Millard Sheets art to be lost in Dallas demolition??

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Millard Sheets art to be lost in Dallas demolition??

Postby nichols » Wed Dec 21, 2005 8:26 pm

Image

http://www.nationaltrust.org/magazine/a ... 121905.htm

Will Art Fall With Dallas Bank?

Story by Meghan Hogan / Dec. 19, 2005

Three buildings in the complex will be demolished; the 1942 clock tower will remain. (Preservation Dallas)


When three of four buildings of the Dallas Mercantile Bank Complex are demolished this winter, the buildings won't be the only things coming down. Inside them are dozens and dozens of pieces of 50-year-old art, also endangered by the demolition.

"It's mostly murals and mosaics," says Dwayne Jones, executive director of Preservation Dallas. Except for the original c. 1942 clock-tower structure, the bank buildings, vacant since 1992, are being torn down for a $250 million apartment complex and park development project by Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises. Forest City, which is donating $20,000 towards the removal of the art, says no one should be concerned about the art's fate.

"A substantial amount of the artwork will be saved," says David Levey, executive vice president for Forest City. "Much of it is embedded in the walls and would be very, very difficult to remove, however. We will take out what we can."

Preservationists aren't as confident that the art will be rescued. "We just don't know at this point," Jones says. In addition to Forest City's $20,000 contribution, the city is donating $12,000, but estimates for the entire removal of the artwork are around $200,000, according to Jones.

California artist Millard Sheets (1907-1989), who did commissions for many public buildings, designed much of the artwork. "He was a very well known 20th-century muralist," Jones says, describing the art as "very dramatic," with details such as tiles on the elevator doors. The complex also features an Octavio Medellin-designed stained-glass ceiling.

The art, if saved, could be placed in other office buildings or displayed in one large museum exhibit. Preservation Dallas has hired a conservator to visit the buildings to assess the cost of removing each piece, but the asbestos abatement process began on Dec. 13, and time is running out. "We have about a month, maybe two or three," Jones says.

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Developer's funds save Merc mosaics

Postby pgharchfan » Fri Dec 23, 2005 8:27 pm

Developer's funds save Merc mosaics

Dallas: $270,000 project will extract, preserve historic downtown art

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, December 22, 2005

By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News

Dallas-based investor turned downtown developer Tim Headington will foot the more than $270,000 bill to extract and preserve decades-old mosaics, murals and freestanding artwork from the city's Mercantile Bank complex.

The art collection – which as recently as last month seemed fated for destruction during Forest City Enterprises' quarter-billion-dollar redevelopment of the historic complex – will remain downtown and on public display in its entirety, said City Council member Angela Hunt, who helped forge the deal.

Mr. Headington, who was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached for comment, has not decided where the art will be located.

"Our goal originally was simply to keep the collection from the wrecking ball," Ms. Hunt said. "But this – I couldn't be more excited. It's taken the stress out of my Christmas."

Scramble for benefactor

The announcement marks the end of weeks of frayed nerves, as city officials and art preservationists scrambled to find a benefactor to pay the lofty art extraction fees. Forest City, which broke ground on the Mercantile project last week, offered $20,000 toward preserving the art. Dallas City Hall pledged $12,000. But after an art conservator toured the facility, the price tag for saving the art soared past $200,000.

Ms. Hunt met with Mr. Headington and the art conservator Tuesday to seal the deal – one that had been in the works since the architectural firm ArchiTexas approached Mr. Headington about two weeks ago.

"Tim is extremely proud to be a part of this project," said Craig Melde, a principal with ArchiTexas who was with Mr. Headington on the businessman's first tour of the Merc.

"When he saw the art, he found it very valuable historically and in its beauty. It didn't take him long to realize it was something he wanted to preserve."

Dallas-based ArchiTexas has been working intensively with the developer of the Mercantile and Mr. Headington to guarantee the preservation of the artwork.

While the details haven't been finalized, Ms. Hunt said, the collection of murals and mosaics – most designed by California artist Millard Sheets – will stay together and stay downtown, in a gallery or in a building that is open to the public, she said.

Mr. Headington, president of Headington Oil Co., is a partner in Joule Urban Resort, a boutique hotel under construction on Main Street. But the hotel doesn't appear to be his first choice for where to display the art, Ms. Hunt said.

The art extraction is expected to begin immediately and take six to eight weeks, in keeping with Forest City's redevelopment timetable. The art conservator "recognizes this is an emergency – that this is triage," Ms. Hunt said. "We have to get started immediately to save the artwork."

And it will likely include the freestanding work in the Merc – pieces Forest City originally intended to keep. Executive Vice President David Levey said the company is leaning toward letting Mr. Headington include them in his collection. But because the exchange will be a private transaction, not a public one, he said, Forest City's original $20,000 offer of assistance is off the table.

One place?

"We're delighted and pleased he has stepped forward," Mr. Levey said. Mr. Headington's "interest is to have the entire collection so it can all be in one place. We'll be giving that very serious consideration."

The best-case scenario would have been to find someplace in the Mercantile to keep the artwork, said Dwayne Jones, executive director of Preservation Dallas. But Mr. Headington's generous offer is a close second.

"It's not ideal, but it's really good," he said. "I'm pleased Forest City is stepping forward to work out a deal with someone and that we've been able to find a local person to take the art."

Real estate editor Steve Brown and architecture critic David Dillon contributed to this report.

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Postby Lynxwiler » Tue Dec 27, 2005 11:33 am

Considering the possible threat to the Millard Sheets murals and mosaics at Wilshire's Scottish Rite Temple, I had to find images of the Dallas Mercantile Bank artwork. They are stunning—I've never seen freestanding mosaic artwork before. What a beauty!

http://www.angelahunt.com/photos/list.p ... e_Art_Tour

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Postby nichols » Tue Dec 27, 2005 12:03 pm

THANKS LYNX!!

There are VERY similar mosaic 'discs' on Sheets' own office building in Claremont....

Image

These 3D ones area AMAZING!
Image
ImageImage

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Postby Chrisgreen » Wed Dec 28, 2005 2:48 pm

Wow! I have seen that building a million times, but never knew all that artwork was inside. So beautiful. I hope they can save part of it, especially the freestanding pieces!

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Postby Chrisgreen » Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:09 pm

Oops, I had missed the "happy ending" news story. Great news! I just hope the artwork is displayed in a suitable way.


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