A while back I’d noticed that Park’s Farmer’s Market on 6th and Irving had this wonderfully creative and colorful street mural, advertising this locally owned produce store in the neighborhood, and took some pictures on a sunny day.
Then, as quickly as it appeared, it was gone, repainted a bland beige. Umm..what the frak?
One of the frustrations I have now with my current lawful employment is that I don’t have the flexible schedule to do the due diligence on events like this like I wanted when I first saw the Beige Wall, but got my answer in this article by the awesome Matt Hirsch, a local, and a reporter that explained what happened.
Essentially, the City’s anti-graffiti ordinance had been applied to the wall, but NOT to the mural itself, but to some spray paint on an awning. However, the City’s minions, in their infinite wisdom, affixed it to the mural, and not to the awning. In a panic, an honest business person wiped out an artistic contribution to the ‘hood, and complied with some dumbass bureaucrat who couldn’t have made it clearer what the deal was.
I’m no fan of gang graffiti on MUNI or anyone’s property – it’s illiterate pro-violence gang stuff that needs to be eliminated because it is intended to hurt and kill people.
However, there’s a rich tradition of hip-hop derived urban artwork that’s become as much a part of any city as any other art, and one used by locally owned businesses as a way of enlivening Our Fair City.
The end result of the bureaucratic bungling and a misunderstanding has been to create an open canvas for gang graffiti for violent, angry youths who could care less about art or urban life, and wiped out something that was a treat to those of us taking the N through town every day.
The Park mural was as much of a recent treasure as the Yes We Can! house’s awesome use of urban space. Helpful Hint to City Minions: Try your best to get out of the Prius, and TALK to local business owners, instead of just trying to screw ’em for another “fine” you can rack up for your quota. Learn a little before bullying your way for a few nickels for the City treasury, mmkay?
And people wonder why we have so many empty storefronts in San Francisco? Ack.