El Refugio

A place on the web for escapism.

Friday, July 23, 2010

SF Murals - Myrtle Alley

I wasn't able to learn anything about this one, but it's a treasure.

SF - Bike Friendlier

It's been a while since I cycled the streets of San Francisco, so imagine my surprise when I saw this Bike Lane on Market Street! Yes, MARKET STREET!

 It looks so GREEEN!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, SF

Cellphone photo technology improves! 

Here's a Passiflora "Passion Flower". There's a rather interesting story that involves Christian religious interpretation and the Passion Flower (crown of thorns, apostles, wounds, etc., as they correspond to the showy flower parts). You can read it here or here; Wikipedia's entry on Passion Flower, under the heading Etymology gives further detail.

SF Murals - Bryant Street

 I thought this mural had been in SF forever, but recently learned that it was completed in 1992. It's titled To Cause to Remember, and was created by Johanna Poethig on the south wall of the South of Market Multi Service Center, a homeless shelter at Fifth & Bryant in San Francisco.

This Bio about Johanna Poethig is from the Veiled Histories Conference, back in 1996. It details the background for this mural.

Veiled Histories Conference
July 9-13, 1996
Hosted by SF Art Institute
Johanna Poethig, a member of DIWA Arts who also works independently, collaborates closely with the people and the places where she works in order to create murals on buildings and freeways, painted and stacked tire sculptures, and ceramic tile murals. Her mural To Cause to Remember, created for the South of Market Multi Service Center, a homeless shelter at Fifth and Bryant in San Francisco, is a quintessential example of her ability to subtly address and unmask the dualities inherent in publicly positioned work. Here, Poethig has employed the Statue of Liberty as an icon for the site, which she has manipulated in order to particularize her statement about freedom in America. Rendered familiarly erect but laterally recumbent, the statue's torch -- the flame of emancipation -- floats above her, just out of reach. Underscoring Poethig's historically contradictory interpretation of this universally understood symbol of freedom are its chained drapery, which keeps it earthbound, and the portion of the statue's text which refers to this country's historic beckoning to the "tired, poor, huddled masses."
Reclaiming San Francisco: History, Politics, Culture, by James Brook, Chris Carlsson, Nancy Joyce Peters, City Lights Books, p. 241:
"Traditionally, Community murals used text primarily as commentary or to explain the "point" of the accompanying image. A recent example is Johanna Poethig's To Cause to Remember, which shows the Statue of Liberty lying on its side and quotes, "Give me your tired, your restless..." The juxtaposition of these welcoming words with the plight of the unemployed, the homeless, and immigrants makes the point."
The Juxtaposition mentioned here is that the mural is painted on the south side of a homeless shelter and soup kitchen. It is with some surprise that I note there aren't any homeless folk in my photo, which is contrary to what I'd expected. Just weird timing, I guess.