11/4/10

The Albany Bulb

This former landfill on San Francisco Bay just north of Berkeley has been on my to-do list for almost 10 years. Today I finally went, escorted by my buddy Claire and her dog Pickle (short for Mango Pickle).

Why has a landfill been on my to-do list for 10 years? Because:
The Bulb is home a vast array of urban art including mural, stencil, graffiti, sculpture, and installation art. Sculptor and activist lawyer Osha Neumann has created some of the largest works. Sniff, a group of artists composed of Scott Hewitt, Scott Meadows and David Ryan, painted large, highly imaginative "murals" on wood and erected more sculptures on the northwest corner of The Bulb. Another Bulb landmark, referred to as "The Castle," is a large concrete, rebar and plaster shelter which sits on the south west corner of the Bulb, directly opposite the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bulb has been used for informal concerts and even a moving production of Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.
You've heard of guerrilla gardening. The Bulb has guerrilla art, most of it made with debris from the landfill--rip rap, re-bar, concrete chunks, old wood. Some larger pieces have been there for several years, passing into (evolving into) various states of decay. Smaller pieces may come and go. When/if you visit, your experience will be different than mine.

To get there, turn west toward the Bay at the bottom of the the Buchanan Street exit off Highway 80 (one exit north of Gilman Street). Go straight past the racetrack. The street soon ends in a parking lot and there you are.

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I think the first installation we came upon was perhaps my favorite. It should interest the garden groupies here too.

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Cool, huh?

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I want one.

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The Lady also made a big impression. She appears below you suddenly as you approach from the top of a down-slope. Sorry I didn't compose a better introductory picture.

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Such expressiveness.

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Talk about being more than the sum of your parts.

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I think I got my best picture of her with the iPhone Hipstamatic.

Greetings from the Albany Bulb

Nearby, Men.

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Many of the metal sculptures were kinetic.

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Parts of them would turn or rotate. How come you don't make something like this for your garden?

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That's just a sampling of all the sculpture. Of course there's a lot of graffiti art.

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This is the Castle mentioned in the Wikipedia excerpt above.

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And there's a kitchen in the Amphitheater,

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Just clean up after yourself.

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The large pieces of rip rap left uncovered on the landfill were kind of cool in themselves.

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A kind of post-apocalypse, Mad Max feeling prevails, I think. Claire said, "I see more places like this in the future." I said, "I wonder if that idea would scare some people."

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Weedy vegetation covers most of the Bulb.

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But someone planted palms, and we saw lots of native grindelia and pickleweed (Salicornia) along the shores.

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So there we are. Thank you, Albany Bulb.

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Until next time...

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9 comments:

Queer by Choice said...

Ooh, I like the little tennis racket creature. And the first one. And the castle. And the lady . . . can I just have all of them?

danger garden said...

Now that's impressive!

Les said...

I am not sure which I want to visit more, The Bulb or Big Sur.

ryan said...

I haven't been for a while. I seem to be overdue. Nice photos; quite a few are ones I haven't seen.

Christopher C. NC said...

Very cool. I want the stone ampitheater of course and actually had an idea quite like that run through my head for the garden a while back and decided it involved too many flat stones I did not have.

I do not have the vision I see in a lot of the art at the Bulb, but it won't stop me from adding trash to my garden once that really begins to get more of my attention. I'm already a roadside attraction. Might as well go all out.

Denise said...

This garden groupie is very impressed with the amphitheater, with all of the Bulb. And nice to see the words "rip rap" get some use too.

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Wow! thats some very cool stuff! Im starting to experiment with junk to create things. I am finding it very fun! Great pics and thanks for the tour!

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I love that the bulk of the art is made of the detritus from the landfill. From what I've read, back in the 1950s, there was a Serious Plan to fill the entire San Francisco Bay with landfill trash. Can you imagine????

Your photos are lovely. I'm taken with the elephant stencil, but that's mostly for geeky technical reasons. Are the male sculptures coated in spiderwebs?

Did you notice all the hummingbirds at the Albany Bulb?

Carrie said...

Next time your in Albany visit Flowerland nursery too. I think you would LOVE it