New 92-Foot Statue, Tallest in the City, Unveiled in Downtown San Francisco

"Venus" by Lawrence Argent (Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED)

San Francisco has a new landmark -- a statue almost 100-feet-tall -- and the public won't be seeing it until next year.

The 92-foot-tall "Venus" was unveiled to the media Friday behind construction site fences. Now the tallest sculpture in the city, "Venus" is the centerpiece of a large public art collection that will live in the piazza of Trinity Place, a massive 1,900-unit apartment complex being built on 8th Street, between Market and Mission. It's expected to be completed by March of 2017.

"Venus" and artist Lawrence Argent
"Venus" and artist Lawrence Argent (Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED)

The statue is to be the centerpiece of "C'era Una Volta" ("Once Upon a Time" in Italian), a one-acre public art park described as Trinity Properties founder -- and once San Francisco's biggest landlord -- Angelo Sangiacomo's "lasting gift to his beloved city." Sangiacomo, who died last December at the age of 91, envisioned a collection of large pieces that reference the aesthetics of canonical works, according to Venus's creator, artist Lawrence Argent. For example, "Venus" is Argent's take on the famous ancient Greek statue commonly referred to as "Venus de Milo."

"Angelo had an innate understanding of materials and the complexities of art," Argent said.

The statue was unveiled on June 10, Sangiacomo's birthday.

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The sculpture is comprised of several hand-molded stainless steel panels that were brought here in 16 shipping containers from China. It took almost a month to put together the swirling steel statue, which Argent says he intended to look like it was coming out of the ground, "like a genie from a bottle."

Argent, an Australian artist, has designed several public art installations, including a 56-foot-long steel piece called "Leap" that is hanging in Terminal B of the Sacramento International Airport.

Correction: This story, like many others, reported that the statue was almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty. The Statue of Liberty is 151 feet tall from its feet to the top of the torch, but it is only 111 feet tall from its feet to the top of its head. Still, it is not accurate to say the statue is almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty and we apologize.

Another view of "Venus"
Another view of "Venus" (Photo: Kevin L. Jones/KQED)

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