City and County of San FranciscoSan Francisco Arts Commission

August 17, 2011

Visual Arts Committee - August 17, 2011
Wednesday August 17, 2011
3 p.m.
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70

Commissioners Present:
Lorraine Garcia-Nakata, PJ Johnston, Barbara Sklar.

Commissioners Absent: Greg Chew, Dorka Keehn.

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

All votes are unanimous unless recorded otherwise.

The meeting commenced at 3:01 p.m.

1. Consent Calendar

1. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contract with the Independent Curators International for an amount not to exceed $2,750 for touring the FAX exhibition to the SFAC Gallery.

2. Motion to increase the contract amount for Tom Otterness Studio authorized by Resolution Number 1206-10-340 by $150,000 to correct an error in the amount listed in the resolution, from an amount not to exceed $600,000 to a new total amount not to exceed $750,000 for design development, fabrication of molds, fabrication of sculptures, transportation and consultation during installation for Central Subway: Moscone Station.

3. Motion to approve Excelsior Portal a tile mural by Elizabeth A. O’Connor on the 280 freeway overpass between Mission and Trumbull streets. The mural will be executed by Excelsior Boys & Girls Club youth and is sponsored by the Excelsior Action Group.

4. Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into a contract with Scott Attie, selected by the Public Safety Building Artist Selection Panel for design and engineering of an artwork for the Public Safety Building: Police Memorial in an amount not to exceed $74,000.

5. Motion to approve Construction Document Phase deliverables (budget, material samples, written costs estimates, schedule and maintenance plan) by Moto Ohtake for Fulton Playground.

Motion: Motion to approve consent calendar item
Moved: Sklar/ Johnston


2. Bernal Heights Library
Susan Pontious

Program Director Susan Pontious presented the mural designs for the Bernal Heights Library by the artist team of Precita Eyes Muralists and Reuben Rude. Ms. Pontious explained that the design had gone through an extensive community process and is now approved by the Library Commission. She introduced City Librarian Luis Herrera to discuss the process to date. Mr. Herrera reported that the renovation of the Bernal Heights Library was completed in 2009. However, the treatment of the existing mural on the library’s façade had not been resolved at that time. Mr. Herrera noted that following the restoration, a community mediation process began to address the different opinions expressed by the community regarding the removal or replacement of the mural. Mr. Herrera explained that eventually consensus was reached among the Library Commissioners to commission a new artwork for the exterior of the library. Mr. Herrera reported that following that decision, an artist team was selected and their initial artwork concepts were presented to the Library Commission as well as to the Bernal Heights community. Mr. Herrera clarified that in July the design was granted a resolution of approval and is now being presented for endorsement by the Visual Arts Committee (“VAC”). Commissioner Garcia-Nakata commented on the complex nature of the process and thanked the Library Commission for all its work. She then opened the discussion to public comment.

Ellen Egbent addressed the Commissioners stating that she had been to all Library Commission meetings regarding this item and recognized the VAC’s role in endorsing the project. She noted that the Library Commission was placing the aesthetic evaluation of the mural design under the jurisdiction of the VAC. Ms. Egbent expressed her hope for a beautiful artwork for the exterior of the library, but did not think the current design proposal was of artistic merit.

Commissioner Johnston congratulated the Library Commission for navigating a contentious debate and arriving at a good solution for what he thought was a tough but appropriate discussion for the Bernal Heights Library. He recalled seeing the original mural presented at an earlier VAC meeting and commented on its state of disrepair. Commissioner Johnston expressed that he felt the Library Commission had done due diligence to arrive at an approved design and felt the VAC should endorse it. Commissioner Johnston noted that although the design will be executed in tile, it should go through the same review process of murals implemented on city property.

