The Exploratorium is pleased to announce a newly commissioned work by experiential artist Jeppe Hein to debut October 18, 2013. Hein has designed six Long Modified Benches to animate the public promenade of the Embarcadero in front of Pier 17, part of the Exploratorium’s new campus. Hein’s site-specific work reminds us how social behavior is shaped by art and design, and vice versa.
Based in Denmark and Berlin, Hein reconfigures the standard-issue park bench to inspire new forms of social engagement and communication. Turning the benches into forms that suggest play structures, Hein radically alters how we interact with one another in public space.
“For me, the concept of sculpture is closely linked with communication,” says Hein. “I want to show that the work isn’t anything on its own, it is only what the public informs it with. The viewers’ role brings the piece to the center of attention.”
Literally and figuratively playing with ideas of reflection, identity, and predictability, Hein’s Modified Benches will offer passers-by a place for engagement and contemplation along one of San Francisco’s busy pedestrian walkways.
"The Exploratorium's new location along the vibrant civic promenade of the Embarcadero presents us with the great opportunity to present public art, Exploratorium-style," says Marina McDougall, Director of the museum’s Center for Art & Inquiry. "Hein's work is perfect for this site. His playful re-invention of the typical park bench invites us to imagine how social dynamics might be re-engineered in public spaces."
Over the last 44 years the Exploratorium has presented the work of hundreds of artists and cultivated a unique working environment for artists interested in cross-disciplinary investigations and hybrid approaches. On April 17, 2013, the museum opened its brand new location at Piers 15 and 17 on San Francisco’s waterfront. With three times more space than its previous location, including 1.5 acres of free, outdoor public exhibit space, the Exploratorium has a new opportunity to work with artists to create site-specific works that exist at the intersection of the natural world and the urban landscape.