Nearby Bill Graham Civic Auditorium will soon light up with a new neon mural by acclaimed artist, Joseph Kosuth. The much-anticipated installation makes a number of firsts for the arts community; it’s the artist’s first permanent public artwork on an historic building in the U.S. and San Francisco’s first major project funded by the City’s Public Art Trust.
The San Francisco Arts Commission recently announced the upcoming dedication:
On March 13 at 6p.m., the San Francisco Arts Commission will host a lighting and dedication ceremony to commemorate a new sight-specific neon artwork on the western façade of the historic Bill Graham Civic Auditorium by internationally acclaimed conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth. W.F.T (San Francisco) presents the etymology, or “Word Family Tree”, of ‘Civic’ and ‘Auditorium’ in white neon. Through the use of language, Kosuth’s artwork reflects the historical significance of the Auditorium while also demonstrating how words reveal relationships to cultural and social realties.
The exciting news was also showcased in a recent Curbed SF article, giving an excellent background on the upcoming installation.
“The word ‘civic’ is intricately connected to the long history of civil rights activism that has taken place, and continues to take place, in the plaza–from gay rights to Black Lives Matter,” said the artist in a written statement. “The word ‘auditorium’ on the other hand is more specific to the building itself, referring to the collective audience assembled by Bill Graham, who found a way, as a concert promoter to not only promote concerts but also community.”
“Joseph Kosuth’s striking neon installation brings a dynamic energy to the building, transforming its western facade and enlivening its environs both day and night,” says Tom DeCaigny, San Francisco Arts Commission’s director of cultural affairs.
The neon mural will join numerous painted examples throughout the city and will be a wonderful addition to the City that loves public art.
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Photo by Ethan Kaplan Photography, courtesy of SF Arts Commission