Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River

I almost included this in my post about the Richard Serra sculpture at the Stanford museum, but it seemed like it should get its own post. It’s Stone River, one of several Andy Goldsworthy pieces in the Bay Area. The others are Drawn Stone at the De Young museum and Spire in the Presidio. This one is my favorite of the three. I love the snakelike form and the stylized coping stones. Vertical coping stones along the top of a wall are common, especially in Europe, but I’ve never seen them quite like this. It’s all built from rubble the university saved after the earthquakes of 1989 and 1906, 128 tons of stone, 320 feet long.

The whole thing is set into the ground with the top of the wall at grade. Because the color of the stone and the dirt match so closely, it sort of feels like someone took a big scoop of dirt and compressed it into the stone for the wall. I like to see how far I can get walking along the top (not very far).


7 Responses to “Andy Goldsworthy’s Stone River”

  1. February 13th, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Scott says:

    I think I saw a photo of that somewhere else once, but there was no description…now I finally know what it is! Thanks!

  2. February 14th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Town Mouse says:

    I saw this only recently, it’s so unobtrusive and un-famous. I mean, everyone flocks around the Rodin, but this little snake is usually abandoned. Which is really part of its charm!

  3. February 15th, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    jack says:

    Like this stone river. Gives me an idea for here along the shore of Lake Michigan. Thanks for the inspiration. jack

  4. February 15th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    ryan says:

    Scott, your comment goes nicely with Town Mouse’s, this Goldsworthy piece is low-key and a bit under the radar. It’s really cool though.

    Town Mouse, you’re right, there were about five or ten times as many people at the Rodin collection. And I totally agree, that the low-key, off-in-the-oaks vibe of it is part of the charm.

    Jack, I dont know if I deserve credit for the inspiration, but you’re welcome anyways. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but Goldsworthy has a similar snakelike wall at Storm King in New York that actually goes into the water, might also be inspiration for the shore of Lake Michigan or just cool to check out.

  5. February 15th, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    James says:

    The detail that this is rubble from the quake really adds an interesting dimension you don’t see in most of his work. This piece is as celebratory of materials as the other works, but the fact that the materials came about through natural catastrophe gives it more edge.

  6. February 16th, 2012 at 12:16 am

    ryan says:

    James, I agree, definitely the coolest detail. I give the university some credit for keeping all of the rubble and for letting him have some of it.

  7. February 18th, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Country Mouse says:

    So glad to see this – one of my favorites. A friend had to come all the way from England to show it to me – I didn’t know about it till then. Thanks for the neat photos of this piece. I also saw spires at the presidio, when it was still under construction – haveta go back and see it again sometime. I don’t think the drawn stone at the De Young sank in when I saw it. tut-tut – I should be paying better attention!

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