Art Writing and Criticism

San Francisco vs. Los Angeles vs. New York vs. Paris vs. London (repeat)

As you can tell by the lengthy title, I wanted to touch upon the idea of regionalism (again). I’ll keep this short. Promise.

I’m an optimist. I’m a believer in appreciating art, artists, and art scenes wherever I am and being respectful. I’ve got a lot of places to go and art to see but one thing I want to say, and I’m talking to the couple that were standing behind me waiting in line to get into BAN6 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts last Friday. You two were standing there judging people and remarking how poorly dressed they were and complaining how San Francisco is so far behind in fashion and art in comparison to New York.

News for you people, San Francisco has got approximately 7.4 million people to New York’s 18.9 million people. Yessir, it’s bigger. Statistically, there’s more opportunity to get your hustle on. Los Angeles has got Hollywood. Paris has got the rich tasting food and the romantic language. London is, well, old and steeped in history.

My point: STOP picking on San Francisco! Oakland!! Berkeley!!! The Bay Area!!!!

Every place, whether a city, town, or village has got something rich and profound to offer. I really wish people would focus on being in this great city and stop saying “It’s not New York (or LA, or Paris, or London)”. I’ve been to New York and LA and London (not Paris – yet!) and they are amazing cities but San Francisco is NEVER going to be these places and guess what…they’re NEVER going to be San Francisco…thanks for letting me vent. 🙂

By Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina American writer, artist, and educator whose academic and research interests include feminist media histories, critical medical anthropology, technology, race, and ethics. She is a Ph.D. student in Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz as a Eugene V. Cota-Robles fellow. She received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts and holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Her work as been exhibited at Ars Electronica, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the GLBT Historical Society.

Her writing appears in art21, Art in America, Ars Technica, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Vice Motherboard, and SF MOMA’s Open Space. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture. She is a co-founder of REFRESH, a politically-engaged art and curatorial collective and serves as the Executive Director for the Processing Foundation.

2 replies on “San Francisco vs. Los Angeles vs. New York vs. Paris vs. London (repeat)”

Completely agreed! SF has so much to offer, and comparing cities in a negative way only does a disservice to them all. Your optimistic perspective opens you up to so many more experiences and opportunities!

Aww, thanks so much Alyse! Obviously, I’m pretty biased because I’m an SF native but tired of hearing that the art scene here is too small or nothing like New York! Collectively, we’ve got to work with what we’ve got! In any case, thanks again for reading my little rant. That couple just got the best of me. Hmph!

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