St. Francis of the Guns

50 phelan ave
san francisco
CA 94112

St. Francis of the Guns

Art Spot

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Beniamino Bufano
1969
bronze, gunmetal, mosaic tile
8'9" x 5'9" x 19.5"

Following the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Mayor Joseph Alioto initiated a voluntary turn-in drive that yielded 2000 handguns. He then commissioned Bufano to use the gunmetal in his sculpture, which he forged in Italy, adding bronze to the gunmetal to keep it from corroding in the city’s foggy weather. A mosaic inlay depicts John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Lincoln, all victims of assassination by handguns, above a multi-racial children’s chorus. The sculpture was dedicated by Mayor George Moscone who was himself assassinated by a handgun eighteen months later. It is on permanent loan from the SFAC. Born in Italy, Bufano taught at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute. Bufano’s public sculptures in the Bay Area include: Madonna at Fort Mason, St. Francis at Grace Cathedral, and Peace on Brotherhood Way near Lake Merced.

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