Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Signs in mind of Harry Crane, Orson Welles, and a rock-pile installation in Golden Hill Park

The collection is accompanied by something human: a face

Things on top of other things — delightful.
Things on top of other things — delightful.

A low-grade tag war broke out a couple of months ago on the retaining wall in front of a burnt-out motel near my home. Three letters — initials, surely — spraypainted by some poor soul seeking to make his mark on the world. I don’t remember what the initials were, because they were not memorably rendered. What I remember is that some other poor soul spraypainted a line through them and then applied his own tag to the wall — only to have the first artiste return the favor. And so on, until the city came and whitewashed the whole debate. Maybe it was a turf war; maybe the initials marked who got to sell on that corner. But to me, it looked like a baseline assertion of self: “This is me. I was here.” “No, I was here.”

It put me in mind of Harry Crane from the TV series Mad Men, talking about his fascination with the cave paintings of Lascaux. “Seventeen thousand years old. The bison get all of the attention, but there are also all of these hand prints with paint blown all around them. Like someone reaching through the stone, right to us: ‘I was here.’” Except minus the bison, and minus even the artistry on the signature.

“Have a nice day!”

And that put me in mind of Orson Welles’ great monologue on Chartres cathedral in F for Fake. “The premier work of man perhaps in the whole Western world and it’s without a signature… ‘Be of good heart,’ cry the dead artists out of the living past. ‘Our songs will all be silenced. But what of it? Go on singing.’ Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter all that much.”

There is no signature on the rock-pile installation that runs along 26th Street as it descends through Golden Hill Park toward Pershing. It’s just things put on top of other things, again and again, but it’s almost absurdly pleasing to explore. (Chartres is a more orderly pile of stones, but the echo is there.) The piles are not stable; some have already toppled. Unlike Lascaux, they will not endure. But like Lascaux, they express some artist’s vision, and like Lascaux, the collection is accompanied by something human: a face. Several faces, actually, painted on single stones along the trail. In perfect opposition to the tagger, the artist here doesn’t need to be known; it is enough to say, “This was no happy accident. I was here.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Moved to tears by Dave’s Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken ranges from no spice, to hot, to the indemnified “reaper”
Next Article

Luna Bay Booch's San Diego origin story

Woman owned hard kombucha brand brewed elsewhere, now sold locally
Things on top of other things — delightful.
Things on top of other things — delightful.

A low-grade tag war broke out a couple of months ago on the retaining wall in front of a burnt-out motel near my home. Three letters — initials, surely — spraypainted by some poor soul seeking to make his mark on the world. I don’t remember what the initials were, because they were not memorably rendered. What I remember is that some other poor soul spraypainted a line through them and then applied his own tag to the wall — only to have the first artiste return the favor. And so on, until the city came and whitewashed the whole debate. Maybe it was a turf war; maybe the initials marked who got to sell on that corner. But to me, it looked like a baseline assertion of self: “This is me. I was here.” “No, I was here.”

It put me in mind of Harry Crane from the TV series Mad Men, talking about his fascination with the cave paintings of Lascaux. “Seventeen thousand years old. The bison get all of the attention, but there are also all of these hand prints with paint blown all around them. Like someone reaching through the stone, right to us: ‘I was here.’” Except minus the bison, and minus even the artistry on the signature.

“Have a nice day!”

And that put me in mind of Orson Welles’ great monologue on Chartres cathedral in F for Fake. “The premier work of man perhaps in the whole Western world and it’s without a signature… ‘Be of good heart,’ cry the dead artists out of the living past. ‘Our songs will all be silenced. But what of it? Go on singing.’ Maybe a man’s name doesn’t matter all that much.”

There is no signature on the rock-pile installation that runs along 26th Street as it descends through Golden Hill Park toward Pershing. It’s just things put on top of other things, again and again, but it’s almost absurdly pleasing to explore. (Chartres is a more orderly pile of stones, but the echo is there.) The piles are not stable; some have already toppled. Unlike Lascaux, they will not endure. But like Lascaux, they express some artist’s vision, and like Lascaux, the collection is accompanied by something human: a face. Several faces, actually, painted on single stones along the trail. In perfect opposition to the tagger, the artist here doesn’t need to be known; it is enough to say, “This was no happy accident. I was here.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Essential views in Del Mar

City council retreats on plan to suspend complaints
Next Article

San Diego Lotharios rejoice at news of mandatory 10 pm nightlife shutdown

Closed Doors = Closed Deals
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close