Saturday, November 08, 2014

Public "art" as eyesore


If we didn't already know better, you might think that all this junk "art" debasing public space in the city is an elaborate put-on by conceptual artists: "Let's see how much crap the public will tolerate in the name of Art," like an updated version of The Magic Christian in the Terry Southern novel. Apparently people will tolerate large amounts of this pretentious stuff, not that the public has any say in the matter.

We learn from this morning's Chronicle that the Mark di Suvero junk---an Eyesore of the Week last year---that littered Crissy Field until earlier this year will be relocated to UCSF at Mission Bay---where it will be permanently installed!

The sculpture stands 50 feet and will be even taller on a rise of the grass quad outside the campus community center...The artist will oversee installation outside William J. Rutter Center in December, and it will be dedicated at a public ceremony during the first week of January. “Art and science are both very creative, and I have witnessed how the scientists respond to art,” said Jeanne Robertson, a director of the UCSF Foundation, who has been active along with her husband in development of the Mission Bay campus. Sanford Robertson, who goes by the nickname Sandy, was a founder of Robertson Stephens, the investment banking firm, and now works in private equity.

Surely Sandy and his philistine wife can find better things to do with all that money. Mark di Suvero must be disappointed that his won't be the biggest piece of crap in the neighborhood. Richard Serra's (below) is bigger!

“Dreamcatcher” took seven years to build and weighs 15 tons total. But it will not be the largest outdoor artwork at UCSF Mission Bay. That honor goes to Richard Serra’s “Ballast,” formed of two 70-ton steel plates that rise as tall as the buildings along Third Street and are angled just enough to skew the viewer’s outlook...The Serra piece was a commission from UCSF, as part of the construction budget. One percent of the overall construction cost has gone to public art...That program has now expired, and the di Suvero is the first major gift to the art collection at UCSF. “I’m hoping to inspire others to donate art,” Jeanne Robertson says. “I’m a great believer of art in public places."

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Another Bicycle Coalition employee boards MTA gravy train

Kate McCarthy

A message from the MTA:


You’re receiving this email because you have expressed interest about the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project.

I wanted to say hello, introduce myself, and give you some project updates. My name is Kate McCarthy, and I am the Public Information Officer for the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project. I’ll be letting you know about upcoming opportunities to get involved with the project and sending you regular updates. I am looking forward to meeting you!

We are excited to bring San Francisco its first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line along Van Ness Avenue from Mission Street to Lombard Street. Bus Rapid Transit will bring more efficient and reliable transit service to the 47-Van Ness and 49-Mission/Van Ness Muni routes, as well as Golden Gate Transit buses, by separating transit from other vehicles.

The enhancement of the Van Ness corridor will also improve pedestrian safety, and enhance the urban design of Van Ness Avenue...

None of that is true. The Van Ness BRT project instead will screw up traffic on that major north/south city street---and the streets in the surrounding neighborhoods---with most of the money coming from the state and the federal government.

I suppose anyone would be "excited" after being welcomed aboard City Hall's gravy train with a sinecure. McCarthy was previously awarded the anti-car movement's Susie Stephens Joyful Enthusiasm Award. Heigh ho!

McCarthy used to work for the SF Bicycle Coalition and is on the board of directors of the California Bicycle Coalition and Walk San Francisco, another anti-car group.

Muni boss and bike guy Ed Reiskin thinks working for the anti-car SF Bicycle Coalition qualifies people to work on the city's transportation system. Given her resume, McCarthy may be over-qualified to work at screwing up city traffic.

Other recent MTA hires from the Bicycle Coalition: here and here.

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