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.  Let’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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