Andy Goldsworthy's Tree Fall

Categories Art

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Many visitors walk past the diminutive building with the red-til​e roof just southeast of the Main Parade Ground without realizing what it is – or what treasure it contains. This petite structure is actually the historic "Powder Magazine," constructed by the Army during the Civil War to house gun powder and munitions in its protective, four-foot-thick stone walls. Today, it is home to renowned artist Andy Goldswo​rthy's third Presidio installation – and the first that he created indoors.

Tree Fall expands upon Goldsworthy's study of the historic Presidio forest, planted by Army soldiers in the late 1800s and now being actively rejuvenated. While his earlier works, Spire and ​ Wood Line , are surprise discoveries along the Presidio's trails, this installation invites viewers to come inside and to contemplate the relationship between what is "natural" and what is "built."​​

Goldsworthy is known for creating art using materials right from the site. To make Tree Fall, he utilized a eucalyptus tree trunk removed as part of the Presidio Tunnel Tops Project​ and clay, also from the Presidio. The clay was mixed with human hair donated from a salon in the Haight and, with the help of 40 volunteers, applied to the trunk and ceiling to ensure color consistency as the clay dried and cracked into a beautiful, organic pattern.

​When a visitor enters the chamber, illuminated only with natural light, Tree Fall takes shape as one's eyes adjust. Since it was first created in 2013, more than 10,000 people have been awed by this rethinking of inside/outside.

Goldsworthy's four Presidio pieces – Spire , Wood Line , Tree Fall, and Earth Wall – can be visited individually or explored together via a three-mile hiking loop. View the map in the Goldsworthy in the Presidio brochure. Guided art hikes are held regularly – check the Events calendar.

View videos about Andy Goldsworthy's Art in the Presidio >>