Maybe I should commend architecture critic John King for being brave and confident enough in his own aesthetic opinion to come out denouncing the Bay Lights as underwhelming and unworthy of future funding. Nah, let's all just yell at him and call him a withering killjoy who's been picking apart other people's cornices and curtain walls too long. Long live the Bay Lights!!

While most everyone finds artist Leo Villareal's ambitious, 20-month-old Bay Bridge installation delightful, inspiring, and some might even say stunning, King thinks it's just a silly, superficial piece that is "the visual equivalent of background music." And he poo-poos the efforts of backers to raise money to extend the life of the lights another ten years.

Intended as a temporary, two-year installation that grew out of Villareal's ephemeral LED works at Burning Man, the Bay Lights became an immediate hit and a touchpoint for all Bay Area residents in their evening trips to the Embarcadero after premiering in March 2013. For me, even as we approach the two-year mark, the piece still feels new if only because I'm so rarely over in that part of town, and whenever I am I'm like, "Wow. We are lucky to have this."

Sure, maybe the novelty is bound to wear off over time, but part of the reinstallation effort next year — which is likely to be funded through private donations from wealthy individuals — would involve the use of heartier, more weather-resistant LEDs, and Villareal is bound to reprogram the thing for freshness too.

The lights have to come down in March per a previous agreement with CalTrans, who is repainting the western span of the Bay Bridge next year. The foundation formed to back the Bay Lights, Illuminate the Arts, needs $4 million in order to comply with a letter of understanding that the Bay Area Toll Authority is voting on today. In that agreement, the toll authority would take resposibility for ongoing maintenance of a future reinstallation to the tune of $250,000 per year. The total money needed to reinstall that lights for a decade to come would is $12 million, as SFist previously reported.

Illuminate the Arts is also planning a very cool, second light installation that would run up Market Street and show the movement of trains below ground, which is still seeking funding.

King makes a nostalgic reference to Christo and Jeanne-Claude's mid-1970s installation "Running Fence" that snaked through Marin and Sonoma Counties, and how that would no doubt look worn and be a bore if it had remained up any longer than it did.

But come on, John. I know you were never thrilled with the Bay Lights. But this is kind of the equivalent of taking a ten-year-old to see X-Men: Days of Future Past in 3-D, listening to him gush about how awesome it is, and then spending twenty minutes trying to explain to him how Hollywood only produces anti-intellectual crap and he really ought to go see Boyhood instead.