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Diego Rivera murals gain groundbreaking status and block potential sales

On Tuesday, city officials designated the mural of their beloved Diego Rivera as a landmark after the San Francisco Art Institute, which owns a $ 50 million painting, said selling it would help pay off the $ 19.7 million debt. Unanimously voted to start the process of doing so.

Designating a mural as a landmark severely limits the way institutions with a history of 150 years use it, and civil servants behind the bill say that mural sales are likely to be off the table for now. Stated. Removal of groundbreaking status murals requires the approval of the city’s widespread history preservation committee.

“We have a lot of money in this town,” said Andrew Peskin, an official and sponsor of the proposal, selected from the district where the institute is located. “There is a better way to get out of their turmoil than the painful plan to sell murals.”

The 1931 work entitled “Creating frescoes showing urban buildings” is a fresco among frescoes. In this tableau, architects, engineers, craftsmen, sculptors and painters work hard to depict the creation of both cities and murals. Rivera herself, along with his assistant, can be seen from behind with a palette and brushes. This is one of San Francisco’s three frescoes by a Mexican mural painter who had a great influence on other artists in San Francisco.

Years of costly expansion and reduced registrations have put SFAI in a difficult financial situation exacerbated by pandemics and loan defaults. Last July, the private bank announced that the University of California Board would sell school collateral, including the Chestnut Street campus, Rivera murals, and 18 other artworks, before buying debt in October. The new contract allows the institute to buy back real estate in six years. If not, the University of California will own the campus.

Faced with the threat of foreclosure, school managers sought out the right buyers, but director Pam Rorke Levy said the school’s “first option is to install murals and attract patrons and partner agencies. That is to create a substantive fund that allows the murals to be preserved, protected and made publicly available. “

Last month, Levy presented two possibilities to board members and staff. First, filmmaker George Lucas purchased a mural from the Lucas Narrative Art Museum in Los Angeles. (The museum said it would not comment on speculation about the acquisition.) Another would have seen the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art take ownership of the mural, but leave it on campus as an annex.

However, a museum spokeswoman said nothing was gained from the early discussions. “We have no plans to acquire or donate SFAI murals,” SFMOMA’s Head of Communications, Jill Lynch, told The New York Times.

The school’s Chestnut Street campus has been a landmark since 1977, but the murals may have been sold or removed as part of its interior.

Recently, former students and faculty members have organized to oppose the sale of murals. They included the famous artist Catherine Opie, who denounced the Board of Education’s actions and issued an open letter announcing the withdrawal of photographs that were planned to be sold by the institute’s fundraiser.

“I can no longer be part of a heritage that sells off some of the essential unique history,” she writes.

Opie sighed with relief after hearing that the murals were likely to gain groundbreaking status.

“I was thrilled and relieved,” she told the Times. It’s tedious to see art being used as a front-line asset in the defense of institutions. “

Diego Rivera murals gain groundbreaking status and block potential sales

Source link Diego Rivera murals gain groundbreaking status and block potential sales

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