Wizard of Oz glass panels at Coronado Library.

Five years ago I blogged about the Wizard of Oz festival which was held in Coronado’s Spreckels Park. After checking out the festival, I took three photos of the beautiful Wizard of Oz glass panels inside the Coronado Library, which is located across Orange Avenue from the park.

Last weekend during my visit to Coronado I enjoyed looking at the panels again. I had stepped into the library to photograph pieces of art by two internationally famous artists. (I’ll post those photos at some point in the future, probably after Comic-Con.)

The thing is, as I paused in front of the wonderful Wizard of Oz artwork at the entrance to the children’s room, I suddenly realized I hadn’t posted photos of all the fun scenes. So I will right now!

This colorful Wizard of Oz Children’s Library Entry Portal was created by artist Brenda Smith.

Enjoy!

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Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado!

The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.
The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.

One of the utility boxes painted a few years back for the Art Outside the Box project in Coronado depicts scenes and characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other novels in the popular Oz series by L. Frank Baum.

The happy artwork, which greets those walking down the Orange Avenue sidewalk near the Coronado Library, was painted by local students Eva B., Audrey S., and Sienna F.

L. Frank Baum and Coronado are closely related. The author spent many winters in a house near the famous Hotel del Coronado, whose fantastic architecture is said to be the inspiration for his Emerald City.

You can learn more and see photos of his winter house by clicking here!

Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.
Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.
Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum's wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a house in Coronado.
Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum’s wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a rented house in Coronado.
One of the magical creatures in Oz.
One of the magical creatures in Oz.
Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road as Art Outside the Box.
Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road. A fun work of Art Outside the Box.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

The Dark Crystal trolley for Comic-Con!

Another cool trolley wrap has debuted for 2019 San Diego Comic-Con! I spotted it this morning. This one might be my favorite so far!

The eye-catching graphics promote an upcoming show on Netflix. Get ready for Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Take a ride on the Comic-Con Infinity Train!

Check it out! A very unique trolley has debuted for 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!

The Infinity Train trolley, which promotes an upcoming animated show on Cartoon Network, is decorated with graphics on both the outside AND inside!

According to Wikipedia: “Infinity Train is an upcoming American animated series created by former Regular Show writer/storyboard artist Owen Dennis for Cartoon Network. The series follows 12-year-old Tulip and her two-in-one robot companion One-One in their journey through a seemingly infinite train with limitless possibilities traveling through a completely barren wasteland. They are joined by Atticus, an intelligent, talking Corgi and king of a Corgi kingdom in one of the train’s cars, as they search for a way to Tulip’s home.”

Today I stepped into that fantastic world of infinite possibility and took a ride on San Diego’s cool version of the Infinity Train!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Swords of Chivalry knights battle in Balboa Park!

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the House of England’s lawn program in Balboa Park yesterday was the historical sword fighting. A local group called Swords of Chivalry provided a fine demonstration of realistic combat between armored knights during the Middle Ages.

According to their website, the Swords of Chivalry Program is one of only 16 schools in the world that have been selected to the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association. The program is led by “San Diego’s own Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) expert and medieval history guru, Scott Farrell.”

As knights and their squires performed heroic feats upon the green grass of the International Cottages, I and everyone watching were drawn back in time to the fantastic Age of Chivalry.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Two colorful, fun benches in Tidelands Park!

A couple days ago I posted photos of two super fun benches in National City’s Pepper Park. Today, during my walk in Coronado, I visited Tidelands Park in order to photograph two additional benches that were created by the same San Diego artist, Doug Snider.

These colorful benches are located at the playground in Coronado Tidelands Park. They also debuted in 2006 and are made of painted concrete.

Doug Snider is a member of the San Diego Potters’ Guild and operates out of Studio 15 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

These benches appear to have emerged from a strangely wonderful dream. Wouldn’t you like to sit in one?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A dark, disturbing look at art Beyond Reason.

Close photo of bronze figures of Tim Shaw's Middle World.
Close photo of several bronze figures in Tim Shaw’s Middle World.

A very disturbing and powerfully thought-provoking exhibition has recently opened at the San Diego Museum of Art. Yesterday I walked through the dark galleries that contain Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, and this morning my mind is still digesting the half dozen fantastic installations created by the celebrated artist.

