SF Chronicle Datebook

Added on by Robert Minervini.

Link to original article: https://datebook.sfchronicle.com/art-exhibits/san-francisco-skyline-stars-in-mosaic-at-newly-opened-sfo-terminal

San Francisco skyline stars in mosaic at newly opened SFO terminal

Sam Whiting July 24, 2019

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Oakland artist Robert Minervini in front of “Hyper-Natural Bay Area” during a hard-hat tour of Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at SFO.

The skyline of San Francisco has been depicted in every medium, from the logo on Herb Caen’s column in The Chronicle to the hats at “Beach Blanket Babylon.” Now it’s been re-created as a 31-by-9-foot tile mosaic for all to see — locals and visitors alike.

On Tuesday, July 23, the public art piece “Hyper-Natural Bay Area” by Robert Minervini opened along with Harvey Milk Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport. The project took two years, cost $370,000, and is composed of hundreds of thousands of tiles, each set by hand.

It would have been accomplishment enough to show the skyline, which spans from the Dogpatch past the Bay Bridge, downtown, North Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge. But Minervini went a step further by planting still-life objects in the foreground, including a bear,  ancient pottery and the Goddess Minerva, the artist’s signature image.

Still-life detail in Robert Minervini’s “Hyper-Natural Bay Area”Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Still-life detail in Robert Minervini’s “Hyper-Natural Bay Area”Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

The point of “Hyper-Natural Bay Area” is to give travelers a San Francisco view the moment they step off the plane, before hassling the hour it takes to get from the gate to an actual view of the city. Or to provide the only view passengers will get while making a connecting flight. Or to provide one last view of the city for San Franciscans heading out.

“I see it as an imaginary window at the airport, looking at the city center with a variety of still-life objects meant to playfully occupy the traveler’s imagination,” says the 37-year-old artist by phone from Castro Valley, where he’s creating another mural along Highway 580. “It’s a meditative space for getting lost in the scenery and the variety of objects.”

The mosaic is one of five permanent pieces paid for by the San Francisco Arts Commission to honor the 50th anniversary of the city’s “percent for art” program, which necessitates that either 1% or 2% of the total construction cost of any project be designated for public art.

Some $49 million has been collected through this formula and 2,167 works acquired  for the Civic Art Collection. There are more works from the collection on display at the airport than at any other location in the city — 162 works, most of them public sculptures.

By the time Harvey Milk Terminal 1 is completed in 2022, another 34 will have been added at a value of $10.5 million, officials said.

Most of this public art is past security checkpoints, which raises the question: How public is it since you need to be in possession of a paid airline ticket in order to see it? You will need to be flying Southwest or JetBlue to be exposed to Minervini’s mural at Boarding Area B.

If you are so lucky, come early or hope for a delayed flight to allow enough time to study the intricacies of “Hyper-Natural Bay Area.”

Robert Minervini with “Hyper-Natural Bay Area” Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Robert Minervini with “Hyper-Natural Bay Area” Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

To create the mosaic, Minervini made a 15-foot-wide painting of the skyline in his Oakland studio and photographed the detail. Then he boarded a flight of his own, 13 hours to Munich, where his fabricator is located. It took a week just to explain it to the fabricator, then six months for a crew of six German and Italian artisans to build it out of glass, ceramic tile and marble.

Halfway through, Minervini took another 13-hour flight to make sure it met his specifications. The completed mosaic was then broken up like the pieces of a puzzle for shipping. Two fabricators then flew from Munich to install it. The job took two weeks, and they never had to leave the airport.

“Only two tiles had to be replaced,” he says, “and that was because the shade of blue was too dark.”

A work from “Robert Minervini: Future Collapse” at Rena Bransten Gallery

A work from “Robert Minervini: Future Collapse” at Rena Bransten Gallery

If you don’t have reason to fly, you can see the original painting of “Hyper Natural Bay Area” on display at Rena Brantsen Gallery at the Minnesota Street Project through Aug. 17. The painting is part of “Future Collapse,” a solo exhibition depicting Minervini’s unique still-life and landscape paintings inspired by California topography.

“Hyper-Natural Bay Area”: Boarding Area B, Harvey Milk Terminal 1, San Francisco International Airport.

“Robert Minervini: Future Collapse”: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Through Aug. 17. Rena Bransten Gallery, 1275 Minnesota St., S.F. 415-982-3292. renabranstengallery.com

Franz Mayer of Munich Planning Visit | Summer 2018

Added on by Robert Minervini.

Here's some photos of a recent trip to Franz Mayer of Munich, the fabricators who I’ll be working with to create a permanent mosaic installation at SFO Airport Terminal 1, to be completed Summer 2019. Commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission.

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Kala Fellowship Group Exhibition

Added on by Robert Minervini.

