The San Francisco Arts Commission’s Public Art Program is overseeing the creation of a diverse and exciting permanent public art collection in the four Central Subway stations. Each station’s distinct identity will be enhanced by beautiful art that the public can enjoy when the Central Subway opens in 2019.
Artwork was selected in accordance with the Central Subway Public Art Program Goals:
- To commission vibrant high quality works of art to reflect San Francisco’s enduring commitment to the exceptional design of civic spaces
- To enhance the quality of transit riders’ experience through a range of high quality, signature public artwork by both local and national artists
- To create a unique visual identity for each station, architecturally and culturally, by commissioning artworks that dramatically enliven the station interiors and reflect the diverse history and vitality of surrounding neighborhoods
- To develop artworks that will remain in a busy underground transit environment for many years through the use of durable materials and fabrication methods that allow for easy maintenance and are resistant to vandalism
- To engage new artists and maintain a fresh and lively environment in the Central Subway following the completion of construction through art installations at each station
Here’s what you will see at the different stations:
Traditional Chinese paper cut artist Yumei Hou will create two large-scale laser-cut metal artwork installations for the Chinatown Station based on the Yang Ge (Sprout Dance). This piece depicts a popular outdoor folk dance performed to celebrate happy occasions that originated in the northeastern provinces of China. The artist’s design emphasizes the spirit and the most iconic figures of the dance along with scenes of country life. The cut metal panels will be painted a vibrant red and installed so that they stand slightly off from the wall to allow for shadow casting. The artwork will be located in the mezzanine level and in the ticketing hall.
Urban Archeology, designed by Tomie Arai, illustrates the history of Chinatown through large scale photographs that will be translated into architectural glass panels. Upon approaching the station, people will come upon images of the contemporary Chinatown community on the façade along Stockton Street and Washington Street. Inside the station, Arai’s work will continue to the platform level with historical images dating back to the 19th century.
Artist Clare Rojas created a two dimension piece for the cavern wall at the concourse level of the Chinatown Station. Her piece entitled A Sense of Community uses imagery obtained from Chinese textile samples which have been translated onto tile and arranged in a pattern reminiscent of Cathedral Quilting. Each colorful swatch will be framed within in small circle closely connected to the other circles.
Union Square| Market Street
The artwork by Erwin Redl for the Union Square|Market Street Station titled Lucy in the Sky is an illuminated installation composed of hundreds of translucent 10 x 10 inch light panels, each containing an array of color LEDs. The light panels, suspended along the entire length of the concourse level corridor’s ceiling in a diamond-shaped pattern, will be computer programmed to slowly change color and display simple patterns and animations, creating a dazzling spectacle for commuters.
For the platform level of the Union Square|Market Street Station, artists Jim Campbell and Werner Klotz are creating a site-specific stainless steel sculpture titled Illuminated Scroll. This artwork is in the form of a ribbon which is comprised of highly polished steel disks, and will be installed overhead, winding its way through struts along the length of the platform. The sculpture will reflect the passengers and trains passing below.
For the station entry on Geary and Stockton, Hughen Starkweather (Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather) will integrate a design into the glass deck and the front faces of the glass elevator enclosures. Their artwork titled Convergence: Commute Patterns is based on the dynamic and diverse pathways, commute patterns and arterial structures that exist above and below the streets of the Bay Area. The visual impact of this design treatment to the station’s exterior would shift from subtle during the day to backlit and more vibrant at night.
For the Yerba Buena|Moscone Station, Catherine Wagner will translate photographs she took in the late 70s documenting the construction of the George Moscone Convention Center into six large-scale photographic sculptural reliefs sandblasted and laser etched onto granite stone panels for installation on the concourse level. For the surface level at the station entry, a photograph from this series will be translated into art glass for installation at the glass curtain wall.
For a prominent wall in the ticketing hall on the concourse level of the Yerba Buena|Moscone Station, Leslie Shows will create an integrated two-dimensional artwork. This artwork, titled Face C/Z, is based on photographic images of iron pyrite rock captured by a flatbed scanner. Working with a glass fabricator, the artist will translate this imagery into a durable artwork fabricated in mirrored, painted, and engraved glass; sheet metal; gravel; and other permanent materials. Because of the reflectivity of its elements, Face C/Z will shimmer and appear to change in color. By using pyrite, also known as “fool’s gold”, the piece speaks to the history of California’s Gold Rush and ever-changing economy.
4th and Brannan Surface Station
The surface station at 4th and Brannan Street will feature a dynamic, kinetic sculpture, Microscopic. Designed by Moto Ohtake, this piece will measure at 14 feet by 17 feet and will be installed on the upper portion of the 40 foot marquee pole on the platform. Thirty one rotating points will allow the sculpture to interact with different wind conditions, creating various visual patterns depending on the direction and fluctuation of wind patterns.
For more information about the Public Art Program, check out the San Francisco Arts Commission website.