Recently, a large-scale art piece from the infamous Burning Man Festival was installed in Golden Gate Park. The dessert festival is known for its impressive art installations, and JFK Promenade’s newest addition is no exception.
The massive red installation reads “NO DANCING” in bold red letters. For a city known to be free-spirited and have deep connections to counter-culture, a sign restricting dancing seems out of place, but the installation has a deeper message for viewers. The piece is titled Over Ruled, and it encourages viewers to flaunt the ridiculous declaration, encouraging joyful dancing beneath it. Looking Up Arts, a local nonprofit organization that specializes in large-scale installations, is behind the piece.
When first approaching the installation, you are unable to see the white lettering in the center of each letter. Upon closer inspection, the messages on each letter become clearer. Each letter describes a personal story of adversity and hardship. The messages feature heavy subjects of imprisonment, abuse, mental health, and more.
The piece explores how rules affect people, “particularly those receiving a disproportionate share of enforcement. Rebellious energy gives way to genuine contemplation of how rules shape our society.” according to Looking Up Art’s website. The Over Ruled is undeniably thought-provoking, encouraging a closer look at the red letters rather than just passing it as we do so many things.
The 12-foot tall letters are made of vibrant red fabric supported by large metal frames. Each letter stands 8 feet above the ground, making the piece highly visible from afar.
The intriguing piece is by lead artist Cody Smith, and it debuted at Burning Man 2023. The music festival is known for dancing and flaunting conventions, so the piece was fitting for the festival. Its new home on the JFK promenade is part of Illuminate SF’s Golden Mile project and will remain in the park until late 2024.
About Looking Up Arts
Looking Up Arts is an SF nonprofit dedicated to large-scale art installations. The organization was founded in 2018 and focuses on supporting artists to create and display large installations. Pieces have debuted all over the United States, often at festivals.
The installation is on JFK Drive, just past the Conservatory of Flowers. To learn more about the piece, visit Looking Up Arts website.