Superstruct: New Work by Eric Hongisto

March 6 – May 21, 2017

Superstruct, a new body of work by University of San Francisco Associate Professor Eric Hongisto, explores DIY sculptural forms inspired by the art of skateboarding. Incorporating mathematical patterns and curves and painted with repetitive stripes using minimal color theory, these sculptures are influenced by marks found in nature that may incite danger and risk, such as animal camouflage.

Built as furniture-like objects, Hongisto’s ramps are presented as non-functional, architectural abstractions. Some of the works are site specific, placed to allow viewers the mental image of skateboarding off of the Kalmanovitz Hall roof, and to emphasize the peril involved in the simple act of being on a terrace.

Titles of specific objects in this exhibition are taken from funerary and hunting practices — Sky Burial, Buffalo Jump, Pit of Bones — further identifying connections between aesthetics, action sports, hunter gatherer lifestyles, and the risk of death.

About the Artist


Eric Hongisto

Eric Hongisto is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Fine Arts in the University of San Francisco’s Department of Art + Architecture, and has previously taught at the University of Delaware and Montana State University-Bozeman. He received his MFA in Painting/Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art, 1999, and his BFA in Painting from the Maine College of Art, 1997. Recent exhibitions of his work have been shown at the deCordova Museum, Museum of the Rockies, Queens Museum, Bates Museum of Art, Drawing Center, and the Boston Center of the Arts.

Rooftop Sculpture Terrace History

Rooftop sculpture terrace

From 2000-2003, the Thacher Gallery sponsored an annual outdoor exhibition and now continues this tradition with biannual exhibitions on the Kalmanovitz Hall rooftop sculpture terrace. It opened in the Fall of 2008 with "The Puma at the End of Fulton Street: San Francisco Sculptor Arthur Putnam" featuring five figurative bronzes from the de Young Museum's collection.

When visiting the sculpture terrace, be sure to view the two historic portals located in Kalmanovitz Hall. The Romanesque Portal located in the Lou and Suzanne Giraulo Atrium dates to around 1175-1200. It came from Northern Italy, and shows Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge. A gift of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the portal was raised through a generous gift of Diane Wilsey in honor of her late husband Alfred Wilsey.

The Santa Maria de Ovila Portal (ca. 1575) in the outdoor amphitheater between Kalmanovitz and Cowell Halls comes from a monastery approximately 90 miles northwest of Madrid, Spain. It features fine renaissance carvings of Saint Catherine and Saint Mary Magdalene, and God the Father. Brought to the United States by William Randolph Hearst, it stood for many years in the former de Young Museum building in Golden Gate Park, and was given to USF by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. It serves as the backdrop of the Ovila Amphitheater, a vibrant new performance space at the center of the USF campus.


During the academic year, the sculpture terrace is open to the public weekdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Appointments are recommended.