Public art in San Francisco

Often when I’m “out in the field” looking for vintage picture or movie locations, I’ll spot examples of artistic expression that I wouldn’t have seen if I wasn’t looking for something else. (Thumbnail images)

An interesting reproduction (maybe) of an old 1904 painting on the wall of the men’s room in the Pier 23 Restaurant on the Embarcadero:

I’m not sure about this one on Clay Street in Chinatown. Picasso may have liked it, but the girl with her butt where her stomach should be makes me wonder if I really do know anything about art.

In front of the new Transbay Terminal on Mission Street, during the Holidays: You see, if you look at it from the other side, it says JOY. “Yes, Tim.”

It’s a tough job, and they’re recruiting them younger and younger nowadays. This painting was on Oak Street at Franklin a few years ago, but it’s gone now.

They even decorate some of the public toilets with a Downtown San Francisco map; a great place to get one’s bearings. Yeah, I wasn’t looking for art when I stopped here.

There’s also a place where you can create your own artistic expression; the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley. Bring your own fortunes or prophesies, and they’ll put them in a freshly baked fortune cookie.

Street artists in Ross Alley getting ready for the 2023 Chinese New Year Parade that will run on Saturday, February 4th:

I guess façade lighting can be considered art, even if it’s for a lost cause. It was lively and exciting in San Francisco last Saturday night when I took this picture of City Hall, but quiet and lonely the following night.

Now we come to my kind of art. These are enlargements of old comic book covers in the window of the toy store at Maiden Lane.

One thought on “Public art in San Francisco

  • The sycamores at city hall seem to be in the process of getting pollarded. Those on the left are finished, and those on the right, at least those closest to the foreground, still need pollarding. Those in the background may be finished already, but I can not see in this picture. I know that is irrelevant to the topic, but I could not help but notice. I sort of wonder why pollarded sycamores were selected for this particular application. I suspect that they are pollarded to avoid obstruction of the view of the impressive architecture; but why not select smaller trees instead? The trunks of the trees might be architectural features like the columns of the building behind. Historically, they were compared to columns of the Lyceum where Aristotle lectured, because Plato controversially conducted his lectures in public areas surrounded by sycamores. That is why the genus is ‘Platanus’ for ‘Plato’. These particular sycamores are London plane trees, Platanus X acerifolia, which means that they are sycamores with maple foliage. The ‘X’ indicates that it is a hybrid. Incidentally, Norway maple, which used to be a common street tree in San Jose during the 1950s, is Acer platanoides, which means that they are the maples that look like sycamores.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.