In close partnership with Hayes Valley Arts Coalition, the Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly supported the installation of Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito’s sculpture Ecstasy at Patricia’s Green in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Ca.
By Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito
San Francicso, California
February 7, 2010 – October 21, 2011
30’H x 9’W x 9’D
About the Project
First displayed at the Burning Man festival in Nevada in 2008, Ecstasy is one of the eight monumental metal figures of the artists’ masterpiece, Crude Awakening. In Crude Awakening, these eight figures surrounded a 99-foot tall wooden oil derrick in gestures of prostration, worship and exaltation. The figures represented the ‘faithful’; the religious peoples of the world in their various postures of worship, all joining together in homage of the ominous symbol of the oil derrick. The installation culminated in a massive firework and fire display, and in the burning of the oil derrick. It was the biggest and most memorable burn to date at the Burning Man event.
Alone, Ecstasy embarks on a hopeful journey. Instead of throwing her head back in reverie to the oil derrick, she gazes wistfully into the open sky as she steps forward into the future. Her name expresses a sudden change of attitude and belief in hope; an moment of being overcome by passionate optimism in a future beyond our culture’s dependency on fossil fuel.
Made from salvaged and recycled steel, this six ton, 30 foot tall work retains its’ environmental message. Through much of their work, artists Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito resolve to use reclaimed materials, exemplifying resourcefulness as part of the creative process and challenging our cultures consumerist tendencies. Found objects, structural steel scrap, and old machine and car parts comprise Esctasy’s body; the strands of her hair are retired lifting chains. Her structural armature is made of 10″ schedule 40 pipe, harvested from a disused factory in Oakland, Ca.
About the Artists
Dan Das Mann’s fascination with large-scale work began with a landscape architecture degree from Rutgers University. He is a self-taught jack-of-all-trades, and has created a large body of work including The One Tree, The Faces of the Man as well as a line of sculptures produced for the consumer market.
Karen Cusolito studied at Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art and has produced several public art installations in and around the Boston area. She is passionate about the human form as a means of expression. Her work includes painting and mixed-media sculpture, as well as photography and literary “vignettes.”
Dan and Karen began their collaboration in 2005, creating Passage, which BRAF supported to be installed near Peir 14 in San Francisco in the summer of 2007.
Dan and Karen have inspired an active and lively community of artists and volunteers, without whom, their large-scale works would not be possible. Their management of the huge artists’ workspace in Oakland, Ca, American Steel, is breaking ground in demonstrating how to support artists and promote community.
About the Site
Through their Civic Arts Program, the Black Rock Arts Foundation is pleased to further the evolution of this artwork’s message by exposing it to a new audience and community, and to return to the site of Patricia’s Green. In 2005, this location was the site of BRAF’s first public art project. Working closely with the residents and business owners in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, BRAF established a model of community collaboration towards the curation and installation of public art. These community members continued to work on bringing art into their neighborhood, forming the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition. The installation of Ecstasy at Patricia’s Green further affirms the success of this collaboration, and of the model of public, temporary art installation.
The display of Ecstasy is funded largely in part from a grant from the Grants for the Arts, San Francisco Hotel Tax fund, and from individual donations towards the project.