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Diego Rivera mural gains landmark status, preventing potential sales



On Tuesday, after the San Francisco Art Institute, which has a $50 million painting, said that selling the painting would help pay off $19.7, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors began to designate the beloved Diego Rivera mural as a landmark with an 11-0 vote. The program million debts.

The designation of the mural as a landmark will severely limit how the 150-year-old institution can use it. The government official behind the measure stated that there is a high possibility that the mural will be sold. The removal of landmark murals requires the approval of the city’s extensive and authoritative historical preservation committee.

“There is a lot of money in this town,” said Aaron Peskin, a member of the board of directors in the area where the institute is located and the initiator of the proposal.

At a public hearing on the resolution on Monday, officials from the Art Academy objected. Pam Rorke Levy, Chairman of the Art Institute’s board of directors, said: “Now mark the murals. If there is no threat of imminent sale of the murals, if SFAI’s status is not fully considered, SFAI’s main and most valuable assets will be deprived of.”

The 1931 work titled “The Making of Mural, Showing the Architecture of a City” is a mural. The picture depicts the creation of cities and murals-architects, engineers, craftsmen, sculptors and painters working hard. Rivera himself can be seen from the back, holding a palette and brushes with his assistants. It is one of three murals created by Mexican muralists in San Francisco and has had a huge impact on other artists in the city.

Years of high-cost expansion and declining enrollment rates have plunged SFAI into a difficult financial situation, worsened by the pandemic and loan defaults. In July last year, a private bank announced that it would sell the school’s collateral, including its Chestnut Street campus, Rivera murals and 18 other works of art. Then in October, the University of California Board of Directors stepped in to buy the debt. Through a new agreement, the research will buy back property for all six years; if not, the University of California will own the campus.

Faced with the threat of foreclosure, school administrators are looking for suitable buyers, although Ms. Levy said that the school’s “first choice is to put the murals in the right place to attract sponsors or partner institutions to create A considerable amount of money. It will allow us to preserve, protect and present the mural to the public.”

Last month, Ms. Levy proposed two possibilities to board members and employees. One involved the filmmaker George Lucas (George Lucas) buying murals for the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles. (The museum said it would not comment on speculation about the acquisition.) Another person will see that the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has the ownership of the mural, but will leave it on campus as an accessory space.

But a museum spokeswoman said that the early discussions had no results. SFMOMA’s communications officer Jill Lynch told the New York Times: “We have no plans to acquire or donate SFAI murals.”

The Chestnut Street campus of the school has been a designated landmark building since 1977, but as part of the interior, the murals may be sold or demolished.

In recent days, former students and teachers have organized to oppose the sale of murals. Among them was the famous artist Catherine Opie, who publicly condemned the behavior of the school board and announced the withdrawal of the photos she planned to sell in the agency’s fundraising event.

She wrote: “I can no longer be part of the important historical relics left behind.”

Ms. Opie breathed a sigh of relief after learning that the murals might gain landmark status.

She told The Times: “I am happy and relieved.” “I am tired of using art as an asset in the organization’s first line of defense.”


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