Tourism for Locals: 555 Mission Street Sculpture Garden is a FiDi Eden

Ugo Rondinone's "Moonrise"

San Francisco's Financial District looms over the City — it's a densely built urban network of high-rise office buildings, busy streets, and narrow sidewalks overrun with those donning suits or fannypacks. However, hidden in this grid of grey concrete and asphalt are dozens of tiny parks, terraces, gardens and public art installations known as “Privately Owned Public Open Spaces” or “POPOS” that are truly San Franciscan in nature. They provide a break from all the gray to be found and inject a bit of joy into the tedium of the work week. 

But not all spaces are created equal — some have killer roof-top views and others have great displays of public art. But this week we're bringing you to the sculpture garden at 555 Mission St. and introducing you to two of its star attractions: Ugo Rondinone's “Moonrise” and Jonathan Borofsky's “Human Structures.”

[jump] Rondinone is a Swiss artist based in New York City and his whimsical “Moonrise” consists of a trio of mottled aluminum heads set against a living green wall of shrubbery. One head flashes a toothy sinister smile, another has round puffer fish lips, and the third has a vacant look that extends into a avian-like beak. In our experience, art that is usually commissioned to decorate a corporate space tends to underwhelm, but these wacky heads are simply unforgettable. 

And like its quirky companion, Borofsky's “Human Structures” — this American artist's works seek to interconnect minimalism and pop art, and this piece is no exception. Consisting of 62 brightly painted, digitized steel figures that are interconnected and stacked in a human pyramid manner, the work hints that as humans we have to build on one another's talents in order to reach progress and order. Humanity must connect together to build itself. (Quick fact: Borofsky recreated this same structure but with more figures for the sculpture garden located in the Olympic Village of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. One could say he decide to take his work toward Olympic proportions.)

The rest of plaza space has several custom-made oak and steel benches that are covered by various towering ginkgo trees— perfect for reading an engrossing novel or for eating a quick lunch. So the next time you find yourself fin the concrete jungle of S.F> we suggest you pop into 555 Mission St. and take a peek.

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