Presidio of San Francisco (May 13, 2010) — What began as an invitation to an international group of artists, designers and architects has led to a unique, indoor/outdoor art exhibition celebrating Presidio nature and wildlife. Presidio Habitats opens Sunday, May 16, 2010 with a special, day-long celebration and runs through May 15, 2011.
More than two dozen artists, designers and architects were asked to design habitat sculptures for selected “animal clients” of the Presidio. From 25 proposals, eleven were selected for fabrication and installation along Presidio trails and walkways. All the proposals will be on display in the indoor Exhibition Pavilion located in the Fort Scott district of the Presidio. They range from elegant blue and white porcelain vessels conceived as habitats for the western screech owl by renowned Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, to 10 yellow chairs strategically arranged in the landscape, titled Patience, designed by Jensen Architects for the Great Blue Heron. All the works will be on display for a year, providing visitors the opportunity to experience the transformation of the art through the seasons.
“This exhibit is a chance to elevate public awareness about the Presidio’s rich biodiversity in a whole new way,” says Michael Boland, chief planning, preservation and program officer for the Presidio Trust. “Visitors will be drawn into a unique process of discovery along the Presidio’s trails as they explore the habitats and the park’s diverse landscapes.”
Organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the Presidio Trust, Presidio Habitats is the first site-based art exhibition in a U.S. national park. An audio tour, available by cell phone, an indoor Exhibition Pavilion and an array of special events accompany the exhibit and invite the public to interact with the art and the park.
Created from three repurposed shipping containers arranged around a covered central atrium, the green Exhibition Pavilion is a natural starting point for Presidio Habitats. The pavilion includes all 25 proposals submitted for the exhibition, scale models and other artist material, as well as video about the Presidio’s plants and wildlife. An exhibition guide and map will lead visitors on a self-guided journey of all installation sites. Located at the corner of Ralston and Storey avenues directly across from the historic Log Cabin, the pavilion is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.
“We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to do a site-based exhibition in a national park,” says Cheryl Haines, the executive director of the FOR-SITE Foundation. “The Presidio is an utterly unique and extraordinary environment, a fertile and highly accessible laboratory for the creation of art about place.”
Presidio Habitats opening day celebration takes place Sunday, May 16 from noon to 4 pm. Events include a ribbon cutting ceremony, an open house at the exhibition pavilion, self-guided hikes, and learning stations featuring naturalists and artists. Admission is free. If driving, follow signs for free parking in the Main Post and shuttle service to the pavilion.
Inspired by the Presidio, its wildlife and the art of Presidio Habitats, the Log Cabin Series is a year-long series of talks, multimedia presentations and performances accompanying the exhibit. Presented by the Presidio Trust, the Log Cabin Series takes place the second Thursday of each month at the Log Cabin. In addition, a series of family-oriented events, guided hikes, and other programs will be available during the course of the year-long exhibition.
Launched in 2003, the FOR-SITE Foundation is a San Francisco based non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, understanding, and exhibition of new art about place. FOR-SITE fulfills its mission though artist residencies and graduate-level education projects at its residency site in the Sierra foothills and more recently through site-based projects in the Presidio of San Francisco. For more information visitwww.for-site.org.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio’s status as a National Historic Landmark District.”