Conservation image

In August 1995 the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission contacted the GCI regarding the Robert Graham sculpture Olympic Gateway, which stands at the east entrance of the Coliseum. Created for the 1984 Olympic Games, the sculpture had suffered from vandalism and had been regularly fouled by seagulls. Due to the sculpture's height and form, maintenance was difficult. The bronze male and female torsos were periodically cleaned by Coliseum staff and the artist's assistant. After budget cuts eliminated what little funding remained for the sculpture's maintenance, the GCI was asked to help preserve this important Los Angeles artwork.

Following a preliminary assessment of the monument's condition by Neville Agnew and Leslie Rainer of the GCI, the Institute brought in sculpture conservator John Griswold, of Wharton and Griswold Associates, to design and carry out a treatment and to outline a continuing maintenance plan. The treatment included a complete condition assessment and full documentation, removal of previous coatings (including India ink), installation of a bird deterrence system, removal of graffiti, treatment of corroded areas, minimal chemical repatination of local areas, and hot wax applied as the finish.

Mr. Griswold also supervised replacement of the damaged granite veneer on the sculpture's base. The conservation work was completed in June 1996. Recommendations for preventive measures and cyclic maintenance were made in the final report to the Coliseum Commission. At an official ceremony on January 8, 1997, the commission acknowledged the efforts of the GCI.