Both Directions At Once

Jennifer Basile, Rachel Livedalen, Yuki Maruyama, JoAnne McFarland, Robert Minervini, Golbanou Moghaddas, Lorena Guadalupe Molina, Tyler Starr

Opening Reception: July 19, 2018, 6-8:30pm

Exhibition Runs: July 19, 2018 — September 22, 2018

Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA 


Sentimental Mood at First Amendment Gallery, San Francisco

Added on by Robert Minervini.

1000 Howard St. San Francisco, CA 94103 | Wednesday - Saturday 12 to 6:30 415.523.8282 | info@firstamendmentgallery.com


Midnight Heron.jpg




Group Exhibition With:

Adam Caldwell
Anika Chasuk
Casey Gray
Chris Martin
Daryll Peirce
David Chong Lee
David Marc Grant
Ernest Doty
Gina Contreras
John Casey
Kellen Chasuk
Lena Gustafson
Marcos La Farga
Oliver Hawk
Peter Adamyan
Rich Jacobs
Robert Xavier Burden
Robert Minervini
Sean Newport
Yetunde Olagbaju

Winter / Spring Exhibitions

Added on by Robert Minervini.

Palo Alto Art Center
Bird in Hand
Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road
January 16th - April 10th
Opening: Friday, January 22, 7 - 10 p.m

di Rosa
Radical Landscapes
5200 Sonoma (Carneros) Highway
Napa, CA 

February 6 - April 3rd, 2016
Opening: Feb 6th 4-6pm

C2C Projects

In This Place

San Francisco 

Opening: February 6th, 6-9pm


One Night Event

Arena 1 Gallery 

(at the Santa Monica Art Studios)

3026 Airport Ave

Santa Monica, CA 

February 6th, 6-8pm

Laguna Art Museum

California Cool

Art Auction

Laguna Art Museum
307 Cliff Drive
Laguna Beach, CA

January 31 - February, 6th 3-5pm

City College of San Francisco

California Utopias: Shifting Perspectives at the edge of the West

Two Person show with Artist Jamie Vasta

Visual Arts Building, Room 119
City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Avenue
San Francisco, California 94112

April 19 - May 17th | Show Hours: Mon 11 to 3, Tues 2 to 5, Wed 11 to 3, Thur 2 to 5

University of Washington

School of Art+Art History+Design

I am currently teaching at UW winter quarter 2016

I will be concluding my time here in Seattle with an exhibition at the Standpoint Gallery, Spring 2016 

Dates TBD. 

Studio Visit from San Francisco Art Enthusiast

Added on by Robert Minervini.

Robert Minervini, San Francisco Arts Commission Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series


The Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster series has included a wealth of well-known local artists including Rigo 94, Margaret Kilgallen, Kara Maria, Jason Jagel, Kamau Amu Patton, and Elisheva Biernoff. This spring, Robert Minervini is among three artists in 2015 who will create and present six posters along Market Street between 8th and the Embarcadero. San Francisco Art Enthusiast was delighted to get a sneak peek of the artwork while speaking to Minervini about his interpretation of the Art on Market Street series.

“Artists were asked to respond to the overarching thematic of ‘Exposed’ within San Francisco Arts Commission’s Civic Art Collection,” Minervini says as he related to Art Enthusiast the genesis of the project. “I chose to focus on the statuary of Golden Gate Park as a theme based on my interest in landscape and in the intersection of nature and culture…” Among 4,000 artworks within the civic art collection, he says he was particularly attracted to San Francisco’s public statuary as it best evinces that close relationship — the “collective ownership” that should exist between this city’s vast collection and its citizens. Minervini further details these public works act in much the same way as SFAC’s Art on Market Street project, where the works are on view in the public sphere: “What makes Art on Market Street such an appealing project to me is that the artworks are intended for, and given to the public instead of for private use.”


Artist Robert Minervini in the studio

Additionally, he was interested in revealing lost narratives and historical local knowledge that may be lost to contemporary audiences. “By focusing on specific artifacts within the park — Portals of the Past, the Sara B. Cooper Memorial, The William McKinley Memorial, The Ball Thrower, Poème de la Vigne, and the John McLaren Stature — I was interested in uncovering forgotten narratives—how the statues came to exist, what the historic relevance was to the city and its inhabitants, and what the statues’ relevance might be to a contemporary audience…” He pointed out that with these deep, multifarious layers of histories one can delve into, many creative interpretations can also be made. “On their own, un-contextualized and relegated to the status of “historical icon,” the monuments lose significance,” he explains. “By reinterpreting the statues visually, integrating their history with a contemporary aesthetic, I had aimed to reconnect the monuments with present-day viewing audiences and to provoke inquiry regarding the influence of the past on the present.”

