August 12, 2007

Pioneering modernist Helen Lundeberg's WPA mural restored

The History of Transportation Mural Works Project Administration (WPA) Arts project, completed in 1940 and designed by Helen Lundeberg. Located in the Art Park at Manchester Blvd and Grevillea Avenue.

Daniel Hernandez in the LA Weekly reports: "The mural represents a renewed sense of identity for Inglewood, which can’t seem to shake its reputation as a hotbed of gang violence. The reality is that Inglewood was once the “cultural center” of the South Bay, home to swanky department stores and car dealerships, said Diane Sambrano of the Historical Society of Centinela Valley. In many ways, that New Deal vibe still lingers over the city. There’s something classic and old-school optimistic about some aspects of Inglewood, from its residents to its cleanly manicured streets. At its new location, The History of Transportation sits directly under the LAX flight path. Planes soar overhead, from behind the mural, as if springing from Lundeberg’s vision. On Saturday, docents from the historical society will appear in 1930s period dress, hoping to emphasize the mural’s ties to the history of Inglewood and the region that spawned the aerospace industry. The mural, like its artist and its community, is worth celebrating. " Read more.

Suzanne Muchnic reports in the LA Times: "Sixty-seven years after it was installed in Inglewood, with great fanfare, and six years after it was removed for restoration, in deplorable condition, Helen Lundeberg's massive WPA mural "The History of Transportation" has a new home. The 60-panel, 240-foot-long artwork runs along a curved wall in the new Grevillea Art Park, close to Inglewood City Hall and High School....This is quite a comeback for the mural, which was badly battered and disfigured before it underwent treatment at Sculpture Conservation Studio in West Los Angeles. Made of petrachrome, a terrazzo-like material composed of crushed rock embedded in tinted mortar, the artwork was built to last. But two panels were destroyed by wayward vehicles; others were cracked and buried under layers of graffiti." Read more.