Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto Has Unveiled His First Major Work in the U.S.: A Towering Sculpture That Pierces the San Francisco Sky

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The famous San Francisco skyline has just acquired a new addition. The 69-feet-tall, tapered needle of by Japanese architect and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto sits atop a former water tank on the nearby island of Yerba Buena, and will be visible to all eyes in the surrounding Bay Area.

The mammoth stainless steel sculpture cost $2 million and was installed last month as part of the island’s new hilltop Infinity Point Park that will officially open to the public later this year. It marks Sugimoto’s first major work in the United States, where he has lived and worked since 1970. He was selected from more than 495 other candidates who responded to an open call in 2017.

From the monument’s 23-feet base, it appears to the human eye as though it reaches up forever, piercing the skies above. “The concept of infinity is a human invention,” Sugimoto said of this playful illusion. “It is a paradox. Nonetheless, we pursue it. It is symbolic of humankind’s pursuit of knowledge and innovation.”

Speaking to the artist’s architectural expertise, this effect was achieved thanks to a complex mathematical formula. “A hyperbolic curve that suggests both infinity and eternity: two converging curved lines, getting closer and closer but never meeting, Sugimoto explained in a press statement.

The artist has made his name for a decades-long, highly varied practice that encompasses sculpture, photography, garden design, calligraphy, theater production, and architecture. His works are included in the collections of SFMoMA, the Met, New York’s MoMA, the Guggenheim, and the Hirshhorn Museum.

His latest structure echoes the Transamerica Pyramid on the other side of the Gold Gate Bridge and is also reminiscent of the , a tall stone sundial that memorably featured in the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. This is only fitting, as its unveiling marks the first stage in establishing the adjunct island and former naval base as a new cultural destination.

inaugurates a series of new public artworks commissioned by the Treasure Island Arts Program in partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission. This 20-year initiative is part of the wider redevelopment of Treasure Island, and is funded by a special requirement that one percent of construction costs must be redirected towards public art. The total money raised for this purpose is expected to be as much as $50 million.

 

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