While Oakland wades into a lawsuit against the city’s percent for art ordinance, a new piece of public art on a private development quietly went up in San Francisco’s mid-Market neighborhood and was unveiled Tuesday.
Wrapping around the north-east corner of 1400 Mission at the intersection of Jessie and 10th Streets, is a newly painted Sol LeWitt acrylic piece, Wall Drawing #1012. Installed on site by a team of seven over the course of four weeks, the five-color geometric design by the famed late conceptual artist originally graced the exterior of a Los Angeles pool house, before it was purchased by Tishman Speyer, the building’s developers.
Situated next door to the luxury apartment complex NEMA (not just a residential building but “a design-driven lifestyle pioneer,” according to its website) and across the street from Twitter HQ, 1400 Mission looks deceptively like another high-end housing development. But the nearly-finished 190-unit building is actually filled with below market rate housing.
Local nonprofits like the Mission Economic Development Agency and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center worked to place first-time homebuyers earning 100% or less of the area median income in the units. It was built in collaboration with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation to fulfill Tishman Speyer’s inclusionary housing requirement for LUMINA, the developer's fully market-rate SOMA high rise.
Back on the building’s exterior, the LeWitt wall drawing is 91.5 feet long and just over 9.5 feet tall. It’s rare to see a LeWitt out of doors -- let alone on view to the public -- for free. But Wall Drawing #1012 will be visible day and night, thanks to a bank of LED lights installed above the work.
Takeshi Arita, a LeWitt installer with decades of experience on all types of LeWitt wall drawings -- from graphite to colored pencil the vibrant hues of #1012 -- led the team in executing what is really a set of written instructions, beginning with diligently preparing the wall surface. The team scaled scaffolding and worked for an entire week behind a mesh-covered fence on what appeared to be just a white wall.