San Francisco

Pat Patterson

Norton residence, La Honda

Pat Patterson’s Giant Steps, 1978–80, nestles in a bowl-shaped hillside at the Norton residence in La Honda, 40 or 50 miles south of San Francisco. Just below the crest of a mountain ridge between the San Francisco Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, the architectural sculpture faces south, toward a panoramic view of the ocean. The site is breathtaking, and continuously in motion—winds at the top of the ridge sometimes reach a velocity of a hundred miles an hour. For an encore to spectacular sunsets, the valley below fills with cotton-candy puffs of fog. With the natural setting itself so completely overwhelming, it is rather an audacious act for an artist to place a sculpture here.

Since Patterson worked on the patrons’ nearby house, he had the time to become intimately familiar with the terrain. Decisions regarding the location, orientation, configuration, and materials of

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1983 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.