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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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San Francisco's Ferry Buildling is getting ready to reopen, according to the local paper:
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/12/02/FERRY.TMP&nl=top

It sounds like the Miguel Covarrubias (sp?) murals (seen on the endpapers of BOT) have been removed. Does anyone know what happened to them?

M

I was just thinking about this myself today, Cindy. I remember that when the remodeling began, there were efforts to see that it was preserved and possibly taken to a new location. I seem to remember that Otto may have been involved in this effort, or maybe it's just that I saw a picture of him in front of it. I fear it may have been destroyed. That would be a huge disgrace.

He is also the artist on the Don The Beachcomber menu, is he not?

-martin

On 2002-12-02 11:10, martiki6 wrote:
<I was just thinking about this myself today, Cindy. I remember that when the remodeling began, there were efforts to see that it was preserved and possibly taken to a new location.>

Weren't these murals originally done for the 1939 World's Fair at Treasure Island? I'd love to see them back there, in the "future airport terminal" building.

I haven't seen the menu, but if you show me one, I could tell you immediately.

More on the Miguel Covarrubias murals at the SF Ferry Building:

I e-mailed the reporter who wrote yesterday's Chronicle article, but he hasn't replied.

I then dug around on the Web, and found out that the SF Art Commission turned the murals over to the city agency that oversees Treasure Island in March 2001. The murals will be restored, but I couldn't find anything on when we can view them again.

--cyn

I just heard back from the Chronicle reporter. He said several people had contacted him asking about the murals and he was investigating it further. I told him what I'd found.

--cyn

M

Cool. Thanks for the follow up Cindy. Hope to see you graveside on the 10th.

-martin

On 2002-12-02 12:14, cynfulcynner wrote:

On 2002-12-02 11:10, martiki6 wrote:

Weren't these murals originally done for the 1939 World's Fair at Treasure Island?

Correct. These babys are one of my pet projects. Please keep me informed.

No, the guy who did theclassic Beachcomber menu cover (BOT, P68) copied several icons from the various Covarrubias murals, which were available complete as beautifully lithographed posters in a folder at the show in 1939. In later years these were used a lot in Polynesian restaurants as decor, and their icons were copied for menus and matchbooks. Check out the Hawaiian and Marquesan Tiki and the Samoan Tapa cloth on the Beachcomber menu and find them on the BOT end pages map by Covarrubias.
Ironically, only 5 of the six murals (Economy, Transportation, Flora And Fauna, Native Dwellings and People of the Pacific) hung in the S.F. port building all these years. The ONE, The Artforms of the Pacific, was "lost" while all of them were loaned to the New York Museum of Natural History in 1940. Though the Artforms map was one of the four maps that measured 15x24 feet, they were painted on 3x3 panels and thus easily stored .
What happend in New York in 1940? This to me is THE great art theft mystery of the 20th century....

On 2002-12-04 15:53, bigbrotiki wrote:
These babys are one of my pet projects. Please keep me informed.

I got another e-mail from the Chronicle reporter today, and he told me the murals have definitely been moved to Treasure Island.

I have a feeling it will be at least several years before we can view these again. The remaining fair buildings need seismic work and are not ADA compliant. Also, the murals are worn in spots (from years of people touching them) and require restoration. As us locals already know, San Francisco doesn't have the money for this sort of thing right now.

I'm going to a holiday party in the newly restored Ferry Building next week -- you'll get a full report.

--cyn

Good News!

The Covarrubias 'Pagaent of the Pacific' murals (5 of the 6) have been restored and are on display.

They were exhibited until last month in Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology. They were then moved to Monterrey, Nuevo León, to be displayed (until January, 2008) in an exhibit of American migration, at the Universal Forum of Cultures.

That is perhaps an 8 hour drive, to those of you who live in southern Texas!

I do not know where they will be shown after this .... perhaps a return visit to San Francisco, since the initial museum exhibit was titled 'Miguel Covarrubias in Mexico and San Francisco'

The following links to a nice article on Covarrubias and the murals....

http://dti.inah.gob.mx/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=105&Itemid=98

Vern

Vern, I say it again, you the MAN!


Urban archeologist Sven-Tiki Kirsten in front of "People of the Pacific", SF World Trade building, 1992

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