Lotus to be Civic Center Plaza’s next art piece 

click to enlarge "Breathing Flower" is expected to appear in the Civic Center Plaza on May 18. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • "Breathing Flower" is expected to appear in the Civic Center Plaza on May 18.

First it was a giant six-armed Buddha, then an illuminated dragon boat. Now, the Civic Center Plaza — fast becoming San Francisco’s prized venue for large-scale art — will showcase a 24-foot tall motorized red lotus flower.

Entitled “Breathing Flower,” the red lotus will have motorized bright-red fabric leaves that will open and close, a design that’s supposed to imitate the movement of the real thing. It will rest on a 12-square-foot base that’s 8 feet tall.

The sculpture, by Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa, is expected to appear in the plaza May 18 and remain until September. It is timed to coincide with the Asian Art Museum’s “Phantoms of Asia,” the institution’s first large-scale exhibition of contemporary art.

“The installation creates a link between the modern world and one of the most important cosmological symbols in Asia,” the museum said in a statement.

In May 2010, a 15-ton, three-headed, six-armed Buddha rising 26 feet was installed in the plaza and remained there until February 2011.

Last month, a smoke-breathing, 59-foot long and 23-foot tall dragon boat was on display for the Lunar New Year. It also was illuminated at night.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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