Rosanne Liggett addressed the Commissioners in opposition to the proposed mural design. She stated her opinion that the Library Commission’s vote did not indicate broad community support for the project. Ms. Liggett added that because the library building represented historic WPA era architecture, it was a popular opinion that no artwork should be placed on its façade at all. Ms. Liggett presented comments by community members complied on a blog devoted to the issue and communicated the shared belief that the mural design looked more like illustration than fine art. She added that she hoped the VAC will consider the aesthetic quality of the design as they vote on the item.

Commissioner Garcia-Nakata expressed her appreciation of all perspectives on the mural design and thanked those who made public comment for taking the time to express their viewpoints. Commissioner Garcia-Nakata explained that while some may not be in favor of the design, it had been vetted through the Library Commission and the VAC’s role was to facilitate the next steps in the design process. Commissioner Johnston added that Precita Eyes Muralists had a good track record of producing high quality work and felt confident in their ability to execute this project. Interim Director of Cultural Affairs JD Beltran commented that the color palette of the mural should be muted to compliment the WPA era style architecture of the library building. Commissioner Johnston agreed, citing Owen’s Smiths mosaic artworks at Laguna Honda as a good example to follow. Ms. Pontious suggested that the artist team present tile samples and a revised color palette at a VAC meeting in the future.

Motion to approve mural designs for the Bernal Heights Library by the artist team of Precita Eyes and Reuben Rude with the stipulations that the team change the color palette to colors prevalent during the WPA period, which also compliment the architecture of the period and present tile samples at VAC for design approval.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar

3. WritersCorps Market Street Kiosk Poster Series
Melissa Hung

WritersCorps Program Manager Melissa Hung presented the designs developed by Adrienne Aquino for the WritersCorps Market Street Kiosk Poster Series. Ms. Hung explained that 36 posters will be produced for bus shelter kiosks along Market Street from October to January displaying three designs, each featuring a poem from students of the WritersCorps Program. Ms. Hung reported that the writing consists of a series of love poems to San Francisco, and are created by youth ranging from age16-20. Ms. Hung noted that the posters include themes of transit, neighborhoods and movement. She added that all the poets selected for this project were thrilled to participate.

Motion: Motion to approve designs developed by designer Adrienne Aquino for the WritersCorps Market Street Kiosk Poster Series based on the youth writing from the San Francisco Arts Commission’s WritersCorps program. Exhibition will be displayed in 36 bus shelter kiosks on Market Street from October 31, 2011 to January 27, 2012.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar.

4. Central Subway
Jennifer Lovvorn

A. Project Manager Jennifer Lovvorn presented the Project Outline for the 4th and Brannan Platform Public Art Project. Ms. Lovvorn explained that this project is an extension of the Third Street Light Rail line (known as “T-Third”), which will connect to the future Central Subway line. Ms. Lovvorn presented examples of completed T-Third line platform artworks, demonstrating the uniformity of integrated pole mounted sculptural elements, shadow casters, and paving designs at these platform stations. She reported that the Central Subway Arts Master Plan, which was approved on November 3, 2008 by the Arts Commission, called for the commissioning of a large unique sculpture for the marquee pole for the 4th and Brannan Platform, which would be in keeping with the pole-mounted sculptures on the other T-Third Street platforms.. Ms. Lovvorn explained that a new Request for Qualifications will be issued nationally due to regulations from the funding agency and a selection panel process will take place over the next few months.

Motion to approve the Project Outline for 4th and Brannan Platform Public Art Project.
Moved: Sklar/Johnston

Motion: Motion to approve the following arts professionals as potential panelists for the
4th and Brannan Platform Public Art Project Artist Selection Panel: Jennifer Easton, Project Manager, San Jose Public Art Program; Lex Leifheit, Executive Director, SOMArts; Justin Hoover, Curator and Gallery Director, SOMArts; Ellen Oh, Director, Kearney Street Workshop; Julia Hamilton, Adjunct Professor, UC Berkeley; Steven Huss, Cultural Arts Manager, Oakland Public Art Program; and Judy Moran, Former Project Manager, San Francisco Arts Commission.
Moved: Sklar/Johnston

