Future’s Past

In close collaboration with the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC) and Hayes Valley community members, the Black Rock Arts Foundation brings another admired work of art to the public park known as Patricia’s Green in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, California. We’re proud to share Future’s Past, by esteemed artist Kate Raudenbush with the San Francisco community.

Future’s Past by Kate Raudenbush
Patricia’s Green
at Octavia and Hayes St.

San Francisco, California
May 10, 2012 – July 17, 2014
Plasma cut steel, lighting, mirror
24’H x 12’W x 12’D

We hope you were able to join us for the Opening Reception of this celebrated on Thursday, May 10, 2012.

Future’s Past at Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.

About the Project

First exhibited at Burning Man in 2010, Future’s Past is an intricate metal sculpture standing 24 feet tall, and tells a story of civilization being reclaimed by nature. The 12-foot base of the piece harkens an ancient pyramid. Springing from its top is an ornate 12-foot Bodhi tree, a symbol of freedom from earthly attachments. At night, eerie green light shines through the finely cut, circuit board-like patterns in the base’s walls. The piece’s architectural references, as well as its juxtaposition of natural and technological imagery, give the impression of archetypal narrative. The mysterious, temple-like structure evokes an archeological account of another time, or even an alien culture. But like truly relevant science fiction, the story told is a parable for our civilizations possible fate.

Detail of the interior of Future’s Past at Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by Kate Raudenbush

With its delicate, complex metal work and refined craftsmanship, the monumental structure draws visitors into the interior for a closer look. Once inside, they find a quiet, contained space that provokes, invites and nurtures introspection and examination of the relationship between nature, technology and culture. This contemplative piece suits the site, where many people find pause from their busy, modern, metropolitan lives against the backdrop of the park’s greenery. Set within the larger landscape of San Francisco, the piece itself and the individual within demonstrate and reference the telescoping scales of nature, within culture, within nature.

Future’s Past at Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.

About the Site

20 years ago, the 500 block of Hayes Street was one the most blighted in the city. A portion of the elevated Central Freeway, closed and condemned after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, once stood at the site of Patricia’s Green, sheltering a myriad of illegal and dangerous activities. The destruction of the freeway and construction of Patricia’s Green public park brought new hope to the neighborhood.

In 2005, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BRAF to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive ‘Temple.’ The Hayes Valley Temple quickly became a cherished focal point for the community, providing a beautiful space that inspired connection, dialog and civic pride. The Temple demonstrated how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful work, specific to the needs of their community, and became the model for BRAF’s Civic Arts Program.

The success and popularity of The Hayes Valley Temple sparked the formation of the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC,) a grassroots organization established to support public art in Hayes Valley. BRAF continues to work closely with HVAC to curate and install artworks at Patricia’s Green. The site has now hosted four large scale sculptures, and recently saw the deinstallation of Dan Das Man and Karen Cusolito’s hopeful, figurative work Ecstasy.

With references to both the future and the past, to both decay and renewal, Future’s Past is conceptually an ideal fit for the reclaimed urban space of Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley, particularly during these challenging times. The piece creates a space for reflection, a safe sanctuary to ponder missed opportunities and future possibilities, ultimately leading to the hope of a brighter tomorrow.

About the Artist

Kate Raudenbush is a New York City based artist who creates allegorical environments as a form of social dialogue. Mixing visual symbolism cross-culturally within human history and mythology, geometry and architecture, her art finds inspiration within the micro and macro viewpoints of our natural and manufactured worlds. She utilizes welded and laser-cut metal, acrylic, mirror, sound and light to shape her designs into enveloping environments and sacred spaces that are given more meaning with each visitor’s participation. In this way, the artwork is not just an object to behold, but also an experience to be lived.

Her work references and weaves together such diverse sources as sacred geometry, Hindu creation myth, Native American art, Mayan architecture, D.N.A. strands, water, time, consciousness, computer circuitry, Buddhist symbolism, environmental sustainability, meditation, and self-empowerment. Raudenbush endeavors to create art that questions and informs, includes and elevates, fostering an awareness of our environment and social issues that resonate with the evolving conscience of our collective culture.

Kate Raudenbush at the Future’s Past Opening Reception. Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.

Her sculpture is in the permanent collection of the Nevada Museum of Art, (Guardian of Eden), and includes publicly and privately commissioned works for performances, events and clients in civic settings, such as The Reno Arts and Culture Commission, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the All Points West Music FestivalMaker Faire NYCLightning in a Bottle in LA, Electric Zoo art and music festival NYC, Escape to New York Festival, Virgin Mobile FreeFest, Melchior Productions, Golden Voice, The Figment Festival in NYC, and Alex’s Grey’s CoSM Art Sanctuary. Over the last 8 years, Kate has had the pleasure of creating large-scale commissioned artworks for the Burning Man event.

Actively involved at The Nationals Arts Club and the Sculptor’s Guild in New York, Kate is also an advisory board member of the Black Rock Arts Foundation in San Francisco.


The Black Rock Arts Foundation extends warm thanks to the following supporters of this project.