The variety of dazzling public art in Yerba Buena Gardens by noted artists from around the globe will surprise, delight, and intrigue. A glass ship rises from the earth, a bronze statue greets visitors and a robotic sculpture comes to life with your help. Tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Ohlone tribe inspire and celebrate human diversity. Take an art walk around YBG and create some new San Francisco memories. We now offer a free audio walking tour too.
MLK Memorial Silver Walls
Danish artist Lin Utzon designed the walls which flank the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Waterfall as sculpted and silvered forms to reflect the surrounding nuances of water, sky and landscape. These fluted granite walls, emblazoned with immense silvered fissures, adjust to changes in sunlight and weather. YBG’s granite paving pattern, also designed by Utzon, creates a sense of movement and guides visitors walking through the gardens.
Sarah Sze’s Double Horizon is a 5,500 pound boulder, split open like a geode. The split sculpture is embedded with tiles to create pixelated color images of the sky at different times of day. By recording a fleeting moment of the sky in stone, the artist explores the fragility of passing time and the desire for permanence in the face of always-shifting natural forces.
Deep Gradient / Suspect Terrain
John Roloff‘s 18-foot-high sculpture “Deep Gradient / Suspect Terrain,” rises above the East Garden terrace accompanied by portholes that allow a hint of activity to be seen in the Moscone Center, located below the gardens. Roloff said, “At the site, land is an illusion with the gardens above and convention space below—a metaphor for the ocean, a different world, and the surface of the sea.”
Below the Paseo bridge crossing Howard Street, Brendon Monroe’s “Roll” is a modern, fluid a mural inspired by the movement of water and air in nature that resembles a layer of fog coming in over the San Francisco’s coastal mountains.
With its massive arcing segments of melted and hewn stainless steel supported by a concrete form, Christine Corday’s “Genesis,” offers visitors a strikikng entrance to Moscone North and Yerba Buena Gardens near the Corner of 4th and Howard streets.
Leo Villareal’s “PointCloud,” light installation is part of the Moscone East Bridge with more than 50,000 full-color LEDs, and about 800 mirrored stainless steel rods that hang from the ceiling and support the LED matrix with constantly evolving patterns. Villareal is the artist behind “The Bay Lights” on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge that is the world’s largest light art installation.
Oche Wat Te Ou
The Oche Wat Te Ou | Reflection Garden was created by artists Jaune Quick-to-See Smith and James Lunain in 1993. This piece, a tribute to the native Ohlone, is in the form of a semicircular wood wall patterned with Ohlone basket designs which surround a small crescent-shaped pool and a circle of rocks. Oche Wat Te Ou is a contemplative environment that harkens the traditions of storytelling and poetry.
This kinetic, interactive bronze sculpture by Chico MacMurtrie can be found near the entrance to the Children’s Creativity Museum. Sit on the bench facing Urge to Stand and the figure standing on the steel globe sits down. Stand up, and the figure gracefully rises with you. The elements of physical mirroring and gaze between the Urge figure and the observer create a bond that suggests the unity of all humans.
Three Dancing Figures | Untitled
Keith Haring’s 1989 untitled work is a vibrant, primary colored painted aluminum sculpture that prominently marks the corner of Howard and 3rd Streets. This work was initiated by the San Francisco Arts Commission.
The popular life-size bronze statue created by artist Terry Allen presents a multi-dimensional business executive who greets visitors to Yerba Buena Gardens near the western edge of the terrace level of the Esplanade. Toting a brief case and split into three interconnected figures, the statue conveys a sense of motion with many feet and hands appearing to reach out to those who pass by.