Thursday, January 21, 2010

Many-armed, several headed Buddha Statue to reside in the Civic Center?


Fifteen tons and what do you get - not a one-eyed flying purple people eater, (for those who remember the catchy 50's tune), but a three-headed, six-armed statue of the Buddha. Created by the Chinese artist Zhang Huan for the year-long celebration of our sister city of Shanghai, the statue will be located right across from the Asian Art Museum. But there's no guarantee that this benevolent many-limbed figure will grace the not too sacred grounds of the Civic Center.

The SF Arts Commission has to raise $100K to ship the thing from Shanghai, and the parking garage roof will also have to be strong enough to withhold all that weight. Sacred or not, fifteen tons of bronze and steel is heavy and, as far as I know, the statue won't levitate. Time will tell if the Buddha's many arms shall caress San Francisco's resident homeless in the plaza. Will this help them achieve enlightenment?

More importantly, will it enable our mayor and the Board of Supervisors to embrace the Noble Eightfold Path - "right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration." I am sure that any one of these would be appreciated. Unfortunately, the tiny image (which is the only one I've been able to find) bears a striking resemblance to the Flying Spaghetti Monster and I'm not the only one who thinks so. So I suspect that mindfulness will not be on the agenda any time soon.

One of the new breed of international artists, Zhang Huan splits his time between Shanghai and New York. Although trained as a painter, his work is largely comprised of rigorous performances and monumental sculpture. In this instance, the artwork may prove too heavy for the Civic Center Garage, which is housed beneath the expanse of the plaza. But if there's one thing we love, it's a robust artistic controversy so I expect this will bring out the sarcasm, the snark and the note of appreciation.

Links - oh yes, boy and howdy do we have links (but no decent image yet).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_People_Eater
http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2010/01/15/buddha_statue_may_have_many_arms_outstretched_in_the_civic_center.php
http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Unifying-artwork-may-be-displayed-in-Civic-Center-81637462.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Huan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster
Image from SF Examiner

1 comment:

Zoomie said...

Can't wait to see how this one is resolved but, in the meantime, you made me laugh aloud with this piece! Thanks!

Word verification (no kidding!) is:
hapee.