May 16, 2010 – May 15, 2011
Opens to the Public: May 16, 2010
Opening Day Celebration
Sunday, May 16, Noon to 4 pm
Presidio Habitats Exhibition Pavilion, Fort Scott District
Guided walks and entertainment accompany the opening.
The FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the Presidio Trust is presenting Presidio Habitats, a site-based exhibition created for the Presidio of San Francisco, a 1,491-acre National Historic Landmark and national park site. Presidio Habitats is the first site-based exhibition to be organized for, and presented in, a U.S. national park.
The project had its conceptual launch in mid-2009 when the FOR-SITE Foundation invited an international group of artists, architects, and design specialists to submit a habitat proposal for a specific animal resident of the Presidio. From the 25 submissions, eleven were selected as commission projects to be fabricated and installed in the Presidio. The projects will be situated in the northwestern corner of the park with dramatic views of the Golden Gate.
The artist projects to be on view in the landscape are diverse with respect to approach, material, and purpose. They range from a set of elegant blue-and-white glazed porcelain vessels conceived as habitats for the western screech owl by renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, to a conceptual reintroduction of the extirpated desert hare to the Presidio through Nathan Lynch’s reimagining of Aesop’s hare and tortoise race, visually represented by whimsical towers demarcating start and finish lines for this apocryphal race within the park landscape.
A free exhibition brochure featuring a map and summary information on the individual works and selected animals will guide visitors on walking tours around the park. Visitors on these self-guided walks will experience the habitat installations as well as explore the Presidio’s diverse landscapes—historic forests, a community garden and nursery, stunning vistas overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate, stately historic neighborhoods, and a hidden creek.
The starting point for the Presidio Habitats experience is a 1,300 square foot exhibition space designed by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects. In this space visitors will be able to view the 25 proposals submitted for the exhibition, interpretive material, and artist models. This innovative freestanding structure—to be situated directly across from the Presidio’s landmark Log Cabin—is being created from three reclaimed shipping containers arranged at 120- degree angles around a covered central atrium.
Interpretive signage at each site will highlight for the general visitor the unique aspects of the particular work and provide insights into the natural resources and animal for which the habitat was conceived. An audio narrative, accessible at each site by cell phone, will afford an extended opportunity for visitors to learn more about the work, the artist, the resident animal, and the Presidio Trust’s extensive habitat restoration and preservation efforts.
Presidio Habitats will be on view for a full year, thereby providing visitors with an opportunity to experience the habitats in different seasons. Lectures organized by the Presidio Trust will feature participating artists, natural resource specialists, and other professionals with unique
insights into creative endeavors at the nexus of art and environment. The exhibition and related programs are offered to the public on an admission free basis. Presidio Habitats is expected to generate strong public interest.
A full-day community celebration will inaugurate the opening of Presidio Habitats on Sunday, May 16, 2010. A morning ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by guided walks, entertainment, and an array of food provided by local vendors. The exhibition and related programs will be publicized in local listings and media, and will be featured on the FOR-SITE Foundation’s website.
Presidio Habitats builds upon the broad public interest generated by the 2008 Goldsworthy project—the artist’s monumental Spire situated across from Inspiration Point, and the accompanying exhibition, Goldsworthy at the Presidio. Public response to that project—the FOR-SITE Foundation’s first initiative in the Presidio—has been strong, drawing thousands of visitors to the Presidio.
Presidio Habitats is organized for the FOR-SITE Foundation by Cheryl Haines, Executive Director, and Hal Fischer, Director of Special Projects. Presidio Habitats is made possible by the FOR-SITE Foundation through private contributions and in-kind support.