Mural Restored Memorializing Successful AIDS Research Located Near The Hollywood Bowl
Just completed in time for Gay Pride Month, the mural restoration of the 1988 monumental, iconic, “historical” memorial mural celebrating the medical success of AIDS research (painted during a frightening time in the gay communities) which has had widespread community support. Russell Charlton, the artist, conceived the Blue Moon Trilogy design after struggling with the life-threatening illness, as well as seeing so many of his friends suffer and die from AIDS. Russell Carlton passed away in 1998, reportedly unafraid and outwardly courageous and encouraging to others.
Now closing in on 35 years old, the mural has remained a source of pride of the surrounding neighborhoods. Yet, the mural has been abused by vandals because of its easy accessibility. So, due to the softness and poor quality of the original house paint, the mural’s damage was devasting, practically obliterating the memorial, resulting in the need to have the mural repainted. Russell Carlton’s parents signed an artist’s rights agreement in 2017 and enthusiastically supported a restoration that rigorously respected the artist’s original composition, design and colors. But, knowing that the original painting materials were inferior in quality, they approved its repainting under the above conditions. This decision was consistent with other contemporary murals by living artists on very damaged color field areas. Was this ethical? Here’s an article that got international attention: “Is the repainting of a contemporary mural in the name of restoration ever acceptable? The case of Blue Moon Trilogy” Newsletter of the International Institute of Conservation (IIC) https://www.iiconservation.org/system/files/publications/journal/2019/b2019_4.pdf
VandlGuard IsoFree 2 part urethane protective coating from RainGuard Pro was applied in 4 coats to protect the restored mural as the final step in restoration and protection against graffiti (or to facilitate public art mural maintenance – graffiti removal). This anti-graffiti varnish is vetted and designated by the Department of Cultural Affairs of Los Angeles and Caltrans for outdoor murals. Participation in removing inscriptions and “light graffiti” on the part of the neighborhood will ensure that the mural remains more attractive and cleaner… and the cleaner the mural is maintained, this will discourage many other taggers and the size of the tags. Here’s a blog post with more details about this: https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/does-a-mural-need-varnish-if-graffiti-is-not-a-problem/
There was concern, also, about the inevitable content of lead in the pigments for this public art but the concerns were satisfied when it was realized that the original colors would be encapsulated in resins and repainting, covered by ample layers of anti-graffiti coatings. The mural restoration (repainting over the original) of the 186 ft mural was recently completed by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories under contract with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Here is the project review blogpost with a quick video review at the end of the article: https://www.fineartconservationlab.com/historical-aids-research-memorial-mural- in-hollywood-ca-restored/
The iconic, historic, monumental, 186 ft mural, Blue Moon Trilogy by Russell Charlton, located in the 101 freeway underpass on Odin St. in front of the Hollywood Bowl. Restored by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories under contract with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs