Austin-based international artist Beili Liu‘s Sky Bridge, the finale of the multi-year Central Subway Temporary Art Project, is a reflective installation of mirror Mylar on the bricks of the pedestrian bridge over Kearny Street in San Francisco’s Chinatown. One of the most open public spaces in the densely populated area, the bridge connects Portsmouth Square to the Chinese Culture Center, whose Chinese Culture Foundation presents the installation.

Beili Liu was also the first artist selected in the Chinese Culture Foundation’s Xian Rui series in 2008, and her return to San Francisco coincides with the organization’s 50th anniversary. For Sky Bridge, Beili Liu and assistants hot glued a piece of Mylar to each of the tens of thousands of bricks that compose the bridge. “The rhythmic, reflective grid will bring into it the sky and clouds above, the urban buildings and the Chinese gate,” says Liu. “The transformed bridge becomes a river-like silver pathway.” In this sense, Sky Bridge brings open space into the urban fabric in an area where it is scarce.

The installation is part of one of the first public art initiatives for Chinatown. “The community has fought hard for art, and for transportation in the neighborhood,” says Mabel Teng, executive director of Chinese Culture Foundation. Artists and writers including artists and writers such as Charlie Chin, Gold Mountain Poetry Society, Justin Hoover, Lauren Huang, Jon Jang, and Feng Jin have also participated in the Central Subway Temporary Art Project.

The community came together for the unveiling of the artwork on August 1, and dancers performed on the bridge. While the Mylar will begin to wear away, Sky Bridge will remain on view through the end of the month. Central Subway Station is scheduled to open in 2019.

Written by staff of Public Art Review.

Featured in Public Art Review #52.