Nayland W. Blake (1996)
Permanent (Civic Art Collection)
Civic Center: San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St. (View Map)


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.