Friday, June 17, 2005

Mister Gorbachev, Tear That Fence Down



On a rainy Thursday afternoon, there was an official celebration of the temporary pagoda sculpture on Hayes Street.



There were speeches by various folk, including an endless, self-serving marathon by Jeannene Przyblyski from the San Francisco Arts Commission. About the twentieth time she used the phrase, "And finally..." I was ready to push her off her perch.



She was followed by the founder of Burning Man, Larry Harvey, who gave a great, short speech about the glories of "temporary" art and how it's an incubator for artists and neighborhoods in San Francisco.



"And it doesn't have to cost a lot of money like so much of the public art we have now."



He mentioned that he was also a Hayes Valley neighbor, lived up the hill in Alamo Square, and that the chain-link fence that has just been bolted into place for some reason around the pagoda and the surrouding park was grotesque. He finished his speech with the paraphrase, "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this fence!"



He was followed by the artist, David Best, who confessed to being a born and raised San Franciscan but currently a resident of Petaluma.



His speech was also brief and charming, though he got hung up trying to explain the difference between "working for free" and "being a volunteer." He never did explain the distinction very well so that by the time he finished I was wondering why the "volunteers" weren't being paid.



According to an article by Leslie Fulbright in this morning's "San Francisco Chronicle," the $20,000 cost of the project was mostly for the organized crime groups known as insurance companies along with their cohorts in city government for "permits," which is just plain sickening.

Also sickening is the fact that the bolted chain-link fence is STILL keeping people out of the park today. I thought they had paid off the insurance gangsters and the permit people in City Hall. This is a "temporary" sculpture, folks, and the clock is ticking. Maybe it's time to pay a visit to the Mayor's Office this afternoon and see what's going on.





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