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Thursday
Nov032011

preserving belkin's mural: new york

Murals are about the communities and neighborhoods that they becomes a part of—not to mention the building walls. Whether indoors or outside, inherently they’re one of the most fragile types of artwork created.

And as public art, or street art, there’s no museum staff or board of directors to protect them. Or to preserve them—one of the biggest challenges for outdoor works which are exposed to harsh elements 24/7.

Thankfully, the Heritage Preservation—a DC based national organization—is recognizing the need for such preservation and restoration at the local, community level.

Earlier this month it assessed Against Domestic Colonialism, a 50’ x 60’ outdoor mural in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Painted in 1972, the stucco—or canvas of the mural—is separating from the building’s wall, most likely due to water seepage between the two. Over time, colors have faded and large areas have simply fallen off looking like missing puzzle pieces.

Over the past few years, Hell’s Kitchen has been getting more attention and rehabilitation. But it was over 30 years ago that CITYArts, inc., found Belkin to create a work on one of the building walls overlooking May Mathews and Alexandra Palmer Park.

Other major cities also have mural arts programs such as Los Angeles and Chicago—but in Philadelphia, where hundreds of murals can be found, their Mural Arts Program employs hundreds of artists, gives tours, and generates millions for the local economy.

Referring to artist Arnold Belkin’s mural as not only his only outdoor work in the US, but also one of the most endangered public murals in the country in need of urgent preservation efforts. Today, Heritage Preservation considers about a dozen equally significant murals to be highly endangered.

Thanks to skip, soho sales, for the photo.

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