This project, Minervini admits, had its challenges. “In general with my work, I’m not interested in depicting specific sites, spaces or places because I want to avoid my work being about portraiture of place so to speak,” he says. “My source material is generated by mixing and blending locations and places, which are often of local origin but reimagined in a non-specific way.” But with this challenge, Minervini sees opportunity for the breadth of visual subject matter to expand, and open himself up for new avenues in his practice. “I was very interested to see what would happen when choosing to work with such specific subject matter as these statues in Golden Gate Park. In the future, I could see more specific icons tucked into my works, but in general my interests still lay in abstracting the real to some extent.”

Original works on paper for the Art on Market Street posters by Robert Minervini

With this, he then takes us through several of the posters that will be in the bus kiosks. After the first poster, it is apparent how thoughtfully he approached each of his subjects — well-versed in the histories and eloquent and innovative with his portrayal. The first is a remarkable image of John McLaren’s statue in Golden Gate Park tangled among some overgrown bushes under a red to green sky while centered among the map of the park. “The John McLaren Statue is a memorial to a man who didn’t want one,” begins Minervini. “McLaren created Golden Gate Park and dedicated his life to the advocacy and development of its 1,017 acres. It has been noted that he never liked statues in parks and attempted to hide them behind shrubbery. This includes his own statue, which was made against his wishes.” He points to the white outline of the map encircling McLaren: “…For this design, I have superimposed a map of Golden Gate Park over the image of his statue, which is partially obscured by greenery.” The design of this particular poster, with its detailed interest in the park avenues and overgrown foliage gradually reclaiming the statue as years advance, seem to recall the artist’s personal work. Minervini’s paintings reveal the paradoxical ecological impact of humanity: urban landscape highways and overpasses at once crumbling or being constructed, broken-down fences, and drought-ridden brown grasses. They may be joined with a wilting still life that, like its Dutch ancestors, reveal at once the beauty and fragility of life.

In another poster’s design, Minervini highlights another significant local memorial, but one whose finery, like McLaren’s, might have been overlooked by locals and tourists alike. “Portals of the Past is the most complex and layered memorial of the group and notably the only monument to commemorate the 1906 earthquake,” he indicates. “During the earthquake, a fire destroyed the family home of South Pacific Railroads’ Vice President A. N. Towne, located in Nob Hill. The marble façade was all that remained of the building. …Caroline Towne donated the marble facade to the City Park Commission in 1909, and it was placed in its current location at Lloyd Lake where it still stands today.” Looking at the poster he designed, he interprets the artwork before us. “I superimposed the original house over the portal as a way to metaphorically reconnect the history of the object to the present.” Like the ruin marble threshold that still stands, Minervini’s artwork does not seek to explicitly reveal its purpose or vividly remind its audiences of the fire that consumed the stately home and the city. Instead, the simple fractured image, along with its ghostly supplement that nostalgically recollects its unfortunate past with current visitors, elicits a humble but visceral response and connection.

Original works on paper for the Art on Market Street posters by Robert Minervini

With the final poster, the public artwork chosen, intriguingly, does not include a memorial to a person or event, but a celebration in fine art of revelry and hedonist delights. Gustave Dore’s Le Poème de la Vigne, Minervini says, “…seemed central to the city’s identity as a fun loving and debaucherous place, and that sentiment is beautifully captured in the sculpture.” Dore exhibited Le Poème de la Vigne at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair, and made its permanent residence in San Francisco when M.H de Young purchased it at the 1894 California Mid-Winter International Exposition. “Let’s be real,” Minervini says playfully, “San Francisco is a place that likes to party, and the region is known for its wine.” With this particular poster, innovative interpretations create new meanings for an antique artwork of significant local history for contemporary artists and audiences.

Conversation returns to a subject that had been briefly touched upon earlier, that of the Art on Market Street project’s engagement with art on display in public. “I have a background in mural painting, so I’ve been thinking about and working with this idea of public and private space for some time,” he says. Indeed, Minervini’s recently completed murals include “Sinking Cities,” a 40- by 50-foot wall at Facebook headquarters while the social media business’ artist resident. “I aimed to make the imagery for Art on Market Street simple yet eye catching enough to differentiate it from the advertising space the works will be sharing space with, while inviting the viewer to slow down and try and read into the artworks and contemplate their broader meanings.” With this project in partnership with SFAC Minervini aims to engage audiences to realize and appreciate San Francisco’s colorful past and rich cultural legacy. “I would ultimately hope for the series to inspire others to look more inquisitively at their surrounding and to wonder about San Francisco’s fascinating history. The city’s history is written on its layered architecture, public and private spaces, and these monuments are part of that story.”

More about the Art on Market Street Kiosk Poster Series, including past artists and artwork, here.

Original works on paper for the Art on Market Street posters by Robert Minervini