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 character of California’s tectonic topography. Working with the Appleton Greenmoore stone imported from Yorkshire, England, that will surround the new de Young building, Goldsworthy is creating 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 up to the main entrance door. Along its path, this crack bisects--and cleave in two--large rough-hewn stone slabs that will serve as seating for museum visitors.
Drawn Stone has particular resonance in the cultural landscape of California, an historic locus of environmental sensitivity and activism. It has added relevance in the context of landscape architect Walter Hood’s landscape design for the de Young and in the natural environment of Golden Gate Park.
Best known for his work with natural (and often ephemeral) materials such as rock, wood, leaves, snow, and ice, Andy Goldsworthy is an important and influential contemporary artist, whose work has contributed to the histories of Earth, Environmental, Conceptual, Minimal, and Process art. Goldsworthy’s work has been published in a dozen major monographs and has been included in over 200 solo and group exhibitions, including a current installation on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Born in Sale Moor, Cheshire, England, Andy Goldsworthy studied art at the Bradford College of Art (1974-75) and Preston Polytechnic, Lancaster (1975-79), where he first admired the works of Mark Boyle, Ben Nicholson, Yves Klein, Gordon Matta-Clark, Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, and Christo.
Although Goldsworthy works exclusively with natural materials, he arranges and orders them into forms and arrays that lie just beyond the realm of the possible in nature, thus heightening the viewer’s awareness of the fine line between the natural and art/artifice. His works typically emphasize the processes of nature--including creation and transformation--often achieving a near-transparency of his role as an artist.