City of Speakers

Graffiti, much along the lines of skateboarding, can often feel like a nostalgia act these days, what with the preponderance of retro-urban imagery such as boomboxes and turntables. Rather than celebrate street life as it is, these murals tend to celebrate street life as it once was. Of course, such historical tendencies don’t necessarily detract from a given piece of art’s visual impact.

There’s a particularly vibrant, large-scale graffiti mural across the alley from the gallery 111 Minna in San Francisco ( It’s always striking to me how the distant speaker cabinets in the upper right corner (see detail above) serve as corollaries to the layered backdrop of office and apartment buildings. A skyline of speakers — that’s a suitable image for this city.

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