San Francisco’s notoriously sky-high rents have made headlines in recent months, and the avant-garde mecca of yore is rapidly becoming a poster child for gentrification and income inequality. A testament to the city’s rapid transformation and out-with-the-old mentality, Brian Goggin’s site-specific installation “Defenestration” will be taken down from Hugo Hotel on June 3 to make way for the building’s demolition this fall. Seventeen years of display time is much longer than the artist expected when he created the piece with the help of 100 volunteers in 1997. The installation became a beloved landmark for San Francisco residents and many donors, including Banksy, have contributed to preserve the work.
Defined as the act of throwing out of a window, “Defenestration” is composed of seemingly-mundane pieces of furniture that appear to be breaking free from their captors’ apartments and jumping down into the street. Goggin fashioned the tables’ and chairs’ legs to create the illusion of running and leaping — a subtle gesture that adds humor to the piece. He created the original piece with materials salvaged from the local area and has spent the past 17 years maintaining and rebuilding it due to the wear-and-tear caused by weather conditions. San Francisco readers have until June 3 to view the piece at the Hugo Hotel on 6th and Howard in SOMA. The furniture pieces will be available through Varnish Fine Art after the work is removed. Though it won’t be viewable to the public anymore, the piece had a good run and it’s comforting to know that it will live on in its next chapter.