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Node, Tallest Artwork in San Francisco.

Tallest Artwork in San Francisco

Field review by the editors.

San Francisco, California

Weighing eight tons, built at a cost of $1.45 million, snaking skyward 102 feet, "Node" became the tallest sculpture in San Francisco (and most other cities) when it was erected in April 2023. Artist Roxy Paine bested 153 other applicants to win the commission way back in 2013. The sculpture, resembling a giant upside-down tree root, or an earthquake fault line to heaven, was then completed and sat in storage for years. That might explain why Paine didn't bother to attend its long-overdue erection.

Paine, in his 2013 artist's statement, wrote that Node was merely the visible part of an "enormous bio-industrial rhizomatic organism," with the rest hidden somewhere beneath San Francisco pavement. Unsettling thought: the next big earthquake might set it free.

Even though Node is surrounded by skyscrapers, its scraggly chrome-plated spire is a natural lighting rod. Part of its cost included the design and construction of an energy dispersal system at its base, so that the artwork wouldn't electrocute pedestrians.

Tallest Artwork in San Francisco

260 4th St., San Francisco, CA
Outside the Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, on the southwest corner of 4th and Clementina Sts.
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