City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

December 15, 2010

Visual Arts Committee - December 15, 2010
Wednesday December 15, 2010
3 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70



Commissioners Present: JD Beltran, Greg Chew, Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, PJ Johnston, Barbara Sklar.

Staff Present: Mary Chou, Allison Cummings, Carol Marie Daniels, Marcus Davies, Jennifer Lovvorn, Jill Manton, Judy Moran, Kate Patterson, Susan Pontious, Zoë Taleporos.

Note: All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:04 p.m.

1. Consent Calendar

1. Motion to approve a (1600 square foot) mural by artist Cory Ferris on the U.S. 101 traffic island freeway pillar at San Bruno Avenue and Alemany Boulevard. The project is sponsored by the Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee.

2. Motion to approve 48 (48" x 66") panels by artists Katherine Connell and Oscar Melara, depicting what Portola means to local residents, to be installed along the east and west Caltrans fence on San Bruno Avenue. The project is sponsored by the Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee.

3. Motion to approve a mural, What's Going On? (8' x 55') by lead artist Christy Majano and Precita Eyes on the southern wall of Revere Avenue at Selby Street, under freeway 280, and two cylindrical freeway supports (8' x 18') on the northeast and northwest corners of Revere Avenue and Selby Street. The project is sponsored by the San Francisco Clean City Coalition.

Motion: Motion to approve consent calendar items
Moved: Beltran/ Chew

2. Lotus in Motion, the Watercolor Project

Susan Pontious

Ms. Lori Halloran presented Lotus in Motion; the Watercolor Project, an installation proposed by her father, the artist Gordon Halloran. Ms. Halloran described the project as a series of floating paintings inspired by the water lily paintings by Claude Monet and the formations of ice breaks in the Atlantic Ocean. Each floating element is approximately 4' x 6' in diameter and is constructed of polyethylene foam sheets coated in an eco-friendly varnish and then painted with acrylic paints. The sheets are set adrift in a body of water, held together by a thin fishing line and then activated by motion sensors triggered by passers-by to create various formations and color relationships. Mr. Halloran is currently implementing this project in Miami and is proposing a temporary installation for the pond in Walter S. Johnson Park in front of the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Program Director Susan Pontious informed the Commissioners that Public Art Program staff had reviewed the proposal prior to the Visual Arts Committee meeting and was unable to give it a favorable review. Ms. Pontious stated that ultimately this project would have to be approved by the Recreation and Parks Department, but is first presented to the Arts Commission to comment on its aesthetic and conceptual value. Ms. Pontious reported that the staff’s main concern involves the lack of relationship between the project and the chosen site. She mentioned the sensitivity of the Palace of Fine Arts setting, stating that a temporary installation at such an iconic San Francisco location would be problematic to City residents and visitors. Ms. Pontious further remarked that the project would have to consider multiple ecological factors and overall, the Pubic Art Program staff did not find the project compelling enough to recommend.

Commissioner Johnston explained to Ms. Halloran that public art opportunities are typically determined by a public process wherein artists compete for the chance to implement project proposals. He expressed that temporary installations endorsed by the San Francisco Arts Commission are usually implemented with the oversight of the Public Art Program Staff. And since this project is not being funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission, there would have to be external funds to cover the administrative efforts necessary to complete the project. Commissioner Garcia-Nakata suggested that the artist apply to the 2011/2012 Prequalified Artist Pool to be considered for future pubic art projects that have the support of the Public Art Program staff. Commissioner Beltran commented that she would like to see how the project is realized in Miami before considering the project for approval.

Ms. Halloran asked the Commissioners for advice on how to move forward with the project. They recommended she find a champion within the Recreation and Parks Department for the project at its proposed site, or perhaps find another site that would be less problematic. Commissioner Beltran suggested that the artist should consult an environmental specialist to ensure the project does not affect the wildlife or natural environment. Ms. Pontious added that more sophisticated samples and mock-ups of the work should be included in the artist’s next presentation. Feeling the project was not ready for approval, the Commissioners declined to take action.


The Committee may approve one of two motions.

a. Motion: Motion to decline approval of Lotus in Motion, the Watercolor Project an installation proposed by Gordon Halloran for the pond in Walter S. Johnson Park (in front of the Palace of Fine Arts.)

b. Motion: Motion to approve Lotus in Motion, the Watercolor Project an installation proposed by Gordon Halloran for the pond in Walter S. Johnson Park (in front of the Palace of Fine Arts.)


3. Sunset Playground

Jennifer Lovvorn

Presentation of Construction Documents Phase deliverables by Bryan Tedrick for artwork for Sunset Playground.

Motion: Motion to approve Construction Documents Phase deliverables (final design of sculptural artwork elements, project budget, surface treatment samples, fabrication mock up, and structural engineering) by Bryan Tedrick for Sunset Playground.

