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In Perspective, Fun: Rediscovered hidden Mosaics that tell Stories of California!

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Recently I became aware of the importance of mosaics that at the time of creation reflect the values and traditions, snapshots of culture then.

I had a meeting with an engineer preparing a structurally advanced base in the sand for my sculpture, “Puff of Wind” now at Manhattan Beach, CA, being moved to Junipro Beach, Below the Long Beach Museum of Art.

I was taken to the front entrance and introduced to a recently revealed exquisitely detailed mosaic of early California life.


2119


Asher Kelman: Mosaic by Millard Sheets
420 Ocean Avenue

Long Beach California
Fuji GFX 50s, 32-63mm Fujinon


But because it represented the values of the banking firm that had owned that commercial space, subsequent owners thought it was politically correct to hid it under a coat of plaster for decades!

It’s stunning to me how this could offend anyone! Was it the implied bare chested Native American on the left that upset folk? Or perhaps diverse ethnic groups standing equally together? Or I am missing the important nuances here?

Please comment and add your own interesting mosaic treasure finds!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
It is certainly exquisite work. Maybe it was simply covered up because the subsequent owner did not want anything reminding of the previous owner and was then forgotten?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Thanks for stopping by!

I will find more of these hidden treasures that went out of fashion and were covered up by barbarians!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
"Barbarians" is a bit strong. After all, they did not destroy the work, just covered with easy to remove plaster.
Fair enough! But they felt awkward about anything sentimental that gave love and respect to indigenous folk and tradesmen who paved the way for the more “modern” electronic society!

I used “Barbarian” as a metaphor for rolling over previous values that gave respect to those past ordinary citizens, traders and workers.

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
There is a lot more to show.I promise you will be amply rewarded in display of art for suffering my hyperbole, LOL!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
Fair enough! But they felt awkward about anything sentimental that gave love and respect to indigenous folk and tradesmen who paved the way for the more “modern” electronic society!
You don't know that. For all we know, they may simply have found the piece out of fashion, found it reminded them of the previous owners or else. When you suppose that they covered it because "it showed respect to indigenous folk", you are simply projecting modern concerns into an era long past. Not that racism did not exist in those times, it sure did. But the covering may have happened for quite different reasons. I actually think it happened for relatively innocent reasons and not racism: racism is a very strong emotion and usually leads to extreme reactions. If the people wanted the mosaic gone because it depicted respect for indigenous folk and they were racists, I would think they would have destroyed the mosaic and not simply covered it with something as simple to remove as plaster. But then, I don't really know either. Maybe plaster was much cheaper and they were content with the mosaic covered for cheap. The important part is that we (you and I) do not really know and should not assume otherwise.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I did t use the word racist. Just they didn’t want to be reminded!

This exactly as reported by the senior employee of the major tenant!

Asher
 

Jerome Marot

Well-known member
You did not use the word "racist", but it was implied by not wanting to be reminded of "ethnic groups standing equally together" or "respect to indigenous folk".
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
You did not use the word "racist", but it was implied by not wanting to be reminded of "ethnic groups standing equally together" or "respect to indigenous folk".
Yes that could be an impression one might have, observing with a current lexicon of charged words. So it’s my fault you were led astray!

It could certainly have been what we might call racist with venom, but I have heard no such invective.

Also the buildings that held them evolved, had new owners with no memory or nostalgia to intervene.

It appears to be Art which no longer had “connection to function”. The dismissiveness to native folk and past traders could have been merely the new leaders narrow focus on current business needs, without being either “servants of evolving fashion” or bearing avarice.

The past can be dismissed as not being needed, (or treasured) for the new function of the building and so a distraction to the companies focusing new business goals.

Asher
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Beverly Hills has a number of these lost and forgotten works.

This was found by chance in a storage area and conservators brought in to manage the restoration and mounting of it on the entrance to the new library parking garage.

2496


Mosaic by Millard Sheets
Asher Kelman: Beverly Hills Library Mosaic
Asher
 
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