Now that the Fort Mason Center has become the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture (FMCAC), it's focusing a lot more on the arts and culture part. To make proper use of its panoply of beautiful old buildings — hello, bay-front Firehouse! — FMCAC has launched a curated series of events and site-specific exhibitions that showcase some pretty cool projects.
Including a remote-controlled, life-size 1959 El Camino.
San Francisco artist Bruce Tomb built it and it is named Maria Del Camino. Originally a Playa art car that grew out of postwar Detroit's failure to put a flying vehicle in every American garage, Maria is a reference to the False Maria/Machine Man from Metropolis. Tomb has continually updated the work since 2010, when the car-slash-heavy-earthmoving-equipment could only handle speeds of two miles per hour, but now she can “fly” nine feet up, guided by a smartphone.
Maria del Camino lives in deep storage most of the time, so this is a rare treat (particularly for people who don't routinely get to the Black Rock Desert). On opening night of FMCAC's week-long Fort Nights: Neon Robot Iceberg (Saturday, March 26), you can hang out with Maria as well as with some 20 other artists' work, including Vince Koloski's crop circle of 50-foot neon lights, and Sean Pace's “Crawler,” a retired military vehicle that's become a pop-up factory and lab.
The event is free, there's a bar, and music by SOMArts' Melorra Green, too. The 55,000 square feet that make up FMCAC are criss-crossed with disused railroad tracks that harken back to the facility's original purpose. But now there's an entirely new kind of groove.
Fort Nights: Neon Robot Iceberg, March 26 – April 2, fortmason.org.