Nayland W. Blake (1996)

Permanent (Civic Art Collection)

Civic Center: San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St. (view map)

Constellation is inspired by the Beaux Arts tradition, with origins in the Bibliothèque Saint-Genevieve in Paris (a model for San Francisco’s former Main Library), on which authors' names were inscribed on the facade according to the location of their works inside. Artist Nayland Blake revisits this idea with an index of authors’ names etched into mirrored glass shades and individually installed with fiber optic lighting to create the illusion of floating stars.

This impressive artwork is 54' high and weighs 5.5 tons. To select the first 160 names, the artist formed a guidance committee of local scholars and community members to develop a list of recommendations. The wall is designed to hold more names as patrons endow the shades and lights.

Best Viewing: Accessible during hours of operation. Stand inside the San Francisco Main Library and look up to notice the lengthy vertical panel on the right behind the stairs. Walk up to view the inscriptions on the glass panels, or take the elevator up and then walk down.

Presenting Sponsor

5M is a new, vibrant mixed-use destination in the heart of San Francisco located at the intersection of 5th and Mission streets. Developed by Brookfield Properties, named “Developer of the Year” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2021, the four-acre parcel was previously home to parking lots and underutilized buildings. Now, it has been transformed into a lively community for locals and visitors alike.