4. Art on Market Street Program
Judy Moran

Project Manager Judy Moran presented Here and Gone, an Art on Market Street kiosk poster proposal by Elisheva Biernoff. Ms. Moran explained that Ms. Biernoff’s proposal explores the history of San Francisco through paintings combining cultural themes, icons, historical figures and architectural elements. She noted that each of the six posters would investigate a specific era and would comprise multiple images relating to Ms. Biernoff’s research. Ms. Moran showed some preliminary sketches of the proposal and asked for approval to begin the Design Development Phase wherein six final images would be produced and presented to the Commission at a later date.

Motion: Motion to approve the Art on Market Street kiosk poster proposal by artist Elisheva Biernoff and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Elisheva Biernoff to develop and complete six posters designs for printing for an amount not to exceed $8,000.
Moved: Beltran/ Johnston

5. Chinese Recreation Center
Mary Chou

Project Manager Mary Chou presented the Final Design for Shan Shan Sheng's artwork at the Chinese Recreation Center. Ms. Chou noted that the artist’s proposal design had been modified to address safety issues relating to a hanging glass structure. Ms. Chou reported that several tests of safety glass were conducted by an engineer ensuring that if a glass piece fell, it would crumble instead of shatter. She mentioned the other major concern was regarding the sway of the glass strands. Ms. Chou described the artist’s solution of steel rods attached to the ceiling and then attached to the four corners of each glass element. By reinforcing the work in this way, it sets the elements in place and prevents movement in the event of an earthquake. Ms. Chou also presented a sample of the glass character for review by the Committee.

Director of Programs Jill Manton asked if there was a more discreet way to reinforce the work that would not affect the aesthetic of the artist’s original design. She mentioned that there were other attachment systems that would be more appealing such as Plexi rods and suggested directing the artist to a glass manufacturer to come up with a different anchoring solution. Commissioner Garcia-Nakata remarked how the reinforcing brace overpowers the piece and suggested that the artist consider working in a medium other than glass. She recommended possibly working in a translucent, colored plastic material that might give a similar effect. Ms. Chou reported that she had discussed the possibility of using plastic with the artist at an early stage in the Design Development process, but because of the difference in aesthetic, had settled on the glass medium. The Commissioners agreed not to take action at this time and advised Ms. Chou to work with the artist to develop a different anchoring solution or consider working in a new material.


Motion: Motion to approve Design Development deliverables for the artwork by Shan Shan Sheng for the interior of the Chinese Recreation Center and authorization to proceed with fabrication of the artwork.

6. Transbay Transit Center
Jill Manton

Director of Programs Jill Manton presented an update on Tim Hawkinson’s project at the Transbay Transit Center. Ms. Manton reminded the Commissioners of the artist’s project stating that a large sculpture depicting a navigational figure would be constructed from concrete and other remains of the demolished former Transbay Terminal. Ms. Manton remarked how the client for this project had instructed the artist to create a powerful landmark piece. The artist responded by designing this conceptual work, using a rough aesthetic against the elegant backdrop of the new Transbay Transit Center.

Ms. Manton reported that the original budget for this project was 1 million dollars. However, after realizing the scope of work involving concrete demolition, storage, earthquake proofing and the installation of a base isolator, the budget was revised to 1.8 million dollars. Ms. Manton informed the Commissioners that after much negotiation with the various contractors involved in this project, the Pubic Art Program Staff was able to reduce the budget to 1.45 million dollars. She stated that her goal was to make a presentation to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority with the endorsement of the Visual Arts Committee.

7. Coit Tower Fresco Murals
Allison Cummings

Senior Registrar of Collections Allison Cummings reported on the condition of the WPA era murals located within Coit Tower and their upkeep. Ms. Cummings reminded the Commissioners that while the murals are part of the Civic Art Collection, there is no funding for their conservation. She further noted that Coit Tower falls under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Parks department and hopes to develop a mutually advantageous solution with them to ensure the continued maintenance of the murals.

Ms. Cummings gave an overview of the ongoing condition concerns: re-occurring mineral deposits at the ceiling joints, monitoring existing cracks in the fresco and surrounding support that are affected by environmental fluctuations, scratches resulting from public interaction and doorway damage from vendor activity. Ms. Cummings reported that the general maintenance of Coit Tower needed to be addressed as well: cleaning of the rotunda, cobwebs and dust in windowsills, and moisture damage. Ms. Cummings noted that while the maintenance of the building is the responsibility of the Recreation and Parks Department, it greatly affects the condition of the murals that are the responsibility of the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Ms. Cummings noted that the Recreation and Parks Department planed to establish a vendor and an elevator operator at Coit Tower who could potentially act as general maintenance staff. However, with the murals needing repair, Ms. Cummings hopes to access a stipend from the Coit Tower revenue stream that would allow Collections staff to restore the work. Commissioner Johnston and Commissioner Garcia-Nakata suggested organizing a meeting with the Recreation and Parks Department staff to establish a mutually beneficial agreement to ensure the care of the murals.

8. New Business

9. Old Business

10. Adjournment

4:29 p.m.

ZT 12/15/10

Explanatory documents are available for public inspection and copying at the Arts Commission office, 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 240, San Francisco, CA 94102 during regular business hours. INFO: Zoe Taleporos (415) 252-3215.

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