Urban Sights: Urban History and Visual CultureMain MenuIntroductionConflicting Visions of Renewal in Pittsburgh's Hill District, 1950-1968 by Laura GrantmyreSan Francisco Views: Robert Bechtle and the Reformulation of Urban Vision by Bridget GilmanVisualizing Iraq: Oil, Cinema, and the Modern City by Mona DamlujiFilmic Witness to the 1964 Kitty Genovese Murder by Carrie RentschlerBuses from Nowhere: Television and Anti-busing Activism in 1970s Urban America by Matt DelmontMona Damluji89c6177132ce9094bd19f4e5159eb300a76ef0dfMatthew F. Delmont5676b5682f4c73618365582367c04a35162484d5Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e2Laura Grantmyre8add17c1c26ed9de6b804f44312bd03052f5735eCarrie Rentschlere7ded604f66cae2062fa490f51234edecd44a076
Sunset District, San Francisco.
12013-06-29T12:52:45-07:00Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e22556Photograph by author.plain2014-07-24T23:21:16-07:00Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e2
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12013-06-25T19:17:10-07:003. The Sunset district24plain173432016-03-08T19:53:43-08:00While Bechtle develops specific techniques for adapting the city's nearly saturated visual-topographic tradition, much about these works is linked to his earlier suburban images. These continuities are most apparent in his works depicting the Sunset district.
Bechtle's images of the west-side neighbourhood are inspired in part by his years of commuting to the area to teach at San Francisco State University, but the artist also relates that the neighbourhood reminds him of the area of Alameda where he grew up. This seemingly small note of personal reminiscence in fact speaks to a central aspect of San Francisco's architectural and demographic history. Developed by several builders in the early to mid-twentieth century, the Sunset is the city's most 'suburban' neighbourhood, populated by seemingly endless streets of similar single-family homes. Though its density is more characteristically urban than suburban, the area's record of mass construction and the resultant aesthetic regularity imbued the environs with significant suburban resonances – qualities on view in the home movie below. Bechtle's Sunset works hone in on the repetition of the neighbourhood's built environment, a strategy that links these works to his other Bay Area sites and stresses signifiers of urban–suburban continuity. Just as his images of Potrero Hill offer an alternative to familiar panoramas, the Sunset pieces work to illuminate the underremarked architectural history of San Francisco's 'outer lands'.