After 40 years spent collecting dust, dirt and brake grime from BART trains, Barbara Shawcroft's 70s-era sculpture "Legs" will finally walk its way out of Embarcadero Station.
The 50-foot, three and a half-ton sculpture spans three levels in the station and has caused more than a few people to wonder what's up with those dirty ropes for almost three decades now. When it was installed in 1976 or 1978, it was a bright orange and white fireproof Nomex material. Although it looks like a giant macrame plant holder one might find in their grandparents' home, according to the Chronicle the technique is much, much older than that: it is known as "knotless netting" and comes from the Neolithic era.
Over the years, efforts to clean the sculpture, which a BART director referred to as "a hanging dish towel" in the late 80s, have proved too expensive to be practical. Now that it's coming down, the 84-year-old Shawcroft will be working with the agency to bring it down and most likely restore it in smaller pieces. Per her contract, the artwork is to be removed, wrapped in plastic and shipped back to her. For their part, BART has set aside $300,000 in the budget for the sculpture's removal.