Artists News USA

Andy Goldsworthy to make third work for San Francisco Presidio

British artist is fascinated by US army's long history of tree planting

Andy Goldsworthy's tree sliding into the Presidio's Powder Magazine building. Photo:

The artist Andy Goldsworthy is creating a new work for the Presidio of San Francisco, the national park that was formerly a military base. The artist will hang a felled tree covered in cracked clay from the ceiling of a building within the park that was once used by the Army to store explosives.

According to the Presidio Trust’s website, Tree Fall will be “a fully reversible” work installed in the Powder Magazine building, “a small (25 feet by 30 feet) and currently inaccessible masonry structure”. “The gunpowder room would’ve been a fairly dangerous place to be, so [the work] will have that sense of caution to it,” Goldsworthy says. Due to be completed by the end of August, Tree Fall will be the artist’s third project in the park, following Spire, 2008, and Wood Line, 2011.

“What I find so fascinating about the Presidio is that, in the heart of this military machine, there was a huge planting programme,” Goldsworthy says, referring to the fact that the park’s 300-acre forest was planted by the US military between 1886 and 1900. “They had quite a sophisticated sense of landscape,” he says. “They read the landscape in the way that sculptors do—or at least the way I do.”

Great care is being taken to preserve the historic structure. “The new ceiling and structural frame will be anchored to an existing non-historic concrete slab and have no attachment points to the historic masonry portions of the structure,” the Presidio Trust’s website says. “The remainder of the building will be untouched except for the removal and safe storage of the interior door, which will be replaced upon removal of the artwork. The installation has been designed by a structural engineer in order to avoid harm to the existing structure, and includes no artificial lighting.”

Correction: The Presidio is a national, not state, park as originally reported.

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6 Jan 14
17:3 CET


New art piece, Treefall by Andy Goldsworthy in Presidio Army ammo dump was pretty disappointing.

16 Sep 13
16:10 CET


As usual from Andy Goldsworthy, we have a work of inspired imagination, executed with superb skill and precision, all the while retaining a supreme respect for the natural world.

25 Jul 13
18:43 CET


The Presidio of San Francisco is a National Historic Landmark District and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is a National, not state, park.

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