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Iconic Mission Mural To Be Painted Over, New One Instantly Commissioned

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Anti-gentrification piece done in by dry rot

After 14 years, the eye-catching twisted birdhouse mural at 18th and Lexington is flying the coop. Shortly, the owner of 3469 18th Street will paint right over the piece by Los Angeles-based artists Andrew Schoultz and Aaron Noble.

We know what you’re thinking, but both the artists and the business owner insist that gentrification is not the culprit here. Rather, the mural, titled Generator (one of our 49 favorite San Francisco murals), is the victim of a much more pedestrian scourge: dry rot. Building repairs demand resealing and repainting the whole structure.

Indeed, if you look at it up close, it seems that Generator is a bit frayed around the edges these days. But just in case anyone still scans the forthcoming whitewash as an attack on the Mission arts scene, Schoultz and Noble announced on Monday that they will create a new mural for the building’s refreshed exterior.

"As neighborhoods change, so must their painted walls," Schoultz said in a press release.

His admirably stoic attitude and the necessity of the fixes aside, the loss of Generator still pinches a bit. The image of birds fleeing their distorted homes always suggested the specter of the Ellis Act (the name of the act is even part of the painting’s landscape), and Capp Street Crap notes that Schoultz himself lost his own Mission studio a few years ago.

Although the overhaul of the building and mural seem to have nothing to do with encroachments on the neighborhood character, it can’t help but leave a bad taste behind. Perhaps with that in mind, the artists say their new mural will again use the image of birds in flight to play with gentrification themes.

Neighbors first requested a mural from the Clarion Alley Mural Project in 2002 to deter the graffiti that frequently dotted the building before. Noble and Schoultz say they’ll begin work on the new piece in August and most likely finish in September.


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