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Peter Richards with George Gonzales, Wave Organ

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About the Artist/Site

Hidden at the tail end of land that encloses the St. Francis Yacht Club in the Marina District of San Francisco is an acoustic sculpture called the Wave Organ.  It was designed in 1986 by artist Peter Richards in collaboration with sculptor and stone mason George Gonzales.  Richards and Gonzales started the project as part of an experimental music festival and later received funding from the Exploratorium museum to make the installation a permanent fixture in the San Francisco Bay. 

Made from nineteenth-century tombstones of marble and granite that were gathered from the ruins of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in the Lone Mountain area of San Francisco, the mysterious ashen structure sits nearly camouflaged by the ever-present fog that reclines on its seats.  Pipes made of PVC and concrete dig deep into the bay and emerge like periscopes from some primordial underwater race spying on the world above. Multi-tiered and of different diameters, the pipes are cut to varying lengths to produce different pitches, as the tides crisscross in and out of the bay.

The best time to visit this site is at high tide.  Once at the St. Francis Yacht Club, follow the jetty that forms the small boat harbor until the very end. The Wave Organ is located a few steps down below.

~Irene Rible



Map and site information

Not Exact Address
San Francisco, California, United States
Latitude/Longitude: 37.77493 / -122.419416

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