A lecture with Professor Emeritus Robert Cherny
Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 6:30 PM
Presidio Interfaith Chapel
The murals at Coit Tower were completed 85 years ago, in the early summer of 1934. They were, at the time, the largest art project funded by the New Deal, and they influenced other New Deal art across the country. On Thursday, October 3 Robert Cherny will give us a virtual tour of the murals, tell us about the controversy at the time they were completed (spoiler: it involved a hammer and sickle), and describe the decades of neglect and vandalism that followed as well as the most recent restoration of the murals. Coit Tower is currently being considered as a National Historic Landmark because of the significance of the murals.
Robert Cherny is professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art (2017), “The Controversy at Coit Tower in 1934,” The Argonaut (Summer 2017), and “San Francisco’s New-Deal Murals in Long-term Perspective: Controversy, Neglect, and Restoration,” forthcoming in California History (February 2020). He is also co-author of the recent nomination of Coit Tower as a National Historic Landmark.
The Inter-Faith Center at the Presidio, originally the Protestant Chapel, is the site of a spectacular mural of its own, by Victor Arnautoff, who was technical coordinator at Coit Tower. Arnautoff’s assistants at the Presidio Chapel included several of the Coit Tower artists. Come a few minutes early to admire that mural, which depicts the history and contemporary (1934-35) activities of the Presidio. Following the formal presentation, Cherny will be happy to take questions and comments about Coit Tower, the Presidio Chapel mural, or the current controversy over the murals at George Washington High School