The Sculptures of San Francisco

Leo Villareal’s Point Cloud, a light installation above Howard Street.
By Emma Krasov

Look for these public art displays while strolling the city.

Adding to San Francisco’s distinctive image, outdoor sculptures populate many of its city squares and public parks. Some beckon from afar, some hide in courtyards and around the corners, others appear in altogether unexpected places.

Point Cloud

Leo Villareal’s 2019 light installation Point Cloud, above, is encased in glass above Howard Street in the 100-foot pedestrian bridge between Moscone Conference Center’s north and south buildings (747 Howard St.). The multicolored display shines with 50,000 LEDs, reflected in 858 polished stainless-steel rods in constantly moving, never-repeating patterns.

Cupid’s Span

Feel the magnitude of love along the Embarcadero waterfront imparted by the partially buried, supersized bow and arrow, spanning 60 feet and brightly painted in red and gold. Created in 2002 by artist spouses Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Cupid’s Span depicts attributes of the god of love and serves as a perfect backdrop for weddings and romantic dates.

The Thinker

The Thinker, the most famous sculpture by turn-of-the-century French master Auguste Rodin, has continued to inspire San Francisco’s thinkers since its installation in 1904 at the Legion of Honor Museum (100 34th Ave).

Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain

Deep Gradient/Suspect Terrain by John Roloff’s is a 20-foot-tall green glass ship sitting nose up at the entrance to the Yerba Buena Gardens (750 Howard St.).

Pneumatic Dreamer

Look up to the fourth floor terrace of the W San Francisco hotel (181 3rd St.) to see the enigmatic Pneumatic Dreamer, by Michael Stutz, constructed of woven bronze strips and lit at night.

Photo credit: Point Cloud by San Francisco Arts Commission, Cupid’s Span by SF Travel, The Thinker by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Deep Gradient Suspect Train and Pneumatic Dreamer by Yuri Krasov.


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