Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Restoration of the Schreckengost Mastodons and Mammoth Sculptures

The Plain Dealer--August 19, 2008

Jeff Gaal foreman of VIP Restoration, uses a jackhammer to carefully remove the Viktor Schreckengost mastodon wall sculpture from the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's pachyderm building. The sculpture is one of two that will be removed and built into a new zoo entrance to be finished in 2010.  Viktor Schreckengost's massive wall sculptures of mastodons and mammoths, on display at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo since 1956, are coming down.
But the popular sculptures by the man called "Cleveland's Da Vinci" will not be gone for long. After cleaning and repairing, they will become part of a new zoo entrance in 2010.
"After all those years at the pachyderm building, the sculptures will be in an area of even greater prominence and open to more people than ever," said Elizabeth Fowler of the Cleveland Zoological Society.
The sculptures are now part of two walls on the zoo's pachyderm building, which is to be rebuilt by 2011. The state-of-the art elephant habitat will include a combination of new and remodeled buildings as well as an outdoor area for six to 10 elephants. It will be four times the size of the current facility and cost $25 million, the zoo's largest capital improvement project since the opening of the RainForest in 1992.

It will cost about $1 million and take several weeks to move the sculptures to the Intermuseum Conservation Association in Cleveland, where they will be cleaned, repaired and stored. Work started Friday.
Jeff Gaal, of VIP Restorations, is one of two people charged with removing the art that zoo officials say is "priceless."
Workers removing the sculptures cracked the head of one of the mastodons, which Fowler said can be repaired.
"It's very hard work," said Gaal. "We have to cut the bricks around the sculpture, cut the metal wire and pins and carefully remove the whole piece, with bricks attached, using a forklift. Some of these pieces weigh 1,400 pounds, and we have to be very careful."
Schreckengost, who lived in Cleveland Heights, died in January at age 101. He was a teacher and industrial designer who gained worldwide fame for his work. He taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bush in a ceremony at the White House in 2007.
Schreckengost's most famous creations include an Art Deco-inspired "Jazz Bowl," created for Eleanor Roosevelt when her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was governor of New York. Glazed in black and a vibrant blue depicting skyscrapers, cruise ships, pipe organs and street lamps, it showed Schreckengost's passion for New York City in the Jazz Age.
Gaal said that by Sept. 13, all traces of the wall sculptures would be removed.
"It's tough work," he said. "It physically beats you up to remove them, knowing how valuable they are."

The new zoo entrance on Dec. 12, 2012.  Quote from the above article:  "After cleaning and repairing, they will become part of a new zoo entrance in 2010."   Does anyone have any idea when or have the sculptures been installed?

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