City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

3:00 p.m.

25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70


Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Ave, Ste 240, San Francisco CA 94102 during regular business hours. Tel: 415-252-2594.

Public comment in regard to specific items will be taken before or during consideration of the item.

The ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at this meeting. Please be advised that the Chair may order the removal from the meeting room of any person(s) responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound producing electronic devices.


Commissioners Present

Stanlee Gatti, Ralph Guggenheim, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Dugald Stermer; Absent: Dede Wilsey.


Staff Present

Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs; Nina Dunbar, Natasha Garcia-Lomas, Rupert Jenkins, Debra Lehane, Jennifer Lovvorn, Tonia Macneil, Jill Manton, Judy Moran.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:05 p.m.

  1. Consent
    1. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Robert F. Bailey, Structural Engineer for construction drawings for the rehabilitation of the Portals of the Past Monument in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $20,000.
    2. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with John Griswold of Griswold and Associations for the conservation of the bronze elements on the James A. Garfield Monument in Golden Gate Park for an amount not to exceed $30,000.

      Motion: Motion to move the consent calendar items.
      Moved: Stermer/Gatti

  2. Gallery
    Gallery Director Rupert Jenkins began his report by requesting that the Committee revisit the tabled exhibition proposal from the December 2002 Visual Arts Committee meeting. Commissioner Stermer stated that although he was initially reluctant to approve "Exhibition Game," he has since decided to change his vote to move in favor of this proposed exhibition. He added that since meeting with Mr. Jenkins to discuss the gallery's programming, he recognizes that - while the quality might be debatable - it is appropriate for the gallery to exhibit new and challenging works by young, local artists who are still experimenting with ideas and technique. Mr. Jenkins stated the importance of clarifying the role that the Commissioners play with regard to programming especially in light of the fact that the gallery is currently forming an Exhibitions Committee. Mr. Jenkins welcomed the Commissioners to attend the Exhibition Committee meetings and added that with this new committee the gallery will be working on programming further ahead of time. He stated that this will allow sufficient time for the Commissioners to be apprised of proposals for upcoming guest curated exhibitions well in advance. Commissioner Gatti stated that he would like to know more about the guest curators when proposals are presented. Mr. Jenkins stated that he intends to provide this information thus allowing the Commissioners to assess the curators based on their professional experience. Commissioner Stermer concluded the discussion by voicing his support of the gallery's role to present risky work.

    Motion: Motion to approve the following artists for gallery exhibitions March - May 2003: Paul Mullins, Karina Skvirsky, Lee Walton, Tim Kelley, and Jona Frank, curated by Leah Modigliani.
    Moved: Stermer/Solomon

  3. Collections
    Civic Art Collections Director Debra Lehane reported that she and Commissioner Solomon recently met with representatives of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group and their architect to discuss the design for the Koshland Park Peace Wall. Ms. Lehane noted that the group had taken many of the Commissioners' recommendations into consideration when reworking the design for the wall. Ms. Lehane reported that while the new design is still somewhat linear, it is not as static as the original proposed layout. Commissioner Solomon stated that she was very impressed by the community's tiles that the lead artist, Justine Tatarsky, had selected and recommended to the group that the tile work of Ms. Tatarsky be integrated into the design along with the community's tiles instead of being laid out in separate areas. Ms. Lehane reported that the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group may be ready to present the new design at the Visual Arts Committee meeting in February.

    Ms. Lehane also reported on the status of a number of projects: 1. The next restoration project will be the "Portals of the Past," a doorway near Lloyd's Lake in Golden Gate Park installed in 1909. The funding to date which will cover the structural engineering fee of "Portals of the Past" is $36,000 from the State of California and the Recreation and Parks Department has committed $100,000 from Proposition J Funds. 2. Ms. Lehane is working with the Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority concerning the monuments that surround the music concourse area. The construction of the underground parking area will require that some works be relocated and some protected in place. In the coming months, the VAC will be provided more information on the project and which monuments will require approvals from the Arts Commission. 3. Ms. Lehane hopes to resolve the site for the Anza/Carlos project. Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth will be meeting with the new Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez on January 24th. At that time he intends to discuss the project status with the Supervisor.

  4. Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center
    Project Manager Tonia Macneil reported on the status of the artwork proposal for the Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center. Ms. Macneil stated that the artist team and architects have met to consider alternatives to the current placement of the art. Ms. Macneil reported that the architects still oppose the idea of integrating the artwork into the design of the building. She added that the artists have been flexible and open to the process of working with both the community and the architects. Ms. Macneil stated that the artist team, the community representatives and architects will meet at the end of January. Ms. Macneil explained that due to the holidays the modified design will not be ready to present by the 60 day deadline.

