Last week, Chevron said he had deleted a public art project installed on a fence near the company’s refinery in Richmond, California. At the time, it was unclear whether the work had been placed in storage or had been disposed of. A Chevron spokesperson said ART news late Friday that the room had been destroyed.
“The wood was placed in our wood bin weeks ago when it was taken down. It has been treated with other woods since then,” the spokesperson said. ART news in an email.
The piece, titled Fences – A Collective Monument to Resilience, was made up of hundreds of wooden slats that members of the Richmond community had painted with messages of hope and Richmond pride, along with wishes for clean air and water. Residents have been working on the project for the past year.
The Chevron Refinery has operated in Richmond for 120 years and has had a profound impact on residents. Asthma rates are twice the national average in the city, according to an ongoing study at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2012, an explosion at the refinery forced 15,000 Richmond residents to seek treatment. In 2018, the company agreed to pay $5 million to the city to settle a lawsuit related to the incident.
Chevron’s spokesperson said the company does not consider Fences to be art but an act of vandalism, although they have confirmed that they will not pursue any charges.
While Graham LP, the main artist of Fencessaid ART news that the majority of the artwork was on a city-owned portion of the fence, which organizers confirmed to the city when they began planning this project, Chevron argued that the artwork was only on his property.
“It’s not a matter of what he said/she said,” the spokesperson said.
THE Fences organizers, LP, Princess Robinson, Gita Khandagle and the Richmond Art Center are working with the mayor’s office to issue a statement that will include documentation of permissions and ownership.