SFist has a good post here on the story of how Ritual Coffee on Valencia Street ended its exhibit of Varese Layzer‘s work, asking the photographer to take down her artist’s statement and photos. Snapdango on Tumblr has the original post.

It’s worth taking a look at the photographer’s work, here. And the artist’s statement here. It says:

“In 2010, my mother died. As the last living member of my family, it fell on me to clear out the cluttered 1,100-square-foot rent-controlled apartment where I grew up and my parents had lived for 40 years. The process would take three months. During that time of work and grief, I also had to live there. I documented the process of making room for me at 5E.
After giving away thousands of pounds of belongings, I moved the remaining 4,000 pounds to a San Francisco storage space. Slowly, I made room to bring those objects into my world here: a painting, a clock, a lamp. I documented that process too.

Apartment 5E has since been bought and its walls demolished by a new owner. The objects and these pictures are all that remains.”

Take a look at the photos of Layzer’s work here and let us know what you think. I’m sure that Ritual Coffee owner Eileen Hassi, who generously offered Layzer a payment, would be interested in thoughtful views, as well. You own a coffee shop, you don’t necessarily like what an artist puts up.

Should you leave it or should you take it down?

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Oh yes, serious art deserves wine and cheese, not coffee! I for one do not go to a cafe to think. I walked into Ritual the other day and had a nervous breakdown with all those seriously dead thoughts swirling around (and I didn’t even read the artist’s statement). Thanks Eileen. I’ll have a cup of the lobotomy. And hold the heavy metal.

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