Recent Acquisitions: New Sculpture Brings Some Much-Needed Color to the Sunset District

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Bruce Damonte
Pacific Breath by Bryan Tedrick

Cultural institutions in San Francisco continually search for new acquisitions. Alexis Coe brings you the most important, often wondrous, sometimes bizarre, and occasionally downright vexing finds every Friday.

The Sunset can make a lot of big claims. San Francisco's largest district boasts Ocean Beach, 3.5 miles of white sand. There is nary a high-rise building in sight. Artist Richard Serra grew up on the Avenues. What it can't claim, however, is color. Proximity to the frigid Pacific Ocean ensures that the Sunset perpetuates this city's foggy reputation.

Bryan Tedrick's Pacific Breath, a new sculpture in the renovated Sunset Playground, brings much needed color to the area. "I don't typically use color. It was not a part of my original proposal, but I'm really happy that I did," said Tedrick.

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The artist worked alongside San Francisco Arts Commission's public art project manager Jennifer Lovvorn, who helped translate his original vision into reality. Color wasn't the only addition. Instead of serving as a stand-alone entrance to the playground, Tedrick's stainless steel sculptural installation tops the original fence as a gateway into the park.

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Bruce Damonte

The Art Enrichment Ordinance, enacted in 1969, ensures the San Francisco Arts Commission has a "guaranteed funding mechanism for the acquisition of artwork for new public facilities and civic spaces." Two percent of the gross construction costs of civic buildings, new parks, and other projects must be allocated toward public art, which allows the San Francisco Arts Commission to regularly enlist artists like Tedrick.

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Bruce Damonte

From his Glen Ellen Studio in Sonoma, Tedrick explained that he visited the Sunset when he was earning his B.F.A. in Sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1980s. He wanted to incorporate the natural beauty of the Sunset in Pacific Breath, which meant considering the nearby ocean and the ever-present wind. "I thought a lot about the movement of the waves and the wind," Tedrick said.

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Bruce Damonte

Tedrick often builds large-scale sculptures for Burning Man, the week-long festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, and has contributed site-specific works to various cities, including Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, Redding, Dublin, and Sonoma. Stylistically, he favors kinetic works that suggest motion, and his execution at the Sunset playground is both a serious and playful example.

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Bruce Damonte

During installation, an elderly couple gave Tedrick a thumbs up in passing, but the artist believes a younger crowd will find inspiration in the sculpture as well. "My children are now in their 20s, but I remember how imaginative they were, and I thought about that during the process," he said.

The San Francisco Arts Commission predicts Pacific Breath will become an important part of the neighborhood. "It is eye-catching," Lovvorn said, "and has the potential to become a landmark for the area."

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook. Follow Alexis Coe on twitter @alexis_coe.
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