New Civic Center sculpture unveiled

May 12, 2010 6:49:37 PM PDT
A new sculpture is ready to welcome visitors to San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza with open arms -- six arms, to be exact.

Wednesday, Mayor Gavin Newsom dedicated the 15-ton, 26-foot tall copper sculpture called Three Heads, 6 Arms.

The sculpture reflects images found in traditional Buddhist sculptures. It is nearly three stories high and it weighs 15 tons. Structural engineers were brought in to determine the exact location for the work since there is a parking garage underneath it. The spot for the work had a variance of only 12 inches.

Chinese artist Zhang Huan is premiering it in San Francisco to celebrate the 30th anniversary of San Francisco's sister city relationship with Shanghai. Huan is considered one of the most influential and provocative contemporary artists working today. He says he had lots of inspirations and began to understand people's cultural and spiritual life in Tibet. He says the sculpture has to create a super nature power to bring good wishes to San Francisco.

It is a work of public art and in the past there have been other controversies. Much has been made about that bow shooting an arrow into the ground along the Embarcadero. There was the famous foot. People still have divided opinions on the Vaillancourt fountain at Justin Herman Plaza. So there will be debate about this one, according to Newsom. And he welcomes it. He says that is what art is supposed to do. The sculpture will remain on display through the end of 2011.


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