Best Public Art - 2010
Language of the Birds
Take a nighttime walk down Columbus Avenue in North Beach, and you'll come across a whimsical installation of glowing books that seem to have spread their pages and taken flight like a flock of pigeons in nearby Washington Square Park. The books were set aflutter in 2008 by artists Dorka Keehn and Brian Goggin, the latter of whom was already known as the man behind the Defenestration installation of furniture falling out of the windows of the building at Sixth and Howard streets. In the North Beach work, the words of more than 90 San Francisco authors are strewn on the pavement below to complete the homage to the neighborhood's literary heritage. Only in this city would flying LED-lit books attempt to compete for eyeballs with blinking strip-club marquees across the street. What can we say? In San Francisco, we like books along with our boobs.