This public mural memorial monument located by the Hollywood Bowl was originally funded by AIDS Project of LA. The bronze plaque, from the dedication in 1988 on the mural will outlive us all. It reads:
Blue Moon Trilogy
Eve of Conception, Dawning of a New Age, A Glorious Revelation
A mural dedicated on April 30, 1988 to persons who have so courgeously given us hope in living and finding the answers in overcoming this disease.
By artist Russell Carlton for the AIDS Project of Los Angeles
With special thanks to the following benefactors
American Protection Industries
California Community Foundation
Frederisk W. Field
James F. Foley
Tom Fontana and Susan J. Lewis
MTV Networks, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart A. Resnick
Samuel Jared Kushnick Foundation
Samuel P. Mandell Foundation
Lewis D. Seagler
And the many other contributors to this work of compassion
Edward D. Edelman, Supervisor 3rdDistrict, County of Los Angeles
Tom Bradley, Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Michael woo, Councilman 13thDistrict, City of Los Angeles
Honorary Chairs, Hal and Fran Linden
To join these people in the battle against Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Please contact AIDS Project Los Angeles
Russell Carlton, the artist, had hundreds of volunteers attend his “Love For Life” fundraiser in 1987. This community interest and participation gives historical significance alone and merits recognition.
The three panels of the mural represent a journey of self-empowerment and health, which was a vital message to a community fighting a deadly disease. The first panel (section) is called “Eve of Conception,” the second, “Dawning of a New Age,” and third, “A Glorious Revelation.” The artwork is beautiful and worthy of preservation, as has been expressed by the neighborhood in which the mural is located, but it is the mural’s meaning that makes this undertaking of its preservation and restoration so important.
Here is the YouTube link that includes several historic interviews with Russell Carlton, the artist:
Russell conceived the Blue Moon Trilogy design after struggling with the life-threatening illness, as well as seeing so many of his friends suffer and die from AIDS. Russell Carlton passed away in 1998, reportedly unafraid and outwardly courageous and encouraging to others.
Since its last restoration by the artist and friends in 1993 (presumably to address graffiti), the mural has gone unmaintained until now… but never unappreciated by the neighborhood.
Phase 1 of the Art Restoration
Having languished in it’s sorry state, recently the stars aligned (the City of Los Angeles recently reorganized its public art maintenance services through Department of Cultural Affairs and hired energetic and impassioned public art expert Yami Duarte) and the mural became a priority and was slated for restoration.
Russell Carlton’s parents signed an artist’s rights agreement in 2017 and enthusiastically supported a restoration that rigorously respected the artist’s original composition, design and colors. But, knowing that the original painting materials were inferior in quality, they approved its repainting under the above conditions. This decision was consistent with other contemporary murals by living artists on very damaged color field areas.
In meetings with the DCA and the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (http://www.hhwnc.org), the general feeling was optimistic and excited that Russell’s artwork and inspirational vision was finally getting the care and attention it deserved.
Fine Art Conservation Laboratories worked hand in hand with the Department of Cultural Affairs, CalTrans, The Hollywood Bowl, the 4th District Councilman’s office
and the neighborhood organizations to undertake the sensitive issues surrounding the restoration of the 20 ft x 186 ft mural located in the underpass used by semi trucks as the onramp for the 101 freeway.
Scott M. Haskins, Head of Painting Conservation brought the “A” Team together with Luisa Pari and Anna Frassine with technician Denver Dillon to undertake the challenge of cleaning the 3,600 sq. ft painting, repainting damaged details and applying a heavy duty protective coating to facilitate future maintenance. The work was done in two phases. See the short summary video next paragraph below.
See full image of mural After Restoration at end of blog post.
BUT WAIT!! THERE”S MORE!!! In a meeting in City Hall after the restoration work of the top 2/3rds of the mural was contracted, friends and neighborhood brought out historic photos that showed that the 7 ft gray painted section below the mural was actually part of the mural’s composition!!! It was decided to go ahead with the contracted restoration on the top 2/3rds and then address the fundraising and work on the bottom 1/3rd afterwards as Phase 2.
Here’s a short video of the mural restoration process
Phase 2 of the Mural Conservation Project
After the Covid downtime, Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles was good made good the DCA’s promise to finish the restoration of the mural with the Phase 2 restoration by the same “A” Team of Fine Art Conservation Laboratories.
Of course all the same collaborative efforts were required as with the first part of the project: Coordination and cooperation took place, under the guiding light of Yami Duarte of the Department of Cultural Affairs who choreographed Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, CalTrans, The Hollywood Bowl, the 4th District Councilman’s office
and the neighborhood organizations. It took serious skills to consider and satisfy the sensitive issues surrounding the restoration of the 20 ft x 186 ft mural located in the underpass used by semi trucks as the onramp for the 101 freeway.
For instance, the set up of the security fences for the project and the power washing of the extensive layer of truck exhaust that had accumulated on the mural over the last years was calendared, by mistake, on the opening night of the Hollywood Bowl… a problem as the underpass where the mural is located is a major thoroughfare for traffic for the Bowl’s events! Scott Haskins, Head of Art Conservation, was up with the power washers at 2 am the next morning to fit the work into the schedule and avoid the traffic!!!
