The (de)Appropriation wall is a wonderful juxtaposition of ownership with its seemingly illegal legal art. It is on the site of the former Mission Police Station which moved to its’ current location further down Valencia Street in 1994. Artist, Bruce Tomb lives on the property,conducts his business there and documents the wall.
The wall on Valencia Street between 23rd and 24th streets in the Mission District is cluttered with stickers, posters, announcements and street art. It is a giant bulletin board that is constantly being refreshed. If you like wheat paste, it is an excellent place to periodically check out. Like all other street art,it is here today and gone tomorrow, especially on the lower parts of the wall that are easy to reach without a ladder.
The funny thing about this wall is that I never gave it much thought until a London based artist named Yola visited San Francisco and was looking for a wall to paste up some of her art. She informed us she pasted “Orestes” on the (de)Appropriation wall. If she had said the wall on Valencia I would have known instantly which wall. It ends up that wall’s official name is (de)Appropriation and is sometimes referred to as the freedom wall on Valencia.
This wall is the site of the former Mission Police Station that moved from there in 1994 to its’ current location further down Valencia Street. The building was acquired by artist, Bruce Tomb who currently lives on the property and conducts his business there as well.
Initially the Valencia wall, was frequently tagged so Bruce Tomb took action by painting a grid on it, then watched what unfolded. He noticed that the tagging began to subside with the wall gradually morphing into a public billboard filled with protest statements, event announcements and artistic renderings. When it comes to posting on the wall Bruce Tomb is laissez faire. His only rule is no tape or staples permitted.
This wall has become a project for Bruce Tomb. Over the past 10 years he has photographed it extensively and exhibited his photos. He named his project (de)Appropriation. When taggers write on a wall they are illegally appropriating the wall. As the citizens of the Mission began posting on the wall they publicly were taking it back. However, it wasn’t really theirs to take back since it is still privately owned. So the name is a twist on the property ownership which was public property and is now private that the public has chosen for their personal expression and the owner has quietly allowed to happen.
Learn more about Bruce Tomb’s archive project
Bruce Tomb’s site where he continues to document the wall, with this being his third archive since he began the project. (de)Approppriation Project Archive. See what we have spotted lately on the wall. (de)Approppriation