Historic Mural Memorializing Heroic AIDS Research Is Destroyed by Graffiti Vandals. Public Art Was Sponsored in 1988 by AIDS Project Los Angeles. Mural is Saved and Restored in Hollywood, CA.

Public Art Was Sponsored in 1988 by AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Mural is Saved and Restored in Hollywood, CA.

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A 3rd of the mural “Blue Moon Trilogy” by Russell Carlton 1987 Before Restoration.

See full image of mural After Restoration and video at end of blog post.

Though the mural is located in Hollywood CA, it was painted to promote awareness and support at the beginning of the organization of AIDS Project Los Angeles which battled to fight the disease worldwide.

The creation of the mural was a fundraiser for new AIDS Project Los Angeles and the artist, Russell Carlton, impassioned hundreds of volunteers to attend his “Love For Life” movement in 1987. This community interest and massive local participation alone gives historical significance to the successful efforts and merits thankful recognition.

The three panels of the mural represent a journey of self-empowerment and health, which was a vital message to a community fighting a deadly disease.  The first panel (section) is called “Eve of Conception,” the second, “Dawning of a New Age,” and third, “A Glorious Revelation.” The artwork is beautiful and worthy of preservation, as has been expressed by the neighborhood in which the mural is located, but it is the mural’s meaning that makes this undertaking of its preservation and restoration so important.

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The mural and its message were important enough to be supported by all major politicians in the Los Angeles area. It was given a memorial bronze plaque at the mural’s dedication in 1988 which reads:

Blue Moon Trilogy

Eve of Conception, Dawning of a New Age, A Glorious Revelation

A mural dedicated on April 30, 1988 to persons who have so courageously given us hope in living and finding the answers in overcoming this disease.

By artist Russell Carlton for the AIDS Project of Los Angeles

With special thanks to the following benefactors

American Protection Industries

California Community Foundation

Frederisk W. Field

James F. Foley

Hollywood Bowl

Kaleidoscope Films

Tom Fontana and Susan J. Lewis

Richard MacNaughton

MTV Networks, Inc.

Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Resnick

Samuel Jared Kushnick Foundation

Samuel P. Mandell Foundation

Lewis D. Seagler

And the many other contributors to this work of compassion

Edward D. Edelman, Supervisor 3rdDistrict, County of Los Angeles

Tom Bradley, Mayor, City of Los Angeles

Michael woo, Councilman 13thDistrict, City of Los Angeles

Honorary Chairs, Hal and Fran Linden

To join these people in the battle against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Please contact AIDS Project Los Angeles

Here is the artist, Russell Carlton, in 1988 local news interviews

https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=PfJlphhW-kg&u=/watch%3Fv%3DTuTY-CFy-3w%26feature%3Dem-upload_owner

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Russell Carlton being interviewed by local TV on AIDS Project fundraiser painting of the Blue Moon Trilogy.

Russell 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.

Since its last restoration by the artist and friends in 1993 (presumably to address graffiti), the mural has gone unmaintained until now… but never unappreciated by the neighborhood.

Having languished in it’s sorry state, recently the stars aligned (the City of Los Angeles recently reorganized its public art maintenance services through Department of Cultural Affairs and hired energetic and impassioned public art expert Yami Duarte) and the mural became a priority and was slated for restoration.

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.

In meetings with the DCA and the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (http://www.hhwnc.org), the general  feeling was optimistic and excited that Russell’s artwork and inspirational vision was finally getting the care and attention it deserved.

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Fine Art Conservation Laboratories worked hand in hand with the Department of Cultural Affairs, CalTrans, The Hollywood Bowl, David Ryu LA City Councilman’s office and the neighborhood organizations to undertake the sensitive issues surrounding the restoration of the 20 ft x 180 ft mural located in the underpass used by semi trucks as the onramp for the 101 freeway.

Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation brought the “A” Team together with Luisa Pari and Anna Frassine with technician Denver Dillon to undertake the 3 week challenge of cleaning the 3,600 sq. ft painting, repainting damaged details and applying a heavy duty protective coating to facilitate future maintenance. See the short summary video at the end of this article.

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Below, see full image of mural After Restoration.

BUT WAIT!! THERE”S MORE!!! In a meeting in City Hall after the restoration work was contracted, friends and neighborhood brought out historic photos that showed that the 7 ft gray painted section below the mural was actually part of the mural’s composition!!! It was decided to go ahead with the contracted restoration on the top 2/3rds and then address the fundraising and work on the bottom 1/3rd afterwards.

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After Restoration composite Blue Moon Trilogy by Russell Carlton 1987

Regarding the results of the restoration of the graffitied visible mural, the response from the neighborhood has been enthusiastic: This is from Carl Peter Ripaldi, VP of the WHCA https://www.whitleyheights.org

Dear Scott:

It was great meeting you yesterday. I just want to let you know how much WHCA is thrilled with the restoration of “Blue Moon Trilogy.” It is a wonderful boost for our community and serves as a great gateway greeting into Hollywood.

It sounds like you folks are on a fast track with the proper connections and interest to get the bottom third of the mural restored. Let me know if I or the WHCA can assist in any way to facilitate this.

As you had mentioned, the maintenance of the mural will be an ongoing challenge. It will be important to determine what agencies(y) will spear head that responsibility. As I had mentioned I would be happy to serve as a community watchdog for its preservation. We are hopeful that it will be protected from graffiti which is a constant threat in Hollywood around the freeway exits and sound walls. Lighting improvements would be helpful in the display of the mural especially in the evening hours. Hopefully a lighting improvement project can be fit into the overall restoration effort. Maybe a camera too could be installed to help with the protection of the mural.

Please keep me up to date on the progress in the complete restoration process.

Very sincerely yours,  Carl Peter Ripaldi, VP/WHCA

From one of the neighborhood organizers

The upper portion of Russell Carleton’s Blue Moon Trilogy in the Odin Underpass near the Hollywood Bowl has been restored with CD4’s funds and the Department of Cultural Affairs contractor(s)……..magnificiently by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories – Scott M. Haskins, Mural Conservator.

Unfortunately, we’ll still need to raise the funds to restore the bottom 1/3rd of the mural, which seemingly was covered up by Caltrans or a City agency long ago. When the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and CD4 staff allocated funds for the mural’s restoration, they didn’t allocate enough to do the whole mural. They hadn’t realized that there was an additional part of the mural which had been covered up —–seemingly for decades.

Now that you’ve seen 2/3rds of the mural, wouldn’t you want to be able to see the entire mural?

Orrin Feldman, also First VP, Hollywood Hill Neighborhood Council  http://www.hhwnc.org

From David Ryu’s Cahuenga District Office

Hi All, Figured it would be best to connect all the people on our teams that are now going to work on showing off Scott’s incredible work on the Trilogy Mural. It looks fabulous. I am including in this email our Comms Director. I know he is equally jazzed about highlighting this project.

Thanks, Cahuenga District Office

 

Here’s a short video of the restoration process

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCQM091PK74

For questions about mural restoration and conservation

contact Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation,

805 564 3438 faclartdoc@gmail.com

 

For more information regarding the varnishing of murals and anti-graffiti protection, refer to these blog posts…

http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/varnishing-a-mural-antigraffiti-measures-protecting-public-art/

http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/public-art-protection-varnishing-murals-and-oil-paintings-for-future-maintenance/

 

 

The Fine Art Conservation Laboratories Blog Post: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/murals/huge-hollywood-mural-monument-to-successful-aids-research-is-being-saved-and-restored/