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Renegade Statue Celebrating Extinct Butterfly Appears in Golden Gate Park

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Photo by Christian Jurinka

A statue honoring the recently extinct Xerces blue butterfly has appeared in Golden Gate Park. BAS reader Christian Jurinka just sent in this fantastic tip the other day:

One of your loyal readers here. I was lucky enough to be in GGP for Earth Day. What a treasure it is that we all have the park. It is amazing. Anyway, I was picnicking near hippie hill and decided to walk down to see if anyone was roller skating and dancing on JFK, near the De Young and saw a super cool new installation of a long extinct butterfly, called the Xerces blue butterfly. The plaque reads, “Driven to extinction by urban development and the destruction of the sand dunes of the San Francisco Peninsula. The Xerces blue was last seen in the Presidio on March 23, 1943.”

See the attached pictures. This is a beautiful piece of art and I feel like SF really hit it out of the park with this new installation.  It should be on everyone’s new list of cool, hidden gems to visit. Keep doing what you do!


What’s extra interesting about this piece though is that, a source who wishes to remain anonymous, informed us that it’s a renegade art piece and was installed at night just before Earth Day. This means that the statue wasn’t sanctioned by the City, Rec and Parks, or the SF Arts Commission.

Judging by where the statue is, and the fact that there’s no way the artist also brought in a giant concrete plinth in the middle of the night, the Xerces blue butterfly is replacing a statue that was taken down in 2020 when statues of shitty people in history came down around the country.

Considering the words in the below photo are about the California Missions, it’s safe to guess that the plinth previously held the statue of Father Junípero Serra, who created Mission system and enslaved thousands of native people up and down the California coast.

What happens now makes is gonna make it all even extra extra interesting. Since this is a renegade art piece, Rec and Parks is going have to decide whether to leave it up or take it down. And given that this is San Francisco, it could of course turn into a wild controversy.

What do you think? Do you want them to keep the statue up? If so contact the SF Arts Commission.

(Editor’s Note: We previously were telling people to contact Rec and Parks, but someone from there just informed us that SF Arts Commission is in charge of the statuary in Golden Gate Park)

The plaque that adorns the statue’s plinth. Photo by Christian Jurinka

Learn more about the Xerces blue butterfly and how it became extinct right here.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.