This public art restoration project was undertaken the last two weeks of April 2022
For mural restoration and conservation questions
contact Scott M. Haskins, Head of Conservation,
805 564 3438 firstname.lastname@example.org
“The City of Los Angeles, State of California’s Certificate of Recognition is hereby presented to Fine Art Conservation Laboratories. On behalf of there City of Los Angeles and the Fourth District, we are proud to recognize your contributions and dedication to restoring this beautiful art piece (public art mural, Blue Moon Trilogy). Your commitment to cultural creativity and public displays of art in Hollywood is an inspiration to us all. We commend you for restoring this art piece to commemorate the people who have lost their lives to AIDS (and to the researchers that found the means to stop the spread of the disease). Thank you for beautifying our community and we wish you success in the future.”
We at FACL, applaud the great service, professionalism and capabilities of Depart of Cultural Affairs, Yami Duarte for her leadership on this project.
Also recognized are the exceptional talents of art conservators Scott M. Haskins, Luisa Pari and Ann Frassine along with art conservation technician Denver Dillon. Essential and capable administrative home office assistance was provided by Genevieve Dillon.
Regarding the results of the restoration of the graffitied mural, the response from the neighborhood has been enthusiastic: This is from Carl Peter Ripaldi, VP of the WHCA https://www.whitleyheights.org
It was great meeting you yesterday.
I just want to let you know how much WHCA is thrilled with the restoration of “Blue Moon Trilogy”
It is a wonderful boost for our community and serves as a great gateway greeting into Hollywood.
It sounds like you folks are on a fast track with the proper connections and interest to get the bottom third of the mural restored.
Let me know if I or the WHCA can assist in any way to facilitate this.
As you had mentioned, the maintenance of the mural will be an ongoing challenge.
It will be important to determine what agencies(y) will spear head that responsibility.
As I had mentioned I would be happy to serve as a community watchdog for its preservation.
We are hopeful that it will be protected from graffiti which is a constant threat in Hollywood around the freeway exits and sound walls.
Lighting improvements would be helpful in the display of the mural especially in the evening hours.
Hopefully a lighting improvement project can be fit into the overall restoration effort.
Maybe a camera too could be installed to help with the protection of the mural.
Please keep me up to date on the progress in the complete restoration process.
Very sincerely yours,
Carl Peter Ripaldi, VP/WHCA
From David Ryu’s Cahuenga District Office
Figured it would be best to connect all the people on our teams that are now going to work on showing off Scott’s incredible work on the Trilogy Mural. It looks fabulous.
I am including in this email our Comms Director. I know he is equally jazzed about highlighting this project.
Thanks, Cahuenga District Office
From the Artist’s Partner
Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to help realize this restoration. Thanks again for your dedication to the project. We could not have dreamed of a better result. Thank you Scott and FACL.
From one of the neighborhood organizers
The upper portion of Russell Carleton’s Blue Moon Trilogy in the Odin Underpass near the Hollywood Bowl has been restored with CD4’s funds and the Department of Cultural Affairs contractor(s)……..magnificiently by Fine Art Conservation Laboratories – Scott M. Haskins, Mural Conservator.
Unfortunately, we’ll still need to raise the funds to restore the bottom 1/3rd of the mural, which seemingly was covered up by Caltrans or a City agency long ago. When the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and CD4 staff allocated funds for the mural’s restoration, they didn’t allocate enough to do the whole mural. They hadn’t realized that there was an additional part of the mural which had been covered up —–seemingly for decades.
Now that you’ve seen 2/3rds of the mural, wouldn’t you want to be able to see the entire mural?
Orrin Feldman, also First VP, Hollywood Hill Neighborhood Council http://www.hhwnc.org
Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council http://www.hhwnc.org Mission: Create a more livable community and city by establishing an open line of communication between the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council (HHWNC), the government, neighboring councils, and the Hollywood Neighborhood Council (HNC). Develop in the Stakeholders a sense of personal pride and responsibility for their neighborhood and their city. Assist the City and other neighborhoods in finding solutions to common problems. Provide an open process by which all Stakeholders of the HHWNC may involve themselves in the affairs of the community. Educate stakeholders so they can make informed decisions about the quality and condition of their communities. Promote the well-being of each and every neighborhood within its boundaries. A “Stakeholder” is anyone that lives, works or owns property in a designated neighborhood.Types of stakeholders are: Resident, Business, Educational, Religious, Non-Profit and Non-Resident Property Owner.
Whitley Heights Civic Association – https://www.whitleyheights.org Hollywood’s first and foremost National Historic District, Whitley Heights was home to stars such as Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, WC Fields, and Gloria Swanson, Rosalind Russell, and Bozo to name but a few. Nestled in the lush Hollywood Hills and basking in the glow of the famous Hollywood sign, this distinctive neighborhood remains much as it did in the early 1900’s.
The Protective Coating to Facilitate Future Maintenance
The Protective Coating Is Put To The Test
Last weekend, Feb 26, 2023, a well planned out group of vandals in a Mercedes stopped, took out their ladders and calmly (it appeared that way on the video) did their deed. Cudoes to the neighborhood organizations, the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of LA and the District Office for getting on the removal right away. Only 4 days old, this graffiti was removed with great success, largely made possible by the multiple layers of protective coating, #muralguardand the care of the removers. A big applause for everyone… this is the kind of maintenance that is required to keep this wall clean. Its a “high impact” zone and will require quick action again in the future.
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