WAACNewsletter
Volume 10, Number 1, Jan. 1988, pp.14-15

In the News

Chris Stavroudis, column editor

Fall, 1987. Artists Equity News, The National. "Artist Files $5.5 Million Suit in Response to Destruction of Mural". According to the article, Los Angeles artist Tom Van Sant is suing The Aspen Corporation, AT&T, Mitsui Fudosan Inc., and Wells Fargo Bank for intentionally destroying his 1967 mural California Migration. The mural, proposed for the commission by the building's architect William Pereira, hung in the main lobby of the Crocker Citizens Plaza, in Los Angeles. When Mitsui leased the building to AT&T, they remodelled the building and added another floor to accommodate computers. It is alleged that floor beams were driven through the mural and a wall was nailed to its face. The suit is the largest to be filed under 1980 California Arts Preservation Act. The law states "that the physical alteration or destruction of fine art, which is an expression of the artist's personality, is detrimental to the artist's reputation, and artists therefore have an interest in protecting their works from alteration and destruction". And further: "No person, except an artist who owns and possesses a work of fine art which the artist has created, shall intentionally commit, or authorize the intentional commission of, any physical defacement, mutilation, alteration, or destruction of a work of fine art."

5 September 1987. The Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition. "It Pays to Come Clean, Curator Says," in an article about William Chandler, the Associate Curator of Decorative Arts describes his project for the conservation maintenance of the outdoor sculpture collection at the San Diego Museum of Art. Arthur Beale, Director of Research at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Balboa Art Conservation Center consulted on the project.

October 1987. AEA News. "San Diego Muralist Goes to Court, Wins Award" Michael Schnorr gave his four murals in Chicano Park and one at the San Ysidro Health Center a coating of "Vandl-Guard" anti-graffiti protective coating. That was during 1979-80. In 1981, he began to notice the murals were cracking and deteriorating, and in 1982 filed a lawsuit with collaborator Susan Yamagata claiming that "Vandl-Guard" was slowly destroying the murals. Schnorr said sections that weren't treated with the product remain intact. Named in the lawsuit were the manufacturer, Stinnes Oil and Chemical, the distributor, Weatherman, Inc., and Frazee paint stores, where he bought the coating. Schnorr sought $1 million in damages. A Superior Court jury decided that the coating was at least partially to blame for the deterioration and awarded Schnorr $40,250 for emotional distress and loss of earning capacity. Schnorr teaches at Southwestern College and has studios in San Diego and Florence Italy. (reprinted with permission, AEA News, Artists Equity Association, San Diego Chapter. October 1987, p1.)

30 December 1987. San Diego Tribune. "Is it or isn't it a Petrus Christus?", "Science helping answer this $6 million question for the Timken Gallery". The article outlines a research project to examine the painting with infrared reflectography. Maryan Ainsworth, Senior Research Associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is directing the project. The article discusses the Museum's plan to contract David Bull of the National Gallery, Washington, to undertake the eventual conservation treatment.

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