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Revitalizing a 10-story San Francisco landmark.

Revitalizing a 10-story San Francisco landmark

Fool-the-eye murals, a central sculpture court open to the sky, and three art galleries have revitalized a San Francisco landmark: the 10-story Monadnock Building at 685 Market Street, next door to the Sheraton Palace Hotel. Embellishments have turned a venerable office building into a magnet for architectural history buffs and art lovers alike, making the building the latest example of renewed vitality along this section of Market.

The refurbished 1907 facade remains a sedate essay in the commercial classicism of its era, but once you enter the lobby the pace is presto, and the imagery operatic. Trompe-l'oeil murals by artists Mark Evans and Charley Brown cover a new barrel vault, turning the entire space into the loggia of some extravagant palazzo where a party is in progress. Peering down over a balcony, the Renaissance-costumed guests featured in the murals include such prominent Bay Area figures as John Muir, Isadora Duncan, and Bernard Maybeck.

At the center of the building, the open-air sculpture court rises to the full height of the structure. The muralists have been at work here, too, adding pediments over the windows, an occasional pigeon, and a monumental scallop-shell cornice at the top story. Real water splashes from two bronze lions' heads under a trellis at one end of the court. The dominant sculpture is a bronze architectural work by Herk Van Tongeren combining column, obelisk, and sphere on a stairstepped base.

Art lovers should enjoy the galleries on the second floor. While prices for works may be prohibitive for many viewers, visitors interested in the museum-quality works are welcome to browse.

American Indian Contemporary Arts: 10 to 5:30 Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 5:30 Saturdays. A small gift shop has just been expanded, offering American Indian crafts from silver and turquoise jewelry to pottery and Navajo blankets. The gallery will be showing paper constructions by Joy Dai Buell and Tanis Hinsley through October 17, then recent mixed media pieces by Joe Feddersen from October 20 through November 28.

John Berggruen Gallery: 10:30 to 5:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays. This is the sculpture annex of a major downtown gallery dealing in established contemporary artists. Work by New York sculptor Joel Shapiro will be on view from September 30 through November 28.

Modernism: Art of the 20th Century: 10 to 5:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays. Paintings, sculptures, and prints by well-known California artists are often shown here. The gallery presents new paintings by Sam Tchakalian through October 17, work by painters Frederick Hammersley and Arsen Roge from October 23 through November.

Photo: Fanciful trompe-l'oeil mural in lobby places historic local figures (that's bearded Bernard Maybeck in the center) on baroque balcony

Photo: Stately street facade (below left) of Monadnock Building gives no hint of soaring, open-air sculpture court inside. Trellis arch echoes curved pediments over interior windows

Photo: Navajo rugs lure customer toward rack at craft shop in the American Indian Contemporary Arts gallery
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Monadnock Building
Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1987
Words:494
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