suspended collage—a star of crumpled metal beams painted a rich cadmium red, hung slantwise and pierced by a cast aluminum Redwood branch. The arms of the star are overshot by fluorescent light elements— violet, amber and red lamps. Light rays project past the sculpture and out into the space around it. Red Cadmium Giant takes inspiration from stars, both real and hand-drawn.
A painter and multi-media artist, Sarah Cain’s practice is characterized by immersive site- specific installations that cover entire rooms with her bold color. Her work references illuminated manuscripts, prisms and cascading rainbows, all of which lend themselves perfectly to glass and light. To translate her colorful abstract design for the airport train station into glass, Cain worked with Judson Studio, the oldest family-run stained glass studio in the United States. A residency at Judson Studio enabled her to engage in all stages of the process. The result is a stunning work that creates a transformational experience for those arriving at the Hyatt by the AirTrain.
Johanna Grawunder Coding, 2019
Light fixtures; glass, painted steel panels
Location: East façade of Parking Garage 2 and elevator cab interiors
Coding is an immersive environment, installation incorporating different decorative elements, or "codes," each expressing a quality and experience of the elevator tower. Mirrored square and rectangle windows, suggesting dots and dashes, in the facade spell out "San Francisco" in Morse code. Yellow steel tags on the structural mullions point north, south, east, and west. Luminous ceilings and volumes color-change ever so slowly and become kinetic elements that amplify the up and down movement of riders/travelers. The elements are dynamic throughout the day and night, through the use of materials that respond to reflection, luminosity and color-changing light, offering a multi-layered elevator experience.
GRAND HYATT hotel
Jacob Hashimoto This Infinite Gateway of Time and Circumstance, 2019
Paper, UV ink, resin, bamboo, Spectra, acrylic and stainless steel
Location: Level 3 restaurant
Comprised of over 3,500 individual, kite-like ellipses, this immersive sculpture floats between two floors of the building in an undulating, interwoven canopy. The work transforms as images of earth, sea, and various graphics give way to a gradient of translucent whites, revealing what the artist envisioned as “a cloud of kites, and a landscape of air and earth, painted at the edge of the sky.” The work creates the impression of a landscape drifting in and out of visibility through clouds, or slowly becoming subsumed by a descending marine layer. Other references include video games, virtual environments, cosmology, systems and languages of representation, nature, art, technology and architecture.
Ellen Harvey Green Map, 2019
Hand-cut glass and stone mosaic
Location: Ground level entry lobby
Green Map inverts the traditional idea of a map to highlight the region’s green space. Instead of focusing on cities, towns and roads, this map features places like the Marin Headlands, Mount Tamalpais, and Point Reyes National Seashore. In doing so, the artwork celebrates the beautiful parks and open space that characterize the Bay Area. A small gold circle indicates the location of the Grand Hyatt Hotel and San Francisco International Airport. Visitors are encouraged to explore the surrounding natural wonders.
Standing at 35 feet tall, Ether is the first permanent artwork in the United States by Japanese artist Kohei Nawa. Referencing the movement of airplanes, the sculpture explores the concept of gravity, defied during takeoff, but used during landing. The form of the sculpture visualizes a droplet of liquid falling from sky to earth. It changes shape as gravity propels it downward, but encounters an equal counter force thrusting skyward. The resulting form is a symmetrical and potentially infinite column created within a space of zero gravity.
With paper and X-ACTO blades, Tahiti Pehrson hand-cuts intricately patterned forms that speak to universal traditions of pattern making found throughout history. For this installation, Pehrson digitally scanned his original cut paper artwork so that it could be fabricated using laser jet cut aluminum. Using moiré patterns that reference the realms of mathematics, arts, and crafts, the installation explores the interplay between light, shadow and architectural space. Perception of volume and structure shift as the light changes throughout the day, and as the viewer moves around the work.
Miguel Arzabe Cultural Fabric (Bay Area), 2019
Archival ink on archival paper
Location: Level 2 hallway to meeting rooms
Miguel Arzabe collects and repurposes printed promotional material (posters, flyers, brochures, etc.) from art exhibitions he has attended. He often has a personal connection to the artist whose work is depicted therein. In Cultural Fabric (Bay Area), Arzabe created a digital collage of collected images from Bay Area art exhibitions. The images were then printed on paper, cut into strips, and woven together by hand to form a tapestry. The imagery was sourced from exhibition materials featuring work by Lisa K. Blatt, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Isaac Julien, Hung Liu, Alicia McCarthy, Klea McKenna, Sofie Ramos, Rachelle Reichert, Maja Ruznic, and Leo Valledor. Arzabe’s weaving process is an homage to the textile tradition of the artist’s Andean heritage (Bolivia). He creates his own patterns inspired by Andean motifs that describe the environment and mythology of a particular region.
David Wilson Winter/Spring, Standing in Claremont Canyon, 2019
Sumi ink on Kozo rice paper
Location: Level 2 event registration & prefunction
Artist David Wilson spends a lot of time outdoors, exploring the landscape around his Oakland home. For this work, Wilson found a site in Claremont Canyon where he planted himself to create a plein air drawing. The artist created a mobile work surface, which he transported to this location and left in place. Over the course of several months, Wilson took individual sheets of paper to his work station daily, drawing from direct observation. In total, this piece is comprised of 40 individual paper sections, offering a panoramic view stretching from South San Francisco to the San Francisco, including the area where the San Francisco Airport is located.
TWO DIMENSIONAL PROGRAM
San Francisco Arts Commission also curated an extensive collection of two-dimensional works by Bay Area artists for both San Francisco International Airport: Terminal 1, Boarding Area B and Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Artists who will have work installed in Terminal 1, Boarding Area B, include John Bankston, Tammy Rae Carland, Fong Chung-ray, David Huffman, Chris Johanson, Margaret Kilgallen, Frank Lobdell, Barry McGee, Shaun O’Dell, Susan O’Malley, Hank Willis Thomas, and Cornelia Schulz.
Artists who will have work installed in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, include Miya Ando, Natalya Burd, John Chiara, James Chronister, Michael Dvortcsak, Ala Ebtekar, Crystal Liu, Terri Loewenthal, Klea McKenna, and Richard Misrach.