San Francisco Exhibitions. Hughen/Starkweather. Valediction. September 6—October 19. Electric Works Gallery
Coinciding with the opening of the new Bay Bridge and the eventual demolition of the old East Span, Electric Works is pleased to announce Valediction, collaborative works by Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather.
Continuing the artists’ exploration of the Bay Bridge over the past several years, Valediction is a new series of works on paper that focuses on the soon-to-be demolished East Span of the Bay Bridge. As the new bridge nears completion, the original East Span, which has been a part of the daily landscape of hundreds of thousands of commuters, will soon exist only in our collective memory.
In Valediction, the artists explore this idea, as well as the past and future of the East Span, including its construction 75 years ago as a railroad bridge, the 1989 earthquake damage that predestined its eventual replacement, and its future as an abandoned structure on the Bay as it is dismantled over the next few years.
The artists researched the project through architecture and engineering drawings, data, maps and diagrams, and historic and current photographs. They also drew from their own experiences of years of driving across the bridge.
Hughen/Starkweather create collaborative artworks that explore the layers, complexities, and patterns that comprise a specific place using both current and historic information photographs, maps, and data to research a location. The resulting artworks map unique forms and patterns derived from built systems and natural movements of a place. They were recently commissioned to create a permanent public artwork in the exterior glass of the walls and roof deck of the new Central Subway station in Union Square.
November 2012 marked the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936. At the time, many believed it would be impossible to build the bridge because of high winds, muddy depths, strong waters and varying soils. There had been discussion of building a bridge between San Francisco and Oakland since the 1870s, but the process was delayed due to many factors. Once completed in 1936, it was the longest bridge in the world. Fast forward to 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed a section of the east span and initiated seismic upgrades and eventually an entirely new design for the East Span.
The project has passed through four governors, political hurdles and extensive design reviews. When the new bridge opens in 2013, it will be the most complex engineering feat in the history of California. The new structure, which begins at the Yerba Buena Island, will be the largest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world, with a single tower rising 525 feet into the air and transitioning to a graceful skyway that touches down in Oakland. Whereas the current bridge is double-decked, the replacement will feature side-by-side decks and a 15.5-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian path running along the eastbound deck.
1360 Mission Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
415 626 5496 www.sfelectricworks.com