Once it's finished later this year, Octavia Boulevard -- that eastern-edge-of-the-Castro strip where once squatted a disused offramp -- will be a sort of lasting, permanent demonstration of SF's long-held disdain for urban interstates, as well as an ecologically friendly memorial to what was once a divisive highway. Meanwhile, The SF Arts Commission, The Black Rock Arts Foundation, and David Best are scurrying to erect a new structure on nearby Hayes Green that in a few months, if all goes according to plan, will leave the city with absolutely no discernable evidence of its ever having existed at all.
David's already known around town for creating elaborate gazeeboish buildings made of recycled materials (dubbed "temples") at a midwestern summer camp, with the goal of creating spaces for introspection and community-building and civic conversation and other crunchy stuff. The kicker is that, soon after they're constructed, his structures are ceremonially burned to the ground, followed by a scrupulous removal from the site of any sign that the piece was ever there. "Leave no trace behind" is the goal, in stark contrast to the self-preserving motives of most other artists. (Update: Out of consideration for its insanely combustible surroundings, this particular sculpture is scheduled for disassembly at the end of its life span, not burning.)
The idea that an artist's work would have so intentionally limited a lifespan has caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the local arts-organizing community. A few weeks ago, in the wake of an unsuccessful attempt to raise a structure in the truculent North Bay, the SFAC approached the BRAF, hoping to organize the creation of a temporary structure on Hayes Green by June of this year. The timing is key: June will mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter (for which numerous international dignitaries are expected in SF) as well as World Environment Day, which this year bears the fortuitous theme of "Green Cities." What greener an area to highlight, then, than a tree-lined park that triumphed over an ungreen highway? Not only that, but what better a way to commemorate that triumph than by building a recycled gazeebo and then ... um ... utterly erasing it? The project may be sabotaging itself with its intentional impermanence; due to its brief 3-month lifespan, the city has balked at the idea of diverting funds to the structure's $25,000 price tag. And that's why you, local art-adorer, are being asked to step in.