Announcement of Bonnie’s Passing

The Board of Directors of Life Frames Inc. is sad to announce that Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder and Director of Life Frames, Inc. and A Living Library, has died. Her life and work were acknowledged in a November 19, 2021 obituary in the New York Times. Our love goes out to her sisters Abby Kellner-Rode and Rachel Binah and her niece and nephews, Maija Kellner-Rode, David Kellner-Rode and Matthew Rode.  A Celebration of Life, open to the public, is planned for March 20, 2022, at the San Francisco Art Institute, 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA, 94133. More details will be forthcoming by mid-January on the A.L.L. website.

Bonnie Ora Sherk: 1945 – 2021

Bonnie Ora Sherk, 76, of San Francisco, CA, died on August 8, 2021. Daughter of Eleanor and Sydney Kellner, she was born on May 18, 1945, in New Bedford, MA and raised in Montclair, NJ. She received a B.A. in Art from Rutgers University’s Douglass College, an M.A. in Environmental Sculpture from San Francisco State University, and certifications in Landscape Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts in Kameoka, Japan. She lived in San Francisco, New York City and Lake Gerard, NJ.

Bonnie was a brilliant, pioneering visionary, internationally acclaimed American artist with a career spanning over 50 years. She was a landscape architect, environmental educator and founder of Crossroads Community, San Francisco, (1974-1980). Known as The Farm, it was situated under a freeway interchange in the Mission District. In 1981 Sherk founded and directed A Living Library – Life Frames, Inc. with locations on Roosevelt Island, NYC (2001-present), and in San Francisco at the Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park Nature Walk (2002-present) and OMI/Excelsior Living Library & Think Park (1998-present).  A.L.L. brings community members and youth together to restore native habitats, create educational gardens, plant thousands of trees, and daylighting San Francisco’s Islais Creek watershed. The theme that ran through all her work is the interdependent relationships between humans, animals and nature. Well-known for her performance work in the early 1970s, one of her most iconic was Public Lunch, where Sherk, elegantly clad in black velvet and leather boots, consumed a meal while caged in the San Francisco Zoo’s Lion House, with tigers and lions in adjacent cages being fed simultaneously. She created temporary “Portable Parks”, bringing animals, grass and palm trees to sites around freeway interchanges and other urban settings.

Her work and lectures were featured in exhibits throughout the US, Europe, Asia and elsewhere including the Venice Biennale 2017 and the Liverpool Biennial 2021, in United Nations and Smithsonian publications, and in many art books and magazines.

Bonnie is survived by her two sisters, Rachel Binah of Little River, CA and Abby Kellner-Rode of Bend, OR, niece and nephews, Maija Kellner-Rode, David Kellner-Rode and Matthew Rode.  A Celebration of Life is planned for March 20, 2022, in San Francisco.

A team has coalesced to continue her work. For more information please contact Robert Croonquist,

Her life was acknowledged with an obituary in the New York Times on November 19, 2921 and in the Roosevelt Islander and Ecoartspace.

© 2024 Life Frames, Inc. & A Living Library

A Living Library, Life Frame, Think Park, & A.L.L. are registered trademarks

Follow us Facebook Twiter Instagram Flickr YouTube RSS