Site Visit: Oliver Ranch

 The starting point for the Oliver Ranch tour

The starting point for the Oliver Ranch tour

It’s no secret we love art, but what you may not know is that we especially love installation art. Earlier this year we had the privilege of visiting Oliver Ranch in Sonoma County, located about a 1.5 hour drive north of San Francisco (sans traffic).

Steve Oliver of the Oliver and Company construction firm and former president of the board at SFMOMA commissioned the first piece for his ranch in 1985. Since then, the stunning 100-acre property has seen 17 more installations built. Fun fact: Oliver Ranch was the first site-specific sculpture park of its kind preceding the more well-known Storm King Art Center in New York.

Now for a few of our favorite installations from the tour:

 Roger Berry’s  Darwin  made of corten steel, and a feat of engineering

Roger Berry’s Darwin made of corten steel, and a feat of engineering

 Terry Allen’s  humannature , a pair of delightful bronze sculptures

Terry Allen’s humannature, a pair of delightful bronze sculptures

 Robert Stackhouse’s  Russion River Bones  replicates the land below

Robert Stackhouse’s Russion River Bones replicates the land below

 Ann Hamilton’s cast concrete performance tower, our personal favorite

Ann Hamilton’s cast concrete performance tower, our personal favorite

We were lucky to have Mr. Oliver as our tour guide who shared the crazy stories and feats of engineering behind the art, including being investigated by the CIA! You can sign up for your own tour whose proceeds go directly to the non-profit organizations sponsoring the tour.

What are some of your favorite site-specific art installations? Share with us in the comments below!

All photography by Christine Lin.