  5. Laguna Honda Hospital
    In Program Manager Susan Pontious's absence, Program Manager Judy Moran presented the final designs for the artwork proposal by artist Merle Axelrad Serlin for Link Lobby at Laguna Honda Hospital. Ms. Moran displayed the three watercolor illustrations upon which the artist's fabric collages will be based. These proposed designs feature various Northern California landscapes and are entitled Bay Area Foothills, Cliffs at Land's End, and Marin Headlands. Ms. Moran explained that the artist sews together tiny slivers of fabric to construct her images which appear very painterly and exquisite. Ms. Moran added that the final pieces would be rather large in scale and would be displayed behind Plexiglas for protection.

    Motion: Motion to approve Merle Axelrad Serlin final designs for three fabric collages.
    Moved: Gatti/Stermer

    Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into an agreement with the artist for an amount not to exceed $47,000 for fabrication and transportation of three fabric collages, entitled Bay Area Foothills, Cliffs at Land's End, and Marin Headlands for installation at Laguna Honda Hospital.
    Moved: Stermer/Solomon

  6. Moscone Center Expansion Project
    Public Art Program Director Jill Manton reported on the status of the Diller + Scofidio artwork for the Moscone Center Expansion Project. Ms. Manton stated that fabrication of the armature and track, which is being done at Olson Metals, is 60% complete and the expected date of installation is mid-February. She added that the LED screen is to be tested at the Multi-Media shop in Rancho Cordova and the expected date of installation is mid-March. Ms. Manton also reminded the Commissioners that Pol-X West was not able to install the armature and track as originally budgeted because the firm accepted a more lucrative contract. The Moscone General Contractor Hunt Construction did not want to assume the liability of installing the track and armature if they were not fabricating it. Ultimately, the fabrication and installation were given to Hunt's subcontractor. At this juncture, the art project lost control of its budget as a result of the higher cost estimate given by Hunt. She added that, although Moscone could have stopped the project due to the additional costs, they have on the contrary been supportive and have rescued the project. Ms. Manton also reported that Diller + Scofidio continue to work on ideas for the LED text for the interior of the building. She explained that Diller + Scofidio are interested in creating a kinetic word sculpture which would extract random words from an ongoing source of news data. Commissioner Guggenheim remarked that he found the idea of using streaming data very interesting. Ms. Manton added that Diller + Scofidio have been working with New York-based artist Ben Rubin from Ear Studios on this project and have recently given him a larger role in the creation of the text. With Ben Rubin, Diller + Scofidio would like to approach Google to inquire whether Google would provide a data-stream of text for the LED panels. Diller + Scofidio also plan to apply for a $15,000 - $30,000 research grant from Google to support this aspect of the project which may need to be submitted through the Arts Commission. Director of Cultural Affairs Richard Newirth inquired what Diller + Scofidio would use if Google does not support the project. Ms. Manton stated that the artists would use the scrolling text that they had designed as part of the original proposal. Ms. Manton concluded her report by noting that Metropolis Magazine is interested in writing about the Diller + Scofidio project.

  7. New Business

  8. Old Business
    As an item of old business, Project Manager Nina Dunbar gave an update on the Union Square project. Ms. Dunbar reported that granite for the sculpture bases has been delivered to San Francisco and that one area of one of the granite sections has some naturally occurring discoloration. Ms. Dunbar and other members of the Union Square construction team reviewed the discoloration at the site and determined that it was not significant enough to reject the entire piece. Ms. Dunbar also reported that the replacement electrical junction boxes for the sculptures arrived yesterday, but the fabricator sent only three instead of the needed four. The sculptures are scheduled for installation in early March due to previously planned activities in the Square scheduled for February.

    As an additional item of old business, Public Art Program Director Jill Manton reported that the attorney for the Academy of Sciences has verified that there are art enrichment funds for their upcoming renovation work. Ms. Manton added that she will be meeting with their representatives at the end of the month and will report on the details in the next Visual Arts Committee meeting.

    Ms. Manton also announced that she had recently been elected to the council of the Public Art Network and would be attending a planning meeting in Washington, D.C. to prepare for the upcoming annual conference.

  9. Adjournment
    As there was no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 3:44 p.m.

    Submitted by Jennifer Lovvorn, Public Art Program Assistant

    Approved by Richard Newirth, Director of Cultural Affairs, 1/24/03



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