B. Ms. Lovvorn gave a project update regarding the landmark artwork at the Chinatown Station of the Central Subway Project. She reminded Commissioners that artist Yumei Hou was selected for the project and presented her approved proposal. Ms. Lovvorn reported that Public Art Program staff was having difficulty entering into contract with the artist due to a language barrier and her concerns about certain contract provisions. Ms. Lovvorn is working with the City Attorney to explore mofications to the contract to address the artist’s concerns. Ms. Lovvorn is also working with the project team to coordinate the structural design specifications that are required as part of the Construction Documents which will be at 100% in October. Ms. Lovvorn also noted that the location of the artwork had changed due to revisions of the station’s architecture. She stated that she would present the new location to Commissioner for approval at an upcoming meeting.

5. Memorial Court
Susan Pontious

Ms. Pontious presented an update on the Memorial Court Veteran’s Memorial Project. Ms. Pontious reported that the Memorial Court Artist Selection Panel recently selected the proposal Passage of Remembrance by the team of artist Susan Narduli and landscape architect Andrea Cochran. Ms. Pontious described the central elements of Passage of Remembrance as a basalt octagon with a stainless steel walkway over a reflecting pool. Ms. Pontious noted that the octagon creates pathways for the viewer to navigate with poems by famous poet and World War I veteran Archibald MacLeish inscribed on its walls. In addition to the octagon form, Ms. Pontious explained that Ms. Cochran had altered the landscape design of the court to include a slight sloping of the lawn, and the addition of a material under the grass to allow wheelchair accessibility. Commissioner Johnston, who served on the selection panel, commented on the redesign of the court noting that the changes will allow the space to become activated by public use. Ms. Pontious added that Passage of Remembrance has been approved by the Board of Trustees of the War Memorial Complex.

Motion: Motion to approve the proposal design submitted by Susan Narduli Studio and Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture for a veteran’s memorial located in Memorial Court in the War Memorial Complex.
Moved: Sklar/Johnston

Motion: Motion to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with Susan Narduli Studio for $420,560 for design and project management services (schematic design through construction) for a veteran’s memorial located in Memorial Court in the War Memorial Complex.
Moved: Sklar/Johnston

6. Mission Playground
Marcus Davies

Project Manager Marcus Davies presented the final design revisions of artwork fence panels by Michael Bartalos for Mission Playground. Mr. Davies explained that due to a reduction in the panel height, Mr. Bartalos had been required to make alterations to his original design in order to accommodate the new dimensions. The new designs for the ten individual panels were then presented to the committee. Mr. Davies also explained that the new designs had been carefully reviewed by both the artist and the fabricator to assure that all openings within the panels were in strict compliance with San Francisco Department of Building Inspection code and that any areas of potential structural fragility had been reinforced. Upon review of the modified design the committee was in agreement that the revision process not only addressed structural needs, but resulted in an overall aesthetic enhancement of the artwork.

Motion: Motion to approve final design revisions of artwork fence panels by Michael Bartalos for Mission Playground.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar


7. Public Utilities Commission
Jill Manton

Director of Programs Jill Manton reported on the status of the Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) between the San Francisco Arts Commission (“SFAC”) and the Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”). Ms. Manton explained that consensus was reached between the SFAC and senior level staff at the PUC to finalize the MOU. Ms. Manton noted that the agreement to allocate 65% of funds to the Community Arts and Education Program (“CAE”) and 35% to the Public Art Program remained. Ms. Manton stated that she, Ms. Pontious, CAE Program Director Judy Nemzoff will meet to devise a comprehensive cultural arts plan for the PUC that will include support to cultural centers and temporary public art projects. Ms. Manton reported that the San Francisco Foundation was added as a partner to the cultural arts plan. She commented that the trio of agencies working together will be successful in revitalizing various communities through the arts.


Motion to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.

8. Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series
Mary Chou

Project Manager Mary Chou presented proposals by artists Julie Chang, Christina Empedocles, Paul Madonna and alternate Guillermo Gomez-Pena, recommended by the Artist Selection Panel for the 2012 Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series. Ms. Chou reminded the Commissioners that the artists chosen for this series were asked to create proposals responding to the theme of “celebrating the arts in San Francisco.” Ms. Chou noted that the panel was comprised of Commissioner Johnston, artist Katherine Aoki, Director of the Kearney Street Workshop Ellen Oh, and former SFAC Art on Market Street Project Manager Judy Moran.

Ms. Chou described Ms. Chang’s art practice as often appropriating ethnic imagery and combining it with that of gift cards or wall paper in a strong graphic style. For this series, Ms. Chou explained that the artist will create six designs, each focusing on a different genre of art. Ms. Chou noted that the panel liked how the artist included elements that would reveal themselves over multiple viewings. They did, however, recommend that the artist fully develop her concept through continued research into each artistic genre. Ms. Chou stated that the panel felt confident in the artist’s ability to execute an interesting poster series, and assured the Commissioners that Public Art staff will work with her to accomplish this. Commissioner Garcia-Nakata commented that permissions to use specific imagery may be necessary for this project. Ms. Chou replied that she would work with the artist to secure permissions or change imagery if permissions become cost prohibitive.

Ms. Chou presented the work of Christina Empedocles, an artist that creates hyper-realistic drawings using wax pencil. For the poster series, Ms. Empedocles has proposed to monumentalize six classic films pertinent to San Francisco by combining found movie posters and collage elements into her drawings. Ms. Chou noted that the panel thought this series was successful and that many people will find it enjoyable and engaging. Ms. Chou reported that the panel recommended that the artist include more contemporary movie references instead of focusing predominantly on one time period. Additionally, the panel noted that they hoped for more integration of the found movie posters and collage elements.

Ms. Chou described the work of Paul Madonna, an artist best known for his comic strip All Over Coffee published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Chou noted that Mr. Madonna has proposed a series of posters that pair quotes from local arts figures with a classic San Francisco scene. Ms. Chou stated that the panel enjoyed the pairing of text with the street scenes, but felt that the artist could bring more of his unique perspective of the work. Commissioner Johnston, who served on the panel, remarked that the scenes chosen by the artist should be less iconic and more evocative of a place. Ms. Chou explained that the panel also questioned some of the artist’s choice of images and stated that she he would bring revised designs to the VAC to review in the future.

Ms. Chou presented the work of the alternate for the poster series, Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Ms. Chou explained that the artist is well known for his performance work that often explores cross-cultural issues. Ms. Chou reported that for this poster series, the artist proposed a series of poetic statements paired with photos of local artists and personalities produced from staged, improvisational photo shoots. Ms. Chou noted that the panel was concerned about the poetic statements and felt they would have to be developed to specifically address the theme of “celebrating the arts in San Francisco.” They were also less interested in the artist’s studio photography practice and more attracted to portraits created outdoors in San Francisco. Ms. Chou stated that should Mr. Gómez-Peña be asked to replace one of the three selected artists, she would work with him to address the panel’s concerns.

Motion: Motion to approve the kiosk poster proposal by artist Julie Chang for the 2012 Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with the artist to develop and complete six unique poster designs for an amount not to exceed $10,000.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar

Motion: Motion to approve the kiosk poster proposal by artist Christina Empedocles for the 2012 Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with the artist to develop and complete six unique poster designs for an amount not to exceed $10,000.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar

Motion: Motion to approve the kiosk poster proposal by artist Paul Madonna for the 2012 Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series and to authorize the Director of Cultural Affairs to enter into contract with the artist to develop and complete six unique poster designs for an amount not to exceed $10,000.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar

