Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hiding in "Plain Sight"


That's how the City of Oakland described the resolution to the case of the missing Fasanella painting outlined in my last post. It was never lost, they said (after dispatching no less than a dozen employees to find out where it was). The painting had, since 2003, been on display at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, in a climate-controlled environment to protect the newly restored work from any further deterioration. The story of the city's reaction to the breaking news of the missing painting appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Bay Citizen (the latter being the Bay area's New York Times bureau). My phone interviews with the various reporters took place in a crowded NYS Thruway rest area while on my way to New York last week, so pardon me if I don't sound coherent :-)

The question of why the Fasanella is in an African American museum is beyond me at the moment, but suffice it to say that when Laura Ruberto went to the museum to see it, it was there just as the city said. Well, almost. The photo Laura took clearly shows the painting is in good shape and even has its informational plaque on the wall next to it for visitors to read. But wait. In the lower right corner there is a stereo player of some sort, and in the lower left a chair. That's because the Fasanella is hanging in a private office rather than a public space.

At least the city did the right thing in protecting the painting and placing it in a safe, climate-controlled area, but that's not the same as having it accessible to the people of the city, which was the spirit of the gift in the early 1990s. Obviously, more discussions with the city will follow, which I will share on these pages.

8 comments:

  1. Delighted to know you've found the painting.
    Very curious to learn how it got there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, CC! I'll keep you posted as I find out more.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well, at least it wasn't in someone's living room - although this is almost as bad.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, we're working on getting back out on public view. This was the whole point of the purchase, so hopefully it won't be difficult :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to hear that the piece was located, even in a dubious location. Also glad that there are people out there advocating on behalf of the work of artists. This is an important piece of Ralph's legacy and it deserves to be seen, as intended.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Gary! We'll keep working on getting this out in public. Stay tuned!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Paola Sensi IsolaniMarch 7, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    This is unbelievable and in a private office no less! I hope the union who gave most of the money for it, prof. Ruberto with support from Prof. d'Ambosio will ensure that the picture will be displayed for the Oakland and general San Francisco Bay Area public to see! i.e. in a public space!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you, Paola. We'll keep trying!

    ReplyDelete

Blog Widget by LinkWithin