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
San Francisco neighbourhoods.
12013-06-21T13:31:29-07:00Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e22555San Francisco neighbourhoods.plain2016-03-08T16:36:39-08:00Bridget Gilman032da9b6b9003c284100547a1d63b1ed9aca49e2
12013-06-25T19:06:36-07:002. Potrero Hill20plain171942016-03-08T16:34:25-08:00Potrero Hill, Bechtle's own neighbourhood, and the Sunset district, for many years his place of work, are the dominant settings of his San Francisco paintings. Like the artist's images of Alameda, Berkeley and Oakland, these areas look quietly middle class, dominated by similar mid-size family homes, cars of common vintage and make and well-maintained streets and public spaces. Automobiles are a particularly telling feature, not simply because they are ubiquitous throughout the artist's oeuvre, but because Bechtle rarely features luxury or 'show' vehicles, instead representing the station wagons and sedans of daily use. Though economic growth from the banking and technology industries over the past several decades has led to intense gentrification in the city, the Sunset's peripheral location has kept housing costs in the neighbourhood somewhat lower. If Potrero Hill's appearance still retains some industrial roots, it is likely because of the adjacent area known as the 'Dogpatch', for many years the centre of San Francisco's manufacturing and shipping economies. Originally separated from the city proper by Mission Bay, the area became increasingly populous with the connective addition of the Long Bridge and the subsequent filling of the Bay. In the early twentieth century, the low-lying Dogpatch became a shipping centre, while residential areas spread up and west over the hill.
These residential areas are Bechtle's focus. Their elevation and position within the city provides one of San Francisco's many picturesque hill-top perches, but for the artist such overt spectacle is of little interest – the panoramic tradition has been well explored by over two centuries of painters and photographers. Instead, Bechtle utilizes Potrero sites to experiment with repetition and novel perspectives, turning the viewer's attention back toward the street surfaces and ascending house façades to investigate the neighbourhood's spatial nuances and architectural contiguities.