The Raygun Gothic Rocketship

The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborated with artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, Alan Rorie and their talented crew ( on the installation of the iconic, large-scale sculpture, The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14 on San Francisco’s waterfront. We held an opening reception for the work on August 6th, 2010.

Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, and their crew
Pier 14, San Francisco, California
August 6, 2010 – March 15, 2013
Aluminum and steel
40’H x 8’W x 8’D

The Rocketship has been de-installed, but you can help bring similar public artwork to San Francisco and the world by making a donation to our Civic Arts Program:


The Ragun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14. Photo by David Yu
The Ragun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14. Photo by David Yu

About the Project

Towering at 40 feet tall and weighing 13,000 lbs, this aluminum and steel feat of engineering evokes the pop culture imagery of 1930’s and 40’s science fiction. While clearly a poignant commentary on yesterday’s idea of tomorrow, the Rocketship’s sheer artistry enchants and delights, and suspends disbelief. By day, its teardrop shaped, shining fuselage and fins brilliantly capture the sunlight, by night its portholes wink and flicker with colored lights.

The installation first landed at Burning Man 2009, and has subsequently appeared at NASA Ames for Yuri’s Night, and at Maker Faire. The piece is comprised of a single rocketship, poised as if to board passengers for a typical run to a nearby stellar destination. In San Francisco, the sculpture is accompanied by a descriptive exhibit, in the form of a “Rocket Stop”, which tells the story of the rocketship, provides route, schedule and other information. The installation is illuminated for nighttime viewing.

“I believe the Raygun Gothic Rocket team uniquely captured the emotion and wonderment each kid has felt with space travel at some time in their childhood. In fact, their creation stirs the child in each of us as we remember those emotions and why we feel that continued support for developing advanced technologies that push the boundaries of human knowledge and capability is essential.

I applaud the team for tapping that emotion in a unique and creative way. I believe it has the potential to make a personal and significant impact to each who encounter it.”


About the Site

In 2007, BRAF ambitiously sought the approval of the San Francisco Port Authority to install Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito’s large-scale mother-and-child sculpture, Passage, on Pier 14. BRAF won their support, and the metal figures remained on display for an extended stay of 4 months. The piece quickly became an attraction and beloved, if only temporary, landmark for the community. Upon the work’s deinstallation, local businesses and residents turned to BRAF, demanding new, equally compelling and high caliber art.

About the Artists

Also the masterminds behind the popular, elegant and highly interactive Steam Punk Treehouse, Oakland-based artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, Alan Rorie and their talented and dedicated crew are quickly gaining acclaim for their distinctive style and approach to art making. These emerging artists are making a bold impression on the established arts milieu, employing strong values of collaboration and apprenticeship in their work ethic, and wielding their unique aesthetic vision – a blend of both factual and fictional imagery of history and the future. (


The display was funded in part by a $15,000 grant from the San Francisco Port Commission. BRAF and the artists initiated a public fundraising campaign to raise the remaining $45,000 needed for the project.

Thank you to this project’s sponsors and supporters!

Deg Logo

  • Paul and April Buchheit
  • Rachel and Loren Carpenter
  • Freddy and Helvetica Hahne
  • The Rock Paper Scissors Foundation
  • Chad and Drea Lester
  • The Edwards Family Fund
  • Steven and Jennifer Schimmel
  • Michael Raneri
  • Philip Rosedale

Degenkolb Engineers and Leslie Pritchett Public Art Consulting provided invaluable administrative and technical support.

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14. Photo by Matthew Grimm