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SF finally gets the giant silver stick it paid for

"The Node" | Courtesy San Francisco Arts Commission

The “Node” sculpture is not nude, but it might as well be. All 102 spindly feet of it now stick out from an intersection at Fourth and Clementina, bare stainless steel in the sky. The price tag? Nearly $1.5 million. 

The sculpture, by New York artist Roxy Paine, stands in the public plaza in front of the Yerba Buena/Moscone Muni station and is meant to echo the vast infrastructure and communication networks that keep a city running. Its prominence will also draw people to public transit.  

“It will function as a visual artistic landmark and a beacon marking the location of the station from blocks away,” according to the San Francisco Arts Commission, which commissioned the sculpture as part of its Central Subway Public Art Program

The sculpture’s installation required a road closure and a temporary closure of the Muni station. 

The selection process for the sculpture began all the way back in 2012 with a national call for artists by the arts commission. After reviewing 154 applications, the commission chose two finalists to make a new site-specific sculpture.

Roxy Paine made the final-final cut, and the city signed an agreement with him in April 2013 to design, fabricate and transport the sculpture for an amount not to exceed $1,456,000, according to Coma Te, director of communications for the San Francisco Arts Commission.  

The Central Subway Public Art Program was funded through the Art Enrichment Ordinance, enacted in 1969 to provide funding for artwork in civic spaces.

Julie Zigoris can be reached at