A New Piece of Public Art Makes a Point Above Yerba Buena Island

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A gray and silver sculpture sits on a hill with a bridge, water and buildings in the background.
A new piece of public art by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto titled "Point of Infinity" sits atop Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco. (Sugimoto Studio)

While crossing the Bay Bridge or looking out from the Embarcadero, you may have noticed a silvery, pointy, futuristic-looking shape atop the western part of Yerba Buena Island. Below is everything you need to know about the new piece of public art by world-renowned artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto.

So what is it?

It’s called Point of Infinity. Sugimoto says an infinity point “means the edge of the universe.” Contemplating that idea, he designed a conceptual piece that he describes as “two lines coming closer and closer, but never meeting. But finding that the meeting point was at the infinity point.”

Sugimoto is best known for his black-and-white photography, but over his long career, he has also created a number of site-specific works like the one that now sits atop Yerba Buena Island.

A man in a white coat and jeans stands in front of a large sculpture.
The artist, Hiroshi Sugimoto, with his work, “Point of Infinity.” (Sugimoto Studio)

For this work, he also drew inspiration from Treasure Island’s history. The island was originally built to host the Golden Gate International Exposition (aka the World’s Fair) in 1939, which featured a sundial sculpture called Tower of the Sun. Sugimoto says a sense of time is a key concept in all his art and Point of Infinity is also meant to serve as a sundial on the spring and autumnal equinoxes.


“I think this can be like an ancient ruin. A symbol of this 21st century civilization,” Sugimoto said at a press event earlier this week. “Just in case humans disappeared, this piece would remain, as we look at the Egyptian pyramids [from] 5,000 years before. So I hope this can be a symbol of our time of civilization.”

Is it a sculpture or …?

Technically, yes. But more specifically, Sugimoto describes it as “a mathematical model, [that] has a sculptural form.” He’s done this kind of mathematical modeling with his art before; he actually used math equations to achieve this design.

The base is made out of concrete panels reinforced by glass fiber that gives it a slight mosaic look when seen up close, and the upper part is mirror-polished marine-grade stainless steel.

How big is Point of Infinity?

It’s 69 feet tall with a 23-foot base that tapers to the point, which is just a teeny-tiny seven-eighths of an inch.

A gray and silver sculpture in a park.
“Point of Infinity” sculpture in Hilltop Park on Yerba Buena Island with a view of Treasure Island. (Sugimoto Studio)

What’s it doing on Yerba Buena Island?

Point of Infinity is the inaugural artwork commissioned for the Treasure Island Art Program, a project run by the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Treasure Island Development Authority.

In 2005, when plans to redevelop Treasure Island were taking shape, Jill Manton, the director of the SFAC’s Public Art Trust and Special Initiatives, successfully lobbied then-mayor Gavin Newsom to apply a city rule that new building projects set aside one percent of the construction budget for public art. That translates to a fund of up to $50 million for the Treasure Island Art Program.

When the program issued a public call for artwork, Sugimoto was one of the first to apply, and was ultimately selected from a finalist pool that included artists Chakaia Booker and Andy Goldsworthy. A number of other to-be-revealed works are currently in progress, but Sugimoto’s Point of Infinity leads the charge.

“When I saw his sculpture on the site, I was moved to tears,” Manton said. “Because it was really the fulfillment of a dream that I had to make Treasure Island this incredible destination for the arts. And what better way than to start with a truly landmark, monumental artwork like this?”

A sculpture on a hill at night.
A view of “Point of Infinity” on Yerba Buena Island at night. (Sugimoto Studio)

Where exactly is it located?

Point of Infinity sits in Hilltop Park, one of two new parks designed by Hood Design Studio, the firm of Bay Area landscape architect and MacArthur ‘Genius’ grant recipient Walter Hood.

Can anyone go to the park and see it up close?

Soon! Both the park and artwork are expected to open to the public in November. In addition to seeing Point of Infinity, you will have a beautiful 360-degree view of the Bay. So when you visit, you could say you’re looking to infinity … and beyond.