The utility box at the northwest corner of Duboce and Church, on which artist Mona Caron had painted a delightful optical illusion a full year ago, has been unceremoniously replaced with the gray box above.
The switch was originally reported by Mission Mission on Friday. Caron's piece, known as "MANIFESTATION STATION," had depicted a utopian vision of the intersection, featuring grass and a stream and bicyclists and pedestrians peacefully coexisting. When viewed at just the right angle, it lined up with the scene behind it.
Fortunately, the two boxes on the Fillmore side of the intersection have been spared, at least as of yesterday:
No explanation has emerged yet for this artistic atrocity (artrocity?). As Caron, who was apparently not informed of the piece's removal in advance, wrote on her Facebook page, "Well, some things sure don't last long..."
Update 8pm: We've just heard from SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose, who also left a comment below. Rose writes:
"The controller box was replaced after the completion of the Church & Duboce Rail Replacement project, as part of a system-wide upgrade of various electrical sectionalized switches and associated controller boxes. The urgency of replacing the switches was made apparent after the nine day shutdown at Church and Duboce, when one of the switches failed shortly after it was re-energized. To upgrade the switch at Church & Duboce, the associated painted box also had to be replaced. We are working to have the box re-painted by the artist. We anticipate this process will be complete within the next 3 months."