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Smithsonian Wants Murals Out of Williams' Golden State Mutual

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Building via Paul Revere Williams Project; art via Golden State Mutual Here's an interesting matchup: it's the LA Conservancy versus the Smithsonian, duking it out over two lobby murals at the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company's headquarters in University Park. Golden State Mutual is being liquidated and the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture wants to buy the two murals, which depict "early black Californians including explorers, cowboys and oil riggers," for $750,000, and take them out of the building, reports the New York Times. The Conservancy objects to the removal, and has requested the building and the art be landmarked. There'll be a hearing on March 28.

Golden State Mutual was founded in 1925 to provide insurance to the black community in Los Angeles. The company commissioned Paul R. Williams, the AIA's first black member, to design its second headquarters at Adams and Western, and asked artists Charles Alston and Hale Woodruff to paint murals for the lobby. The building opened in 1949, and included "An auditorium seating 400, with media systems and special lighting controls, a cafeteria for 150, a medical department with examination and recuperation rooms, and an employee lounge," according to the Paul Revere Williams Project.
· Smithsonian Plan to Remove Murals From Los Angeles Lobby Is Criticized [NYT]
· Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company [Paul Revere Williams Project]