Save the date


Valediction is a new series of works on paper by Amanda Hughen and Jennifer Starkweather that focuses on the soon-to-be demolished East Span of the Bay Bridge.
As the new bridge nears completion, the original East Span, which has been a part of the daily landscape of hundreds of thousands of commuters, will soon exist only in our collective memory. In Valediction, the artists explore this idea, as well as the past and future of the East Span, including its construction 75 years ago as a railroad bridge, the 1989 earthquake damage that predestined its eventual replacement, and its future as an abandoned structure on the Bay as it is dismantled over the next few years.

September 6 – October 19, 2013
Opening reception: Friday, September 6, 6-8 PM


“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” As we donned special gear- goggles, hard hats and bright orange vests Thoreau’s famous admonition came to mind. Unless one is getting dressed for a boat trip tour to the construction site of the Bay Bridge!

Thanks to Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen a group of art and bridge appreciators were given an up-close look at the monumental bridge project.

One signature element that will transform the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge into a new global icon is the Self-Anchored Suspension Span (SAS). The SAS will be the largest bridge of its kind anywhere in world (2,047 feet). The main cable is approx 1 mile long and made up of 17,399 steel wire strands and weighs 10.6 million pounds (5,291 tons). Yes, 10.6 million pounds. How did they ever weigh that?

The Bay Bridge website is filled with historic videos, digital animations showing construction details and a web cam so that you can view the bridge as it is being constructed.

Until November 23, in the gallery you can see how Hughen/Starkweather so beautifully express the grand sweep of the suspension and the lyrical strength of the bridge. Prints are available in editions.

Reyhan Harmanci reports about the boat trip in Even Unfinished, the New Bay Bridge Inspires Artists for The New York Times and The Bay Citizen.

Approach, Transition, Touchdown

Reception: Friday, October 21, 6–8 pm
Exhibition Dates Oct. 21—Nov. 23, 2011

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the opening of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Electric Works is pleased to announce Approach, Transition, Touchdown: The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Project by Hughen/Starkweather.

Hughen/Starkweather create collaborative artworks that explore the layers, complexities and patterns that comprise a specific place using both current and historic information — photographs, maps and data — to research a location. The resulting artworks map unique forms and patterns derived from built systems and natural movements of a place.

Approach, Transition, Touchdown is a new series of prints and drawings focusing on the historic and current construction of the Bay Bridge. Over the course of two years, the artists were given access to architectural and engineering drawings, maps and diagrams, photographs of ongoing construction, as well as on-site visits by boat and on foot during various phases of construction. (Particularly notable was a vertiginous trip via steel construction elevator to the scaffolding at the top of the new tower.) They met with engineers, architects and designers involved with the project who explained the immense complexities and intricacies of the design and construction.

This November marks the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936. At the time, many believed it would be impossible to build the bridge because of high winds, muddy depths, strong waters and varying soils. There had been discussion of building a bridge between San Francisco and Oakland since the 1870s, but the process was delayed due to many factors. Once completed in 1936, it was the longest bridge in the world.

Fast forward to 1989, when the Loma Prieta earthquake collapsed a section of the east span and initiated seismic upgrades and eventually an entirely new design for the east span. The project has passed through four governors, political hurdles and extensive design reviews. When the new bridge opens in 2013, it will be the most complex engineering feat in the history of California. The new structure, which begins at the Yerba Buena Island, will be the largest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world, with a single tower rising 525 feet into the air and transitioning to a graceful skyway that touches down in Oakland. Whereas the current bridge is double-decked, the replacement will feature side-by-side decks and a 15.5-foot-wide bicycle and pedestrian path running along the eastbound deck.

Saturday, November 12 is the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Bay Bridge in 1936. Join us on that day from 3–5 pm to celebrate the anniversary with a glass of champagne and an artists’ walkthrough of the show.