Tuesday, March 1, 2011

About Art - Cupid's Bow

Inspired by San Francisco's reputation as the home port of Eros, Cupid's Bow was designed by Coosje Van Brugge, partner of Claes Oldenburg, who was commissioned to come up with outdoor art for a small park on the Embarcadero along San Francisco Bay. She tried several ideas in drawings but found the tradition position too stiff and literal, so she turned the image upside down: the arrow and the central part of the bow could be buried in the ground, and the tail feathers, usually downplayed, would be the focus of attention.

The result was a the counterpoint to romantic nostalgia, one that evokes the mythological account of Eros shooting his arrow into the earth to make it fertile. The sculpture was designed in stainless steel, structural carbon steel, fiber-reinforced plastic, cast epoxy, polyvinyl chloride foam; painted with polyester gelcoat. It stands at 64 ft. x 143 ft. 9 in. x 17 ft. 3/8 in on a hill, where one can imagine the arrow being sunk under the surface of plants and prairie grasses. By slanting the bow's position, Coosje adds a sense of acceleration to the Cupid's Span.

Seen from its "stern," the bow-as-boat seems to be tacking on its course toward the white tower of the city's Ferry Building. The image becomes metamorphic, looking like both a ship and a tightened version of a suspension bridge, which seemed to us the perfect accompaniment to the site. In addition, the artwork functions as a frame for the highly scenic situation, enclosing either the massed buildings of the city's downtown or the wide vista over the water and the Bay Bridge toward the distant mountains. Cupid's Bow sits in Rincon Park, a two-acre park and public open space on the waterfront, at the foot of Folsom St. Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., the San Francisco Port Commission, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, and Gap Inc. participated in the dedication ceremony in 2001. You can find out more about this San Franciscian landmark at: http://www.bcx.org/photos/places/cities/us/ca/sf/parks/rincon

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