Frank Stella's "Dusk"

Frank Stella

I rounded out my career as an LA muralist with an opportunity to work for Joseph Sansone, president of AWI (Architectural Wallcoverings and Installations). Joe was hired by Maguire Thomas Partners of The Gas Company Tower to oversee the recreation of Frank Stella's "Dusk" on the walls of the adjacent Pacific Bell/AT&T Building, downtown Los Angeles. The idea was to give the employees at the Gas Company Tower some art to look at out their office windows as opposed to a drab, blank, tile wall.

 

Frank Stella's "Dusk" is actually one in a series of pieces he did based on Herman Melville's classic tale of "Moby Dick." Internationally known for his contemparay abstract work, Stella has continued to influence a generation of artists since the early 1960's. Stella was also known to push boundries in the contemporary art community causing a stir with pieces like "Dusk" because certain people felt his work was becoming too representational – certain shapes in "Dusk" were looking too much like fish, so goes the story.

 

"Dusk" is considered one of the largest contemporary, abstract murals in the world spanning an area of 40,000 square feet. It is one of the grandest displays of public art in the United States and has become a landmark in the city of Los Angeles.

"Dusk"

The Vision

"Dusk" was quite an extensive undertaking from the outset as one can see by the scaled down model to the left. It went through a series of changes as do most projects this size and scope. One can see the finished, wrapped corner of the actual mural did not extend as far as the model depicts.

The Original Artwork

The actual artwork Stella created in his studio was a bas-relief, composed of protruding and overlapping "art scraps," remnants collected from other projects and reassembled on a board with tape and push pins, all of which can be clearly seen enlarged, on the mural. The bas-relief of "Dusk" was sold for one million dollars, the cost to create the mural, one quarter of that. We finished the mural on the Grand Ave side of the Pac-Bell Building. A good portion of that side I was able to complete myself where you see the open white triangle shape.

Joseph Sansone

Joseph Sansone AWI

It was an absolute thrill to work with Joe Sansone on Frank Stella's "Dusk." I continued working for him after we finished it – installing a number of murals done by local LA artists in various places throughout the city. The most notable installation was James Doolin's triptych downtown at the brand new Grand Central Station which still can be seen in the vaulted rotunda.

 

Joe retired as the president of New York City's Wallpaper Hanger's Union. He was also featured in "Who's Who" magazine as a master craftsman, He was an expert problem solver for many a famous artist who needed advice in the construction and execution stage of their projects. He was well trained in the nature of materials, especially solvents, adhesives and paints which made him well known in many art circles.  

 

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