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Beili Liu: Public Art Installations Featured in Austin Way, KQED Arts

THIRST Tree Tod Grubbs sm
Thirst, Lady Bird Lake, Austin 2013. Image: Tod Grubbs 

Beili Liu (MFA 2003) is featured in the August 14 edition of Austin Way. In the interview, Liu discusses her life, practice, and public art installations, including Thirst, a haunting memorial to the 300 million trees lost to the devastating Texas drought in 2011.

After almost two years, it’s an image that many Austinites vividly remember: a ghostly white tree hovering mournfully over Lady Bird Lake. It appeared at once to have risen from the water and drifted down from the heavens — a haunting memorial to the 300 million trees lost to the devastating Texas drought in 2011. Austinites were stilled by the sight of the painted elm that hung suspended over the water for three months in the fall of 2013.

Beili Liu on Her Hauntingly Beautiful Thirst’ Project & What’s Next | Austin Way

Liu’s most recent public art project, Sky Bridge, transforms the Portsmouth Square pedestrian bridge in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Unveiled in early August, Sky Bridge was recently featured on KQED Arts.

Sky Bridge, the Austin-based artist’s second project for the CCC, is made of 50,000 brick-sized pieces of mirrored Mylar, each carefully glued to the bridge’s existing brick walkway and banked walls. Simple but transformative, Liu’s installation makes the mundane magical. On sunny days, the CCC recommends sunglasses. On overcast days, the Mylar shines silver, gray and blue, resembling a watery surface over Chinatown’s busy thoroughfare.

Liu’s Dazzling Sky Bridge’ Transforms Chinatown Pedestrian Bridge | KQED