Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DAMage Report - We Don't Need No Stinking Museum

Apparently the bowling alley in the Presidio in San Francisco has a great deal of sentimental value to a large number of people. An Art Museum - not so much. The citizens are passionate enough about their bowling alley and decaying army base and parking lots that they have hawked a big wet loogie on the offer of a world-class museum complex that would house works by Warhol, Richter, Calder and more from the Donald Fisher collection.

There are of course two sides to every story. The residents want to preserve the historical integrity of the area which is the site of a Spanish settlement and former U.S. military base. The main argument seems to be that the museum complex would compromise the rundown area. Ironically, the Presidio Trust still plans to move forward with revitalization plans for the Main Post building, including building a lodge, rehabilitating and expanding the historic theater. So they want it untouched? Apparently the hard-on is mostly for Fisher, the founder of GAP. The Fishers had scaled back their plans to accomodate preservationists, but opponents were not satisfied.

One of the opposers to the museum plan, Nancy Ewart wrote "This wasn’t a free gift but a 21st century version of a land grab with the addition of a 119-room hotel, meeting space, a restaurant and a bar; two new theaters and the creation of a heritage’s a real mistake to assume that everybody is honest, ethical and eco-friendly where there’s money to be made."

Let me think about this - we have a neglected historical area in a tourism destination city. A wealthy patron of the arts has offered to turn into another tourism destination for the city and the residents are wallowing in conjecture, maybes, what-ifs and ...honesty? Is San Francisco recession free or something? They apparently have no interest in another means of drawing dollars to a deprived area of their city. Or any interest in supporting the arts.

Matthew Baume comments "Now the Presidio can return to what it once was and always shall be: a gigantic, partially-beautiful piece of land that nobody remembers exists."

Does anyone have Mr. Fisher's number? I have a nice southern city that would just love to have some wealthy patron toss money our way in support of the arts.


Shelley Munro said...

Hi Lakota,

Just popping by to say hi. Re the post below: can we ask embarrassing questions? ;)

Lakota said...

hey Shell!!! Been thinking about you lately - wonderin' how you're doing.
And of course you can ask the tough, embarrassing questions. :P Challenge me!
Errr... this isn't going to be about the time i threw up on the mayor is it?