Posts Tagged ‘art’

Black rectangle to be removed from Moscone West

September 26th, 2014

"Facsimile" at Moscone West

Since it opening day Moscone West at 4th and Howard has been adorned by a large black rectangle on the side of the building. Careful observers might notice that this rectangle is attached to a somewhat rusty track that goes around the entire building. Soon, this rectangle will be removed.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

When the building was first proposed in the early 2000s art firm Diller and Scofidio (now Diller Scofidio + Renfro) was hired to develop a public art element. And design they did. Their piece is called Facsimile. It was intended to show images of inside the conference center intermixed with playful videos of life in the surrounding hotels, while the screen moved back and forth across the track. While it’s certainly an interesting design, that design never quite translated to the real world.

Despite spending hours scouring the internet for evidence of the piece working as intended, I was only able to find conceptual renderings of what the piece was intended to look like. In practice, on the rare occasions it was switched on the screen didn’t move and only displayed occasional flashes of light.

SF Arts Commission voted to remove Facsimile on September 8th partly due to ongoing maintenance costs associated with preserving the non-functioning art. But if the Bay Area can’t get a piece of technology to work, it’s probably broken beyond repair.

UPDATE: Walked by Moscone West the other day, and it appears they finally got around to removing the black rectangle.

Newspaper box recieves rad makeover

August 29th, 2014


The above photo is a newspaper box at the 16th Mission BART plaza, which recently received a makeover. Who needs a boring black box when it can have a painting of what appears to be a girl on Mars pulling constellations out of the sky? More newspaper boxes should be this rad.

(Note: If you know who painted this, please do get in touch so I can update with proper credit.)

Perplexing wood box installed on utility pole

April 1st, 2014

Wood box thing

Sometimes in life there’s questions that don’t seem to have concrete answers, like who shot JFK or the career of Shia LaBeouf. Today another such question popped into existence in the form of a perplexing wood box installed on a utility pole at 16th and Guerrero. It’s the kind of thing one wouldn’t notice easily, like a slightly misplaced item you only catch out of the corner of your eye.

Some of the questions I’ve been able to come up with:

  • Who made this?
  • Why?
  • Is it art?
  • Why wood?
  • What does the pattern mean?
  • Why on this pole, of all places?
  • WTF?

If any answers are provided I’ll post updates. Until then, I’ll be scratching my head.


January 17th, 2013


“YOU ROCK” proclaims a cardboard sign at 15th and Minna.

But that’s not any old piece of cardboard, no sir. It’s an album cover from a record; the soundtrack to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrenece, composed and performed by Yellow Magic Orchestra keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto.

I mean, like, duh.

The URL on the bottom of the sign takes you to, a blog about a project to spread positive messages to the world in an endless variety of mediums and formats.

The piece I found is part of a series documented in this blog post. Looks like there’s a few others around the neighborhood I have yet to locate.

If I find any more of this series I’ll update this post with locations.

UPDATE Jan 17: This one featuring The Best of Édith Piaf is on Capp and 16th on the fence outside the Walgreens parking lot.

Trapped in a Box ($50)

May 10th, 2012

Trapped in a box

Is it an art installation? A light switch box? Or perhaps it’s a satirical jab at Marcel Duchamp?

Regardless, that seems a bit pricey for a light switch. Particularly a used one.

Spotted at Pauline’s Pizza.

My paper airplane

May 2nd, 2012

Paper airplane

If you attended Obscura Day 2012 in San Francisco, you may have seen my paper airplane. What was it doing there?

It’s a long story, but here’s the short version.

The Elsewhere Philatelic Society (a bunch of odd stamp collectors, it’s a long story) at some point asked everyone to send “talismans.” These objects had to be sent through the mail bare — without box packaging of any kind.

I immediately recalled a book I read as a child: Kid’s Shenanigans from Klutz Books. In the book, they mention that you can send any object through the mail as long as it wouldn’t come apart or endanger anyone. They cite a shoe (sans shoelaces) as something that could be safely mailed.

Around that same time, Origami had become a fad, and by extension paper airplanes. I’d gotten pretty good at folding paper, and after reading the Klutz book I’d started to wonder what would happen if I sent a paper airplane through the mail.

To me it seemed like the basic paper airplane was the best shape for mailing purposes. You could tape it in only one spot and it could not come unfolded. Unfastened folded paper, I posited, had the risk of unfolding during the mailing process and stood the risk of damage or being delivered back to the return address.

For a while, I wondered what would happen if I mailed a paper airplane to a friend. But everyone I knew as a kid had the same dude as their postal carrier. I worried that if I sent a paper airplane, the cool gray haired guy who delivered our mail would just carry my paper airplane directly, skipping USPS. I felt like that was cheating, and I still feel like I was justified. A system is more than the sum of it’s parts and I aimed to test the policies of USPS as a whole rather than the generosity of a single employee.

After a while I forgot about the experiment. Other things came up in my life, like girls, college, etc. But then one day it all came back to me: I had to send a talisman to the Elsewhere Philatelic Society. From their ad, it seemed like they’d notify me in some way if I sent something in. Exactly what I’d wanted! So, why not? I made a paper airplane and sent it on its way.

For a while it seemed like nothing had happened. I worried my poor little airplane had gotten destroyed by USPS’ industrial equipment somewhere along the way.

Then, out of the blue, it happened. My paper airplane appeared on this Flickr page, relatively unscathed by USPS. Thus proving my childhood hypothesis: one can send paper airplanes through the mail!

That was a couple of years ago. Now at the little “exhibit” on Potrero Hill the other day, my airplane seems surprisingly still intact despite both USPS and the Elsewhere Philatelic Society’s storage over the past couple years. Victory!

While it’s by far the least cool talisman in their collection, that little paper airplane is important to me as it satisfies a long-held curiosity with USPS and folded paper objects.

When artists cater

April 29th, 2012

When artists cater

Text reads:

Unspecified number of cows (2011; casein)
This dynamic piece helps us recontextualize the disparity between the troubling mouth/non-mouth dichotomy in an ersatz form readily apparent to the non-casual observer (not shown).

Spotted at Obscura Day SF 2012.

Cyclecide’s Heavy Pedal Crank Art Exhibition

April 3rd, 2012

Bike drum Bike art Smoking bike baby Beer cans. Face punching bike Dragon bike Golden Gate Bridge bike Golden Gate Bridge bike

Nothing says “look what I made for Burning Man” quite like a mutant bicycle. The Heavy Pedal Crank Art Exhibition last weekend was a tribute to such vehicles.

Above are the crappy iPhone photos I took during my visit; click any image for the full-size.

Colorful artwork on Valencia

October 25th, 2011


Colorful Colorful

Where Bombay Bazaar once stood on Valencia and 16th is now a big sheet of plywood with some psychedelic colorful posters. No word yet on what drugs go best with viewing these posters. If you happen to know that or anything about these, drop me a line.

18th St. art wall replaced with anti-plastic bottle message

July 19th, 2011

Oh no!

As you may recall, last time we checked in with the 18th St. art wall, it was alive with a collaborative effort started by Zoltron.

Now the wall is gone, replaced with a message about plastic bottle waste. Lame.