Tim Shaw is a Northern Irish sculptor who, as a child in 1972, witnessed firsthand the bombing of a Belfast cafe during Bloody Friday. That exact, horrifying moment is recreated in a bloodless, abstract way in his installation Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous. Eerily spinning trays hover in the air above suddenly upset tables and chairs; the shadows of fleeing people stream across surrounding windows.

That same feeling of malice and inescapable chaos seems to echo elsewhere in Tim Shaw’s work.

Walking through the dim galleries containing Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason feels inhumanly bleak. Little light, the low sound of a hollow, echoing, machine-like vibration all around, no human warmth. Like the corridors of a dark artificial video game world where there is no hope for actual daylight. Where synthetic horrors await around corners.

Themes explored by the six immersive installations range from the primal, unconscious complexity of human beings, to cynical exploitation in a materialistic society, to the uncertainties that rise in a technologically directed world.

I found the first installation that I encountered, Middle World, to be extraordinarily rich with symbolism. A massive sculpture, Middle World presents many small bronze figures that appear to have emerged from ancient mythology, Shakespeare, or the fleshy canvases of Hieronymus Bosch. The weird, expressive figures, some in masks, are arranged on a throne-like stage above what seem to be stalactites and beneath what seem to be Gothic columns and skeletons in catacombs. The sculpture incorporates the shapes of objects that are both modern and ancient, commonplace and supernatural. It’s a mixture of space and time and human passion and compulsion and perplexity. A melting, flowing work of sculpted substance like an unending dream.

Other more disturbing installations that compose the exhibition concern dehumanization and include subjects like the silencing of free speech, vigilantism, human exploitation and depravity.

Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be presents two rocking-chair-like figures that are in constant back-and-forth motion. Both are gagged, and the muffled voices that emerge from either are unintelligible. According to a nearby sign, the piece represents how voices are silenced with money, and how people are influenced by the proliferation of disinformation on the internet. (What it fails to mention is that billions of ordinary people now speak their thoughts more freely than ever because of the Information Age. As a blogger who pays close attention to such things, I can tell you that many ideas don’t go unheard because of stifling propaganda or censorship, but because the internet has become a complete babel of voices all desperately competing to be heard.)

Another unique installation concerns technology and our evolving understanding of what it is to be human. Aptly titled The Birth of Breakdown Clown, the interactive sculpture seems to have a great deal of potential. Visitors enter a small room and stand before a human-like robot that moves its head and limbs while engaging with the audience. A member of the audience is invited to stand before the robot and converse with it. Breakdown Clown is said to possess artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, during the performance that I witnessed, I couldn’t detect any sort of autonomous machine intelligence, or even working speech recognition. With an odd combination of humor, condescension and poetic rambling, the Genesis-quoting robot guided the entire conversation. Its often disconnected statements and responses were apparently composed by the artist.

Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason as a whole is a very forceful, challenging work of contemporary art that will strongly engage active minds. It presents unspeakable horror. It isn’t for the squeamish. It’s an examination of human darkness and potential inhuman darkness. It undertakes a quest for understanding. That which has come into existence tries to understand its own creation. An electronic clown tries to define the Mystery that underlies all things.

However, to my thinking, darkness should be contrasted with light. And clowns that are witty have a beating heart.

These photographs were taken by my poor old camera in very dim darkness, where no flash photography is permitted. The images are a bit blurry, but somehow that makes them more potent!

If you want to be intellectually challenged, and journey through galleries that are filled with warnings, uncertainty and darkness, check out Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, which is now showing at the San Diego Museum of Art through February 24, 2019.

Middle World. Mixed media, 1989-Current, by artist Tim Shaw.
Middle World. Mixed media, 1989-Current, by artist Tim Shaw.
Ancient symbols and strange figures contained in Tim Shaw's Middle World.
Ancient symbols and strange figures contained in Tim Shaw’s Middle World.
Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous, Working Drawing I. Ink, charcoal, and collage, 2015, by artist Tim Shaw.
Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous, Working Drawing I. Ink, charcoal, and collage, 2015, by artist Tim Shaw.
Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Alternative Authority. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Alternative Authority. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
The Birth of Breakdown Clown, an artificially intelligent, interactive, speaking robot by Irish sculptor Tim Shaw.
The Birth of Breakdown Clown, an artificially intelligent, interactive, speaking robot by Irish sculptor Tim Shaw.

If you’d like to read a few philosophical works of fiction that I’ve written–stories about the complexity of life–about the mingling of darkness and light–please visit Short Stories by Richard.