Artist Andy Goldsworthy's 'Wood Line' Follows Rich History of San Francisco's Presidio Forest

andy goldsworthy wood line presidio san francisco photo

Andy Goldsworthy's 'Wood Line.' Photo by Monique Deschaines/FOR-SITE Foundation.

More than a century ago, the U.S. Army began planting thousands of trees in San Francisco's Presidio as part of a massive forestation project, leaving a legacy of lush green space in the northern part of the city. Not all of the effort was successful, though; the cypress trees planted in the 1890s quickly died out, leaving gaps in a large eucalyptus grove -- gaps that a world-renowned British artist has filled with a new site-specific sculpture that came from the forest and will eventually return to it as well.Made from eucalyptus branches trimmed during different contemporary park maintenance projects and completed in early August, artist Andy Goldsworthy's "Wood Line," snakes through an area between Lover's Lane and Presidio Boulevard, drawing attention to the forest's man-made nature in a subtle way. According to a press release about the piece:

[T]he historic Presidio forest is the park's most dramatic natural feature and is the most vivid example of how people shaped the park's landscape.... 'Wood Line' is not as ephemeral as some of Goldsworthy's other works, but the sculpture is not conceived as a permanent addition to the Presidio landscape. Like many of the artist's site-specific works, the materials will decompose and return to the earth over time.

"Wood Line" is Goldsworthy's second outdoor art installation in the Presidio, a 1,491-acre urban national park that is becoming a haven for environmental art thanks to the FOR-SITE Foundation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on "art about place" and its partnership with the Presidio Trust.

Extended through the end of this summer, the partnership's "Presidio Habitats" exhibition features 11 quirky "habitats" -- from a geodesic dome to a classical Chinese vessel -- that function both as art pieces and as places where a specific animal resident of the Presidio might actually set up a home.

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