Iconic 2001 Dot-Com Era Mural Tagged

Once again a 2001 mural created in the midst of the last dot-com boom has been defaced.

“Materialistic Displacement” by Fredericko Alvarado and Manuel Sanchez, on the Van Ness side of Philz Coffee “includes a tank, a space-suited person pushing a shopping cart filled with computer monitors, and a Dali-like body floating overhead. It was done during the dot-com boom and captures the surreal pace of that time.”

It’s unclear exactly when it was tagged, but was nearly completely covered on Wednesday afternoon.

In July 2010, advertisements hid it from view and Phil Jaber, the entrepreneur behind Philz Coffee, told Mission Local he was thinking about making changes. We told him the community might be unhappy if the mural disappeared and Jaber said he would “listen to the people” so we ran a story, “What Should Philz Do?”

While some didn’t like the mural, most did. As one reader, Sally wrote:

I grew up in the Mission, actually 1/2 a block from Philz. All us kids new Phil and would always go to his store, that’s saying alot since he is 1 of 3 on the corners of 24th and Mission.

It’s good to see that Philz has stood the test of time and is still there. Part of what has made him successful is that he’s not just a store owner but he is part of the community.

Phil, keep the mural. It’s part of our community, it’s part of our culture, our murals are part of what makes the Mission so unique. There’s no place like the Mission.

True to his word, Jaber took the advertisements down and the mural remained.

It’s unclear this time around if the mural will be restored. Other historic murals in the Mission have also been tagged recently. 

Filed under: Art, Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. John

    Hmm, could this be a backlash against the backlash?

    Political murals are always going to be seen as provocative by the groups criticized. Perhaps our artists could choose less tribal and controversial images?

    • david benzler

      this is pure graffiti, for a mural that has def outlasted its worth or purpose.. murals that have true cultural equity do not get treated this way.. I just want to say, I think you low lifes deserve all the horrible stuff headed your way.. I can’t believe how bad you suck.

      I’ve spent my own money to paint the same wall in clarion for over 10 years, as a service to “my” artist community. And, yes, I can’t wait for the backlash from your pervasive decisions to grow to fruition and bite you in the ass.

  2. City

    Who the fuck cares!!!!!

  3. John

    Wow, take a chill pill, David.

    I thought artists were supposed to be mellow and reflective. Not aggressive and prone to anger outbursts.

  4. Old Mission Neighbor

    1. That’s a damn shame. I really liked that mural.
    2. The same jackholes also tagged a mural on the plywood covering the building on 24th near Mission that had a fire last year.
    3. Considering the “art style,” this vandalism was done by some hoodlums, not artists.

  5. ThatGuy

    I think its code for “Someone’s Been Evicted Here”…


  6. bp

    Clearly, this must have been the work of some heathen software engineer.

  7. Missionary

    The same person defaced two very well known murals at 21st and Mission on New Years Eve. I am very surpised that Mission Local has yet to report on these two very terrible acts.

    • MissionLoca

      I’m sure that the Powers That Be at Mission Local view taggers as “street artists” who are “voices of the people” and should therefore be allowed to self-express at will without having to worry about prosecution. I’m personally very frustrated by the lack of action by anyone in either the media OR the local government to address the constant tagging and defacing of local murals and property. The people who live in my building are all tired of having to paint our building exterior every few days because of new graffiti. It’s NOT art. It’s nothing more than some tool lifting his leg and peeing on our building (well, a lot of guys do that, too, sadly), and then WE, the people who live here, the victims of these quality of life crimes, are doubly penalized, because if we don’t paint over the graffiti ASAP, the city slaps US with a big fine! And if we happen to have the perpetrator of the crime on tape? The SFPD won’t accept it as evidence, or do anything to look for or arrest the responsible party…and even if they did, the local DA’s office won’t prosecute!! So, in essence, they send a firm message to those of us who live here that we don’t matter, and to criminals that they can continue to commit crimes without having to worry about consequences. What a shame!

  8. NFS

    Although I far prefer the mural to the ads that were covering it, or the tags that defaced it, this isn’t exactly a long time part of mission history. The mural is thirteen years old. Get off it for effs sake!

  9. nutrisystem

    A tech corporation, not unlike the Chinese Government, would never consent to having art on its buses which is even remotely critical. Visually pleasing – sure. Funny or thought provoking – maybe. But critical or questioning – no way.

    So the contest (assuming the intent was to actually put art on buses) was doomed from the start by pragmatism. Only a breezy, inoffensive entry could be allowed to win, which ruled out the best work.

    • nutrisystem

      Taggers – that’s something else all together. Since their teenage narcissism makes the city look worse, they are, in their humble way, slightly reducing the rate of rent inflation.

      • MissionLoca

        Wow, really?? THAT’S your argument?? Taggers are secretly helping the proletariat by making our neighborhoods look bad and therefore be prone to higher crime and lower desirability??? Wow, you must really hate your neighbors in the Mission (if you in fact even live here)! I suppose you also support the gangbangers who shoot people on the streets, because they, too, lower property values?!!

        • nutrisystem

          Sadly, it’s come to this.

          And, BTW, I didn’t say tags are “lowering” property values, merely reducing the rate of hyperinflation. For example, that $10,000/month apartment featured recently may have only fetched $9,900 if the front of the building was hideously tagged.

          • John

            So, more generally, do you approve of all local crime, vandalism, open drug use, prostitution, theft, blight, graffiti, littering, dumping and so on?

            Because slightly lowering rents is more important to you than the quality of life of your friends, family and neighbors?

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