9. Suspension of the Civic Art Collection Loan Program
Allison Cummings

Senior Registrar Allison Cummings opened a discussion regarding the Civic Art Collection City Office Loan Program and requested temporary suspension of the program. Ms. Cummings explained that the program had been suspended previously in 2004 when it was apparent that limited staff could not maintain the program. Ms. Cummings stated that the program was reinstituted in 2009 by the Director of Cultural Affairs, but still lacked adequate staffing to ensure its effectiveness. Ms. Cumming commented that during this fiscal year, the Civic Art Collection’s primary goal is to make significant progress on the collection inventory. She noted that temporarily suspending the City Office Loan Program would aid in this task, as artwork location changes need to be at an absolute minimum during the inventory. Ms. Cummings added that the program deserved a full analysis to determine its mission, its associated costs and how it can be run efficiently. During the suspension, no new loan projects will be undertaken; however exiting loans and return requests will continue to be administered.

Motion: Motion to rescind Resolution No. 0504-09-120, which re-implemented the Civic Art Collection Loan Program in May 2009 at the request of the Director of Cultural Affairs, with the borrowing department assuming all costs associated with the loan.
Moved: Johnston/Sklar

Motion: Motion to suspend the Civic Art Collection Loan Program until further notice in order to facilitate the completion of the collection inventory and subsequent evaluation of resources required to maintain the loan program successfully.
Moved: Sklar/Johnston

10. Relocation of Artwork at Boeddeker Park

Carol Marie Daniels

Project Manager Carol Marie Daniels gave an update on relocating the mosaic mural Flying Dragon-Snake-Monkey-Bird, by Johanna Poethig. Ms. Daniels reminded the Commissioners that the mural currently resides at the clubhouse at Boeddeker Park which is soon to be demolished. Three options for relocating the mural were previously presented at the May 18, 2011 VAC meeting. Ms. Daniels reported that the option to relocate the mural to an exterior wall on private property adjacent to the clubhouse was no longer available. Ms. Daniels explained that relocation to Hamilton Pool was another option, but would require that the artist redesign her work to fit within a smaller wall space. Ms. Daniels noted that this is the artist’s preferred option. She explained that the artist is proposing to add additional elements to other walls in the building to create a unified artwork that looks intentional in that space. Ms. Daniels reported that the she is meeting with a conservator to discus the feasibility of moving the mural and will also investigate the costs associated with relocation to Hamilton Pool. Ms. Daniels stated that the third option for the mural is to demolish it along with the clubhouse at Boeddeker Park, and use the funds that would have been spent on the relocation on a new artwork by Ms. Poethig. Ms. Daniels commented that the staff at Hamilton Pool is excited about the possibility of receiving the artwork. She will report back on progress at a future VAC meeting.


11. SFAC Rebranding
Kate Patterson

Public Relations Manager Kate Patterson gave an update on the SFAC rebranding efforts. Ms. Patterson reported that she held a meeting with staff and Studio 1500 to discuss the main values, philosophies, and functions of the agency and how that may be communicated through branding. Ms. Patterson noted that the meeting was well attended with representatives from each program present. Ms. Beltran commented that she attended the meeting and felt it was productive, not only for the purpose of rebranding, but as a staff exercise to define the principals of the agency. Ms. Patterson stated that Studio 1500 will use the comments supplied at the meeting to compile a creative brief which will be shared with SFAC staff.

12. Moscone Center West

Jill Manton

Ms. Manton presented an update on the Facsimile project by Diller + Scofidio at Moscone Center West. Ms. Manton reported that the LED screen on the building’s façade is currently non operational. She noted that she met with an LED engineer to determine how to resolve issues of functionality. An action plan for maintenance will be carried out in late August, early September of this year. Ms. Manton commented that certain companies had expressed interest in using the screen for promotional use. She noted that she will contact Diller + Scofidio to determine if the screen may be used for non-art projects.

13. New Business

Ms. Pontious reported that the sculpture Conquest of Space by Rufino Tomayo has been refurbished and will be reinstalled at the San Francisco International Airport later this month.

14. Old Business

15. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:06

ZT 8/17/11


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