Art and Design | Bevan Dufty | Harvey Milk | News | San Francisco

Artist Proposes 'Harvey Milk Memorial Pink Cloud' Over SF's Castro


Like most public art projects, everyone seems to have an opinion about the one being envisioned for the entrance to San Francisco's Castro District, as a memorial to gay rights leader Harvey Milk. The art piece, first envisioned in 2000 but shelved for lack of funds, would be created with poles emitting steam, which would then be lit with pink lights.

Pinkcloud2 The SF Chronicle reports: "Now it's back - revived by Supervisor Bevan Dufty and the San Francisco Arts Commission to add some flair to the temporary public plaza that opened last month at the intersection...Some do find the idea delightful; others say it conjures a toxic cloud that's destined to cause a car wreck. Then there are practical questions: Will the wind send the cloud cruising down Castro Street?...While many in the audience of a dozen found the idea intriguing, they had some concerns. 'I'm conflicted whether I like it or not,' said Tito Vandermeyden, artist and owner of Studio 94114. 'The place is very windy, and there will be a lot of rubbernecking. I'd like to see local Castro artists promoted, too.' Terry Asten Bennett, owner of Cliff's Variety Store and president of the Castro Merchants Association, is worried about accidents when drivers crest Market Street and find a big 'pink UFO' in the sky. 'We've had a lot of customers say, 'What in the hell are they thinking?' ' she said. But public art often does provoke, just as Milk did, Dufty said. 'I think this is a great opportunity to do something intriguing,' Dufty said."

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  1. What about the fact that "casting a cloud over" something usually isn't seen as a plus.

    "cast a cloud over(v) :to spoil sthg esp. by bringing about or introducing an unpleasant affair, subject, etc. _I don’t want to cast a cloud over your joy, kids, but it’s almost the time for dinner."

    Posted by: badlydrawnbear | Jun 4, 2009 8:32:19 AM

  2. I like it, where do we vote for it?

    Posted by: F123 | Jun 4, 2009 9:26:12 AM

  3. Ridiculous. The wind HOWLS down from the Swish Alps, right through that intersection and will disperse the "cloud" immediately. On the four days out of the year when there is no wind, it will look like a cotton candy factory. There are better ways to honor the man

    Posted by: GM | Jun 4, 2009 10:09:20 AM


    Posted by: rich | Jun 4, 2009 10:24:35 AM

  5. This has got to be the worst and cheesiest idea I've ever heard. Better sell my place in the Castro now before my property value drops even more!

    Posted by: Chris | Jun 4, 2009 10:25:36 AM

  6. tacky...

    Posted by: alguien | Jun 4, 2009 10:26:03 AM

  7. uhm

    Steam doesn't move to form a horizontal cloud it ascends vertically and thus would not be a cloud but rather look like any old smoke stack in industrial america. While ascending vertically due to it being warmer than the surrounding area (heat rises, cold sinks) the local air currents will dissipate it.


    One suspects Harvey himself would prefer real political activism as vs a pink cloud that wouldn't work to begin with due to simple physics.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Jun 4, 2009 10:35:25 AM

  8. What an absolute asinine idea. And I speak as a former resident of the area.

    Posted by: Ian | Jun 4, 2009 10:44:53 AM

  9. Ugh. How theme park. Please, no.

    Posted by: Kugel | Jun 4, 2009 10:52:10 AM

  10. Of course, we could just go with frontal nudity and public sex acts at the Folsom Street Fair. That will make a better impression than a pink cloud any day.

    Posted by: GayUprising | Jun 4, 2009 11:27:39 AM

  11. Dufty's brain cells have been eaten by the fumes from his baby's poo.

    EVEN IF the science of SF's winds and the nature of steam didn't make it technologically absurd....Nothing less than the original design for the Transamerica Pyramid had to be changed when someone finally pointed out that elevators could not work at the extreme angles created as the higher elevations of the building created a point, and there would be no room for emergency stairways, and a smoke stack...hence the "wings" [some call them ears] were added to make room for 18 elevators, two stairwells and a smoke tower. . ...And, 30 years ago, when an "artiste" defied the building's owners, city officials, and neighbors and spent tens of thousands of dollars to project for one night only a giant Eye of Osiris on the side of the building [a la the carved one on the capstone of the Great Pyramid of Giza] the dense SF fog that came in obscured the image for all but a short period of time.

    EVEN IF the money for it wasn't desperately needed by, among numerous other things, indigent people with AIDS when funds for same are being slashed by tens of millions of dollars....

    EVEN IF it wouldn't--EXACTLY as the woman from Cliff's says--cause endless traffic accidents at that extremely busy intersection particularly from cars coming over the upper Market Street hill...

    It would STILL be an INSULTING "memorial" to Harvey and gays generally!! Memorialize what? Our triviality? Our fragility? Why not build a giant ukelele, surround it with a bed of tulips, and dedicate it to Tiny Tim? Why not float a giant illuminated shoe over the intersection and call it Light In The Loafers? How about a giant aerial wrist and hand that could be solar powered to raise and go limp? We could serve free MINCE Meat pie to all tourists.

    One of their actual rationalizations is that "Harvey had a whimsical side." Of course it did. But he wasn't wearing his clown suit the day he was murdered at City Hall. They're not calling it a "memorial to whimsical Harvey Milk" but to "gay rights leader Harvey Milk."

    If it does go up, there should be traffic signs a block back from the four different directions: WARNING APPROACHING RETARDED IDEA.

    Posted by: Todd Stiles | Jun 4, 2009 11:40:55 AM

  12. @gayuprising. If you don't like the Folsom Fair, don't pay the $5 admission and walk in. What? You thought there was going to be funnel cake and pie eating contests when the Sister slapped that sticker on you the last Saturday of September?

    Posted by: Kugel | Jun 4, 2009 12:07:58 PM

  13. Oh come on, there's got to be a better idea than this's lame. Don't put Bevan in charge of art projects - not his forte.

    Posted by: bryanD | Jun 4, 2009 1:38:45 PM

  14. If we're going to have pink clouds floating in the Castro can we get them scented too? I think Harvey would have liked a nice patchouli though I'm sure some of the more modern inhabitants would like a nice lavender or a light citrus scent. Let's leave this a a bad photoshop project.

    Posted by: Keith near Dolores Park | Jun 4, 2009 1:49:14 PM

  15. I wonder if they've tested this, even under very controlled conditions (presumably inside). Aside from the steam staying in place, which I can only imagine would work if they sprayed out lots of it (with the dissipating steam invisible when not lit), how about the fact that pink lights aren't going to work too well during the day?

    I find it a slightly interesting idea, but partly because I think it would fail if they tried, and I would find that funny and very typical of this city. It's better than the giant foot they wanted to put downtown a few years back, but then so is anything.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 4, 2009 4:06:21 PM

  16. Well, well, Kugel, seems somebody touched a nerve by saying the Folsom fair is what it is. I'm jes sayin....

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Jun 4, 2009 4:29:13 PM

  17. hey i think your site is really nice and i feel that you have done a great job. it is really wonderful and the information about being an artist, which is provided above looks really natural and worth. i am seriously impressed by your work.

    Posted by: Jim Smith | Jun 5, 2009 8:41:30 AM

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