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Massive Statue Being Raised In San Francisco's SoMa Reaches Milestone

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A new piece of public art is being raised over San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood that will tower over all existing artworks in the city, according to its creator.

Outside the new Trinity  Place apartment complex being constructed at 8th and Market streets, there is a small sign that challenges people to "make art that matters."

On Tuesday, the builders took up that challenge.

"It's Venus, which is a modern interpretation of Venus de Milo," said Walter Schmidt, CEO for Trinity Properties.

Behind an imposing thicket of scaffolding stands a nine-story high statue in gleaming, polished stainless steel.

The concept of the Venus statue is ancient art meeting modern technology. Weighing more than 50 tons, Venus was shipped to America in 70 pieces by a team of Chinese artisans.

"I don't think many people have done gigantic art like this, said senior project manager Mike Nebozuk. It's very unique."

Tuesday afternoon, the single largest piece-Venus's shoulders-was hoisted by crane to the top of the structure.

The hollow statue is actually larger on top. But at the bottom, the lower 20 feet has been filled with concrete and the whole thing is anchored six stories down in the parking garage.

The creator, Denver artist Lawrence Argent, said there were times when even he had his doubts it would work.

"We had an engineer on board and I said, 'Can we make this? Is this actually possible to make this, this size?'" Said Argent. "'We can do anything, Lawrence.' I went, 'That's what I like!"

Once she gets her head on her shoulders, Venus will be the largest piece of public artwork in San Francisco; almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty.

"You, know, I have to say, it IS impressive to see," said Argent. "It's enormous and it's…majestic."

And perhaps most important, it's public. When the entire complex is finished sometime in 2018, the plaza will be opened to people off the street.  Then, anyone can view a work of art that -- by its very size -- will matter.


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