Site-specific Art Commissioned for the de Young

The de Young has commissioned several leading contemporary artists, including Gerhard Richter, James Turrell, Andy Goldsworthy, and Kiki Smith to create site-specific works for the new building.

For the de Young German artist Gerhard Richter has produced a large-scale mural from digitally manipulated photographs that together form a geometric black-and-white motif. The monumental piece, titled Strontium, is constructed of 130 digital prints mounted on aluminum with Plexiglas coating. It is installed in Wilsey Court, the central public gathering space of the new de Young.

California artist James Turrell has created a "Skyspace" for the museum’s Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden. Three Gems, Turrell’s first “Skyspace” in the form of a stupa or dome, is built into a hill within the garden and features a view of the sky altered by lighting effects that will change with light and weather conditions outside.

A third commission by Andy Goldsworthy takes its inspiration from the unique character of California’s tectonic topography. Goldsworthy has created a continuous crack running north from the edge of the Music Concourse roadway in front of the museum, up the main walkway, into the exterior courtyard, and to the main entrance door. Along its path, this crack bisects -- and cleaves in two -- large rough-hewn stone slabs that serve as seating for museum visitors.

Kiki Smith’s large-scale sculpture, a gift of Dorothy and George Saxe and the Friends of New Art, reinterprets David, Joanna, and Abigail Mason (1670) attributed to the Freake-Gibbs Painter from the de Young’s American Paintings Collection. Elements of the piece also evoke the unconventional layout and dramatic copper skin of new de Young.

Gerhard Richter: Strontium, 2005

Strontium is temporarily deinstalled to support 2016–2017 exhibition activities.German artist Gerhard Richter has created Strontium, a large-scale mural for the new de Young derived from digitally-manipulated photographs, that together form a geometric black and white motif representing the atomic... View More

Andy Goldsworthy: Drawn Stone, 2005

In 2003, the Fine Arts Museums asked Andy Goldsworthy to develop a proposal for a site-specific work that could be incorporated into the new de Young Museum. Like the intersecting diagonals of Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the museum building, Goldsworthy’s work is inspired by the unique... View More

James Turrell: Three Gems, 2005

Also commissioned for the de Young is a new work of art by renowned California artist James Turrell (b. 1943), best known for his visionary work with light. Created specifically for a site in the new de Young’s Osher Sculpture Garden, it is a gift of Mr. and Mrs. Osher. This "skyspace," titled... View More

Kiki Smith: Near, 2005

Kiki Smith’s large-scale sculpture Near, a gift of Dorothy and George Saxe and the Friends of New Art, reinterprets David, Joanna, and Abigail Mason (1670), attributed to the Freake-Gibbs Painter, a holding of the de Young’s American Paintings Collection. Elements of the piece also evoke the... View More

Ed Ruscha: Triptych

 Ed Ruscha was commissioned to create two large-scale paintings that flank his A Particular Kind of Heaven, 1983, which is in the museum’s collection, to form a spectacular, monumental triptych. Continuing the themes of the 1983 painting, the new panels each have the existing canvas’s dimensions of... View More