October 9, 2012
It has taken 80 years, but Los Angeles today does honor to its history. After a painstaking rehabilitation, a long-hidden mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros will be unveiled. The mural has a rollicking history. It was once the center of controversy, and then it was shrouded for decades. Siqueiros was one of Mexico's great muralists - ranked with Jose Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera. His radical politics and his bold use of color and arresting imagery won him renown. An ardent Stalinist, he conspired to murder Leon Trotsky after Trotsky settled in Mexico City.
October 8, 2012 |
Eighty years ago today, civic leaders gathered outdoors on the second floor of an Olvera Street social club to dedicate a remarkable painting. "América Tropical," by visiting Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, was being unveiled on an outside wall of Italian Hall. Dean Cornwell, a prominent local illustrator who had just finished a sugary mural cycle about California history for the rotunda of the Central Library, said a few congratulatory words. Arthur Millier, The Times' art critic, would soon praise the politically trenchant painting for being "stern, strong, tragic.
September 29, 2012 |
"America Tropical" must be Los Angeles' most famous invisible artwork. Born in drama and buried in anger, Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros' monumental mural on Olvera Street has been a cause célèbre for decades. Siqueiros was commissioned to paint the 18-by-80-foot fresco in 1932 as a decoration for a rooftop beer garden, but it disappeared behind whitewash amid a controversy over its central image: a Mexican Indian lashed to a double cross with an American eagle proudly perched above him, wings spread.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 7, 2012 |
Joel Silver, producer of movie franchises "The Matrix," "Lethal Weapon" and "Sherlock Holmes," has bought the former U.S. post office in Venice and plans to refashion it as the new home of his Silver Pictures. The red-tile-roofed 1939 Works Progress Administration building on Windward Circle has been a beloved fixture in Venice. The interior features a mural painted by Edward Biberman in 1941 with the coastal community's visionary developer Abbot Kinney at its center, surrounded by beachgoers in old-fashioned bathing suits, men in overalls and once-ubiquitous oil derricks.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 1, 2012 |
For years, people went looking for Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument No. 137: a Dutch-themed hot chocolate shop that was one of Ernest Batchelder's earliest commissions. They came to a worn-looking building on West 6th Street downtown expecting to see the Arts and Crafts master tile-maker's murals of Dutch maidens in wooden clogs. What they found instead was a small, drab arcade, with stalls selling bargain vitamins, perfume, jewelry and hats. Tile was visible on the ceiling and walls, poorly lighted by fluorescent bulbs.
July 26, 2012 |
"Mural," the critically important painting in Jackson Pollock's development as a major American artist, has arrived in the conservation lab at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A visit Wednesday to see the monumental 1943 canvas, which is in the collection of the University of Iowa Museum of Art , shows why conservation work is imperative. What the artist called "a stampede" of shapes, lines of force and rhythmic colors across the canvas had a profound effect on American art, sweeping away the nativist ethos of his mentor, Thomas Hart Benton.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 15, 2012 |
It was billed as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. " The highest bidder in an online charity auction would get his name on a plaque next to a dazzling new Shepard Fairey mural at a Los Angeles hospital, a meeting with the celebrated artist and VIP status at an unveiling ceremony. A year and a half later, Fairey's work adorns the children's wing of L.A. County-USC Medical Center, but the name of the man who won the auction appears only on a lawsuit demanding his money back. It's an unseemly legal dispute pitting one of young Hollywood's favorite charities against an entertainment industry entrepreneur and reality television figure.
June 26, 2012 |
An important Jackson Pollock painting owned by the University of Iowa that Republican state legislators have lobbied to sell is now leaving the state -- temporarily. Next month the massive 1943 oil painting called "Mural" is traveling to the Getty Center, where it will be the subject of an extensive conservation effort expected to last 18 months. Pollock painted the canvas, which measures roughly 8 feet tall by 20 feet long, as a commission for collector Peggy Guggenheim a few years before he began his so-called drip paintings, his most famous work.
June 16, 2012 |
A 100-year-old downtown building with a mural by artist Johanna Poethig on one side is about to get a face-lift. But the 19-year-old mural ultimately will return to a different wall of the same building. Los Angeles city officials gathered Friday to announce the digital preservation of the mural, which in two years time will be resized and repainted on the onetime department store on Broadway near 4th Street. The nonprofit Social and Public Art Resource Center, a mural preservation organization, will use new technology to preserve Poethig's "Calle de la Eternidad" mural, which was painted on the building's facade in 1993.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 26, 2012 |
Amid a vigorous citizen campaign to raise awareness about the decay of San Francisco's Coit Tower and its Depression-era murals, city officials have announced a comprehensive effort to overhaul the historic landmark. Mayor Ed Lee and David Chiu, president of the Board of Supervisors, late Thursday announced the creation of a $1.7-million fund to repair the severely damaged frescoes and upgrade the dramatic concrete tower built in 1933 with a bequest from philanthropist Lillie Hitchcock Coit.