A dramatic, stainless steel tendril, seemingly growing out of the ground and reaching toward the sky, was just installed Sunday morning in the plaza outside Moscone Station, at Fourth and Clementina streets.
The piece, titled "Node," was, as the Chronicle notes, was raised into place in the Muni station plaza "without fanfare" early Sunday. The process began with its assembling from the four pieces it was shipped in some years ago. Artist Roxy Paine received this commission, worth $1.45 million, way back in 2013, and it didn't take all this time to make the piece — it's actually been finished and sitting in storage for a long while, waiting for the Central Subway to be complete and for the installation to be scheduled.
SFist reported on the commission in 2013, thinking at time we'd see it in real life, along with the damn Central Subway, by 2019. We all know how that went.
Paine was selected among 154 applicants at the time, with the funds for the piece coming from SF's 2% Art Enrichment Ordinance — which requires all big construction projects to set aside a piece of their budget for public artworks like this.
Paine describes "Node," which clocks in at eight tons, as an "enormous bio-industrial rhizomatic organism," and "an elegant line connecting earth to sky, people to underground systems and sculpture to city." A number of Paine's works in the last two decades have taken on these organic forms, in stainless steel — including this work of two tree-like forms reaching out to each other called "Conjoined," which is installed at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
As the Chronicle reports, Sunday's installation marks the breaking of a record: At 102 feet, "Node" is now the tallest sculpture in San Francisco, beating out "Venus," the 92-foot chrome figure at Trinity Place by artist Lawrence Argent, which isn't visible from the street.
The thing also appears to defy gravity, rising from a 48-inch diameter at the base to just a half-inch at the tip.
"It’s a way-finder and an amazing feat of fabrication,” says Dorka Keehn, former chair of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s visual arts committee — and one of those who selected Paine ten years ago — speaking to the Chronicle. “It’s going to be seen from everywhere.”
So, you have another reason to go check out SF's least-trafficked Muni station! It's on Fourth Street, across from the Children's Creativity Museum, next to the hotel formerly known as the Virgin Hotel, and now the Canopy by Hilton.