Thursday, April 27, 2006

And I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For...

"Great art is as irrational as great music. It is mad with it's own loveliness."

-George Jean Nathan

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you, only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
but I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Last week when I was in San Francisco, for the 100th anniversary celebrations of the 1906 earthquake, I got a chance to visit one of the most lovely spots along the Embarcadero, Justin Herman Plaza. The center is a shopping delight, but more then that, it is filled with some fascinating pieces of public art. One of the most controversial is the above sculpture/fountain which is titled, "Vaillancourt Fountain. This piece has been an object of debate, since it's unveiling in 1971 by it's artist, Armand Vaillancourt. It seems that folks either LOVE it or HATE it. Rarely do people take a lukewarm attitude toward it. Personally, I adore it. I like everything about it, but it seems that Bono, lead singer for U2 would disagree with me.

I have kissed honey lips
Felt my healing on his fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of the devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

In fact it was Bono which may have provided the fountain with it's most notorious moment, when during a free concert by U2, the lead-singer spray-painted the words, "Rock and Roll Stops The Traffic," across the fountain. This act of vandalism angered then mayor Dianne Feinstein and it resulted in a citation for malicious mischief, but Bono had something to say...

"We're the Batman & Robin of rock'n' roll... I am an artist, and that was not an act of vandalism."

This incident was the beginning of the end of free concerts held at Justin Herman Plaza. Over time the sculpture took a lot of beating by petitions to have it removed and by wear and tear of time and the homeless who tended to take up refuge in it, but in the summer of 2004, Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who led an effort in collaboration with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, to turn the fountain back on, and restore it, after the city had shut it off in 2000 to conserve resources. It was finally back on and beautiful again. :)

I believe in kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed to one
Bleed to one
Well yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

"Vaillancourt Fountain"
Justin Herman Plaza
San Francisco, California
April 16th, 2006
Early Evening
"I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" lyrics By U2


Phinney said...

that must be really SOMETHING to see up close and personal. nothing like that around here. don't like acts of vandalism one bit, and i don't know how Bono thought he'd get away with that explaination. spray painting something that's not yours, hmmmm...

cool pic. cool that you went there. ~phin

DesLily said...

as always.. beauty is in the eye of the beholder..

to me there's no more beautiful "fountain" of any sort then a "waterfall" of natures...

Suzanne R said...

Very interesting post, Carly! I am enjoying learning about your area through your entries. I would love to see this fountain "up close and personal". I like Bono so am disappointed that he would spray paint on it -- thanks for this bit of history about both him and the fountain!

Karen Funk Blocher said...

What makes one artist think he has the right to deface someone else's art? Shame on Bono! - Karen

V said...

Aw, Carly. I first saw U2 with my son at a large benefit festival in the Meadowlands, Giants Stadium. They shared the final stage with the Police reunited, introduced by Robert Deniro. Many years ago!