Do you remember the historical-looking exhibition that was installed last year in one of the First Street windows of the county office building that used to be the Carithers department store?
It included the city of Napa's "first traffic camera," made of old lumber and glass; a towering effigy of Ma Berenstain Bear, with a descriptive panel detailing the children's-book character's early life here; and exhibits celebrating the inventions in Napa of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the thumb's-up sign, Peet's Coffee & Tea and more.
The elaborate display drew laughs from locals and bemused responses from visitors: "I didn't know Ma Berenstain Bear was from Napa," said one of my smartest friends from out of town.
Well, she's not: The entire window full of "Napa History" was the creation of a pair of artists taking part in the Art on First series: Jimmy DiMarcellis, who uses the name Porous Walker, and David Hopp.
Their artists' statement for the work, published on the website, reads
David Hopp and Jimmy DiMarcellis have been collecting and displaying Historical information for the last 150 years. The duo has had their artworks displayed in magazines, galleries and museums around the world. The Fictitious Napa Historical Museum exhibit features actual historical items that were discovered around Napa County and in the minds of the two artists. The exhibition is designed to inspire laughter and imaginations.
The two even published a booklet with more fun fictions and illustrations, including an entry about the "Napa Waterfall Society (which) was founded in 1919 and over the summer built a working waterfall where In-N-Out Burger now stands. The waterfall was replaced by In-N-Out Burger in 1943."
The "historical" window display has been replaced by another artist's work in the 2012 Art on First series, but Porous Walker is back with a new project in which he is relabeling various Napa landmarks as his own creations.
His friend and fellow prankster Dan Graham, a Napa bookstore manager, musician and funnyman who last year staged a completely fictitious book reading complete with made-up text from made-up writers portrayed by actors at Slack Collective, passes on a photo of the building at 1615 Second Street adorned with a label reading:
Napa Valley Register
by Porous Walker
(Collection of the City of Napa)
Have you seen any of these labels around town? Let us know in the comments. Better yet, share a photo!