Hank Willis Thomas (2017)


Yerba Buena: 165 Jessie Street (view map)

Glowing 6-foot-6-inch letters spell out LOVE OVER RULES on the exterior wall of the Salma Family Building in the heart of the Yerba Buena neighborhood. Situated in an alley off Mission Street, the light sculpture is the first permanent public artwork in the United States by New York-based artist Hank Willis Thomas. A tribute to the artist’s cousin, murdered in 2000, the blinking white neon installation shares his cousin’s last recorded message to Thomas. Each word gets a line, encouraging different reads: is it “LOVE OVER RULES” or “LOVE OVERRULES?” Thomas, who graduated from the California College of the Arts’ MFA program in 2004, has deep ties to the city and local culture. The large-scale light art work is Sites Unseen's third public art project.

Best Viewing: Adjacent to the California Historical Society, stand near the Annie Street sign on Mission Street (facing north towards Jessie Street) and look UP!

Caption/credit: Photograph by Mariah Tiffany, Courtesy of Sites Unseen

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.