On Wednesday, May 14, a student completing a project called me to report that murals were being systematically destroyed in Copernicus Hall at Central CT State University. CCSU is home to perhaps largest and finest collection of murals at any university in the world.
Previously, murals have occasionally been removed, but generally in consultation with the the art department. Richard Bachoo, director of operations, has now confirmed that eighteen murals (see attachments) were either destroyed, or are scheduled to be destroyed, by the administration.
There was no notification or justification to the artists, the faculty or department. Aside from the censorship of two controversial pieces, there seems to be no logic to the selection of these particular artworks for removal.
CCSU has a working-class student body. The murals are painted by students who work nights, weekends and holidays to create this unique gift to the campus and community.
While there have been infrequent controversies over particular works, most faculty and students are proud of our murals and find that they enrich our lives. President Jack Miller chose to wait until the school year ended in order to begin this shameful act.
It saddens me to report this misguided action - it is the largest deliberate destruction of public art in recent history.
Associate Professor/ Mural Program
May 15, 2014
Destroyed or scheduled for destruction:
A seascape painted by an advanced student /professional illustrator that transformed a sterile stairwell into a lovely space. (Barnard Hall):
A mural in Copernicus Hall painted by a student who is a cancer survivor – she painted herself as a child in a field of flowers, though the flowers are really cancer cells (Copernicus Hall):
Ironically, a mural about censorship and banned books (Copernicus Hall):
A cartoon treatment of the daily life of a teacher, painted by a public school teacher in the basement of (Copernicus Hall):
A humorous look at sea life in an aquarium by a Plainville teacher (Copernicus Hall):
An intriguing use of small space based on doodles by an undergraduate art student (Copernicus Hall):
Designasaurus (Willard Hall):
Icarus, based on art historical references and early modernist imagery, painted by a public school teacher (Copernicus Hall):
“Meducation,” part of a series of murals on challenges facing education, this piece deals with the problem of overmedication of children. It is part of a series of nine murals in a Barnard stairwell, sponsored by the School of Education. This removal will leave a big blank wall right in the center of the series, destroying the logic of the entire set of murals:
A mural for the Microbiology Department, which used the image for department publications. The artist, an engineering student, painted it on scenic canvas adhered to the wall, so it could be removed if necessary. Instead of simply removing it and preserving it for the department, the work has been painted over. (Copernicus Hall):
A mural portraying the joy of nature (Copernicus Hall):
“One person’s crazyness is another person’s reality” - how fitting that this mural based on a famous work by Seurat should be destroyed. (Willard Hall).
A mural that was the subject of recent controversy, that dealt with images of women in art and images of women trapped in war (Willard Hall):
A mural dealing with issues of female stress (Copernicus):
A mural in about Arab Spring, honoring the activists who died in the fight for democracy. (Marcus White):
A mural about string theory, painted by a mathematics student (Copernicus Hall):
A mural about street art (Copernicus Hall):
A joyous celebration of life (Barnard Hall):