John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It looks like it’s going to take a small army to protect these things from vandals.
Here's a collage of 6 times people in San Francisco have messed up Super Bowl 50 signs in the past week pic.twitter.com/EYtFMrYVJz— Mike Rosenberg (@RosenbergMerc) January 31, 2016
As predicted, things continue to not go well for San Francisco’s big, some would argue ugly, Super Bowl 50 statues.
It was just a few days ago that this site chronicled the vandalism of several of the new artworks—solar panels torn off, paint splashed on, letters rearranged into the cryptic “SUPERB OWL." That turned out to be just the opening salvo in an all-out war, with more statues tipped over or altered to read “SUP BRO,” “UP R BOWEL,” and “LEE ROBS,” the last being a likely reference to Mayor Ed Lee and the huge cost of the event. A particularly hard-hit one was also just removed, presumably for repair or to prevent other widely publicized attacks.
(The NFL didn’t respond to an earlier email asking if it planned to protect the statues.)
The vandals haven’t left helpful notes about motivation, but many locals have expressed frustration with the Super Bowl’s snarling of public transit—a worry well-expressed in this profane map—as well as the city kicking homeless camps off the streets. When the dust settles after February 7, perhaps all these statues can finally achieve artistic value in a museum exhibit about a community violently uniting against corporate sports.