July 5, 2017

See the city’s ideas for giant Treasure Island art

Arts Commission sees island redevelopment as unprecedented opportunity

Earlier this month, the San Francisco Arts Commission released its approved Master Plan for the redevelopment of Treasure Island, which the commission calls “an unparalleled opportunity [for] bold, imaginative, and forward-thinking contemporary art.”

As the report notes, one percent of the construction costs of the artificial island’s sprawling, multi-part redevelopment plan (now in its first stages) goes toward public art.

The island’s present, largely underdeveloped state represents a particularly large and tantalizing vista for new works. The Master Plan lays out the commission’s vision for the future of the neighborhood, aesthetically speaking.

Although the document includes many, many images of enormous art installations, none are actual Treasures Island proposals (which of course haven’t been pitched yet).

Rather, they’re concept images of pieces from around the world that illustrate the scope and scale of what’s possible here, including works from artists like Ai Weiwei and Lawrence Argent, who have used city sites as a canvas before.

Here are a few highlights of what’s to come:

  • “Priorities: Use the name of the island as a source of inspiration.”
  • “Consider the island’s unique vantage point in the bay, amidst the Bay Bridge, San Francisco and the East Bay and the notion of art on the edge, where the land meets the sea.”
  • “Honor the place – its history and stories showcasing the innovation that characterized the original vision for the Golden Gate International Exposition.”
  • “Address and examine Treasure Island’s ecology and environmental conditions.”
  • “Feature projects by local, national and international artists annually.”
  • “If feasible, reinstall the Golden Gate International Exposition historic Pacific Unity Sculpture Collection and investigate a permanent location for the Miguel Covarrubias murals.”
  • “Encourage artists to design artworks that respond to the ecology of the island.”
  • “A recurring island-wide treasure hunt will be a branded curated exhibit of temporary installations consistent with the vision that artworks are the new treasures of the island.”
  • “The exteriors of certain public buildings owned by TIDA may be great opportunities for art installations. They are highly visible, large canvases.”
  • “Engaging with the shoreline and bay is an invaluable opportunity—one that exists in many different and rare capacities on Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island.”
  • “The first permanent artwork is tentatively scheduled for completion in Spring 2019.”
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