We walkers have all been spooked by a creepy underpass. What (or who?) lurks in the shadows? On the San Antonio Riverwalk, that ominous feeling of dread has been banished by art. The undercrofts of our bridges are beautiful and safe
Let’s start with the FISH, Philadelphia artist Donald Lipski’s school of giant fish swimming through the sky beneath the I-35 interstate overpass at Camden Street. The cluster of 25 seven-foot-long creatures of hand-painted fiberglass resin are anatomically correct models of long-eared sunfish, native to the river. Lit from within at night, the glowing fish are a beacon from blocks away, adding color and humor to a once neglected downtown area. The building in the background is the San Antonio Museum of Art, which has free admission from 10:00am until noon on Sundays, which is when the walk will take you past it.
29° 25′ 57″ N / 98° 29′ 13″ W, and its companion piece, 29° 26′ 00″ N / 98° 29′ 07″ W, are by San Antonio artist Stuart Allen and were installed in 2009. What you are seeing are 40’x45′ suspended, stainless steel panels – each enclosing five layers of woven, architectural mesh. The three inner layers of mesh are treated with a powder-coated color. As visitors move by the installations on foot, bicycle or riverboat, the panels change color due to the viewer’s shifting perspective. The project’s 24-color palette was selected from photographs taken along the San Antonio River. See them at the underpasses at McCullough and Brooklyn Streets.
The Lexington Avenue Bridge is considered the entry/exit portal to the Museum reach leg of the Riverwalk and it is marked by British artist Martin Richman’s Shimmer Field, a series of colored, dichroic plastic rectangles suspended under the bridge. They move in the breeze, and the lights that shine on them is reflected into the shimmering water underneath the bridge. Unfortunately, the art suffered wind damage and was removed in November, 2016 for repairs. We hope it’s fixed and back in place in time for our walk!
Under the Jones Avenue Bridge you will encounter the “sound sculpture,” Sonic Passage. As San Francisco artist Bill Fontana explains, the only visual images are the ones that you put there yourself: bird calls, crickets, croaking bullfrogs, buzzing insects, rushing water . . . . just watch the video!