An Icon for your city? An Icon for San Diego?

There are some very fine, distinguished gentlemen, trying to do a good thing for San Diego.

When I attended their recent talk, they emphasized that San Diego needed an “Iconic” symbol, that would represent our city, in the way the Eiffel Tower represents Paris, and in the way the giant arch represents St. Louis, Missouri. They presented their idea: Two very large shaped sculptures, in the form of abstract Sails . These would rise over 350 feet above our harbor, next to the popular tourist attraction, The Navy ship, USS Midway. They showed photos, and described the project. It would be made of titanium (Think Frank Ghery’s Disney Center, or the Museo Billbao in Spain). They would not turn or move, but would be a giant symbol for our city.

The design was done by an architect, not an artist. In my humble opinion, it is mediocre at best. What are they thinking? This huge, gigantic double shaped thing is not iconic at all. It does not even represent most of our city. We are about much more than sailing boats. The metal will catch the Western afternoon sun, and probably the Eastern morning sun, as well. Think of the glare! There are many high rise buildings behind this proposed sculpture. This huge thing will block so many views of the harbor, bay and ocean. Bad idea!!!

I agree we need a monumental icon for San Diego–but let’s rise above the mediocre. Let’s have a truly great artist come up with the design, the idea, the concept. There seems to be money already set aside for a good part of this project to be realized. Yikes! How can we relate to these important business men, that they need to consult with people of taste and understanding, before railroading through an idea which will bring our city down to mediocrity again! I was born here, and I care. Can’t we get a learned committee, or some art consultants who will select artists who know their stuff, to come up with an Icon that portrays our parks, our military bases, our beaches, our zoo, and our theaters and museums, as well as our farms and mountains in the back country of San Diego?

San Diego is truly a GREAT city. ┬áLet’s not plop down a weak structure, tying to be a sail, to represent all of us.

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3 Responses to An Icon for your city? An Icon for San Diego?

  1. Peter Mitten says:

    Rising above the mediocre has long been a problem in San Diego. The well meaning folks who want an iconic presence will need to be committed to a process that includes museum curators, local studio artists and /or academic, well informed, visionary visual arts “experts”, unfortunately… or we will continue to get the mediocrity that shows in San Diego… though there are notable exceptions, they usually rise above the mediocrity in spite of the local legislative tastes. It has been decades since I was aware of a (local leadership) commitment to a process that will render stellar results.

  2. Judy White says:

    Dear Carole,
    No I didn’t know about your blog but an iconic something is very important to our
    gorgeous city and I have been thinking, as you know, of a performing arts center,
    of significant architectural design on the bay front for the arts, performances of
    opera, theatre, etc. What better thing for our city ? It was an idea thought about
    many years ago but never brought to fruition because of money but maybe now
    is the time to rethink it? If Kansas City can do the Kaufmann Center why can’t we?

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