The Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at CSULB today announced their permanent acquisition of a work of invaluable historic public art by Millard Sheets. A gift from its original owners at Farmers & Merchants Bank, the mosaic mural is one of two Sheets works installed at the what had been the Home Savings & Loan Building at 4909 Lakewood Blvd.
Beginning in 1955, Sheets was commissioned to design large architecturally integrated mosaic murals for HSB branches throughout Southern California, many of which still stand even as ownership of the buildings has changed hands over the years. Intentionally designed as community landmarks with elements of the region’s cultural heritage, this 14 x 11 foot mural was constructed in 1975-77, and its pattern of tropical birds and botanicals is based on textiles Sheets had collected on one of his frequent trips to Mexico.
The work will eventually be installed at the museum’s expanded spaces, but first, it had to be moved, conserved, stored, and made ready for reinstallation. Fortunately the F&M gift provides for all of that, starting with a new video produced by Threaded Films which documents the history, iconography, and beauty of the work itself as well as the complex process of its de-installation.
For more information visit the Kleefeld Museum’s website.