The following essay was originally presented at "Mural Painting and Conservation in the Americas," a two-day symposium sponsored by the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute, May 16—17, 2003, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

At this event, a cross-disciplinary roster of art historians, conservators, and artists discussed the social, artistic, and political dimensions of murals, the value they hold for different constituencies, and the rationale and conservation techniques for ensuring their long-term survival.This essay was conceived as one part of a three-part examination. The other two are John Pitman Weber's discussion regarding which murals get saved and Timothy Drescher's paper about priorities in the conservation of community murals.

Beyond the difficulty of just painting well on a large wall, there are political, social, environmental, and fiscal obstacles to creating and maintaining murals. Those obstacles have been embraced—even loved—by muralists, and they are seen to be an important part of the process of creating an excellent mural. Jon Pounds's essay addresses some specific situations arising in Chicago.

How to Cite this Work
Pounds, Jon. 2004. The Gift of Absence: Mural Restoration in a Policy Void. Los Angeles, CA: Getty Conservation Institute.