Heart Happy (cathy_edgett) wrote,
Heart Happy

Mobiles -

On Thursday,  I went to the De Young museum and saw a wonderful art piece called Anti-Mass.  It was completed in 2005 and is by artist Cornelia Parker.  She took pieces of the charred remains of a Southern Black Baptist Church that was destroyed by arson, and hung them from wire.  The shape is of a square and represents the “elemental substance of the universe and the sacramental ritual at the center of the Christian faith.”  The pieces floating there appear to defy gravity, and yet there is substance in the wholeness of the work.  It shows creativity emerging from violence and destruction and we feel the presence of the church and those who worshipped there. 


I went to a Baccalaureate mass at St. Mary’s for the graduating class of St. Ignatius high school.  I had never been in St. Mary’s though I was well-aware of its nickname tag of the Maytag washer.  It is beautiful inside, and you look high, high, up to a stained glass cross on the roof and stained glass coming down the sides, representing earth, air, water, and fire.  Sparkling in the air are a phalanx of crystals representing the holy spirit.  I have two sculptures now to consider, mobiles hanging in air.


from wikipedia -


The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, known familiarly as St. Mary's Cathedral, in San Francisco has become a landmark that annually draws thousands of people to this sacred structure, which combines the rich traditions of the Catholic faith with modern technology.

The cathedral's striking design flows from the geometric principle of the hyperbolic paraboloid, in which the structure curves upward in graceful lines from the four comers meeting in a cross. Measuring 255 feet square, the cathedral soars to 190 feet high and is crowned with a 55 foot golden cross.

Four corner pylons, each one designed to withstand ten million pounds of pressure, support the cupola, which rises 19 stories above the floor. The pylons measure just 24 inches in circumference at their narrowest point and extend 90 feet down into bedrock. The inner surface of the cupola is made up of 1500 pre-cast triangular coffers of 128 different sizes, designed to distribute the weight of the cupola. At each comer of the cathedral, vast windows look out upon spectacular views of San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis of Assisi. The cathedral's red brick floor recalls early Mission architecture, and the rich heritage of the local church.

Above the altar is a kinetic sculpture by Richard Lippold. Alive with reflected light, the 14 tiers of triangular aluminum rods symbolize the channel of love and grace from God to His people, and their prayers and praise rising to him. The sculpture, suspended by gold wires, is 15 stories high and weighs one ton.

The existing St. Mary's Cathedral is the third such church that has served the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Old St. Mary's, built in 1854, is located on California Street at Grant Avenue. A second St. Mary's Cathedral was built on Van Ness Avenue in 1891, but this structure was destroyed by fire in 1962.

Immediately following that disastrous fire, Archbishop Joseph McGucken gathered his consultors to begin the process of planning and constructing a new cathedral. The Archbishop commissioned three well known local architects for the project - Angus McSweeney, Paul A. Ryan and John Michael Lee - who began submitting preliminary sketches for the new cathedral which ranged from traditional Romanesque to California mission style.

Plans soon took a dramatic turn as a result of a controversy ignited by an article written by architectural critic Allen Temko, who advocated a move beyond traditional architectural concepts to create a bold, new cathedral that would reflect San Francisco's status as a major international urban center. To build a cathedral which would reflect the soul of San Francisco, Archbishop McGucken added two internationally known architects to his team, Italian-born Pietro Belluschi, Dean of the School of Architecture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was placed in charge of designs, and Pier-Luigi Nervi, an engineering genius from Rome, who took over structural concerns.

As plans for the new cathedral progressed, Archbishop McGucken was participating in the proceedings of the Second Vatican Council in Rome. The Council provided another impetus to the call for innovative design. The design for the new cathedral had to reflect San Francisco's greatness, and also had to incorporate the new liturgical directives promulgated by the Council.

The contours of the new cathedral became clear through a series of press conferences held in 1964. The strikingly modern design which was presented (and with which we are familiar today) was met with high praise. Archbishop McGucken's architectural team had clearly designed a cathedral equal to San Francisco's greatness, and which, according to Mr. Nervi, was "The first cathedral truly of our time and in harmony with the liturgical reforms of the Council."

Ground was broken in August 1965 and Apostolic Delegate Luigi Raimondi blessed the cornerstone on December 13, 1967. The building was completed in 1970. The new cathedral was formally blessed on May 5,197 1, again with Cardinal Raimondi presiding, and ceremonies completing its dedication took place on October 5, 1996 with Archbishop William J. Levada presiding.



The rising triangles reminded me of a waffle ice cream cone,  held upside down.  I felt like we, the people, were the ice cream, licked by God.  




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