Visitors passing by the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park yesterday may have noticed a curious golden sprout in the bed of begonias and snapdragons. The new gold aluminum sculpture, "La Rose Des Vents," is the work of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel; its name translates to "compass rose," or literally, "wind rose."
Gallery 836M is hosting Othoniel's work in San Francisco, with some help from the San Francisco Arts Commission and Rec & Parks. According to Liam Passmore, the gallery's publicist, Othoniel is the first artist in over 300 years to have a new permanent installation in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. His work has also been displayed in Venice, Paris and Miami, and in museums like the Centre Pompidou, the Louvre, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
"La Rose Des Vents" will grace the Conservatory lawn until next June; during that time, the city will work on finding a permanent home for it. San Francisco is actually the sculpture's second U.S. stop—earlier this year, it had a brief run at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where Othoniel was an artist-in-residence in 2011.
"La Rose" is actually one of two Othoniel pieces currently on display in SF. The other is a glass sculpture, "Peony, the Knot of Shame," which shared the spotlight with "La Rose" at the Gardner Museum. It will be displayed onsite through January at 836M, which is located at 836 Montgomery St. in Jackson Square. A 2005 Othoniel sculpture, "Peggy's Necklace," is also on permanent display there. (Art lovers may recall that 836M also hosted the San Francisco return of Banksy's "Haight Street Rat," originally painted on the eastern face of the Red Victorian.)
If you're interested in checking out "La Rose Des Vents," 836M is hosting a small, semi-public opening ceremony for it this Saturday, September 26, from noon to 2pm.