G. Mark Mulleian large-scale exhibit at the Arts and Industry Brooks Hall exhibition San Francisco Civic Center 1970s
G. Mark Mulleian large-scale exhibit at the Arts and Industry
Brooks Hall exhibition San Francisco
Civic Center.
The 1971 “Arts and IndustryBrooks Hall Civic Center World Premiere was one of the biggest events of the 1970s San Francisco scene. This rare original Arts and Industry poster for the show by artist James L. Barry is reminiscent of the Panama-Pacific Exposition, held in San Francisco in 1915. In addition, this rare photo of Mulleian’s paintings at the exposition may be the only one that has survived through nearly five decades.
G. Mark Mulleian's large exhibition was one of the major parts of this art, music and dance presentation that became an iconic attraction of San Francisco's ten-day mega event at the Arts and Industry exhibition at Brooks Hall. The event was well covered by the media, from major television news to United Press International. Mulleian's exhibit was especially well covered, in particular his mural size crucifixion painting entitled 'Spring Crossing", a work which towered fifteen feet above the entire event, attracting a widespread public audience from all over California and nation wide. The show featured some well known musical acts, as well as plays and exhibits of arts, crafts, dance and concert performers such as Quicksilver Messenger Service, Eric Burdon and War, Moby Grape, and John Lee Hooker. Mexican and American musician Carlos Santana, after seeing Mulleian’s crucifixion painting at the show, expressed interest in using that image on one of their album covers.
The name of the setting for this multi-featured event, Brooks Hall, may seem somewhat misleading when one learns that the “hall” was actually a massive underground public exhibition space, originally known as Mole Hall, built beneath the Civic Center Plaza in 1958. Since it opening, Brooks Hall has played host to many historical exhibitions, many of which were reflective of events that directly preceded and followed it’s creation. Buildings of considerable historic importance surround the plaza, and the cavernous Hall beneath. Among them is the War Memorial Veterans Building’s Herbst Theatre, where the United Nations Charter was signed in 1945, leading to the creation of the United Nations. In 1951, the peace treaty that officially ended the Pacific War with Japan, the Treaty of San Francisco, was also signed here.
Through the years that followed the end of World War II, Civic Center Plaza, with its architectural focal point, the San Francisco City Hall, has been the scene of massive anti-war protests and politically transformative rallies, ranging from demonstrations against the Korean, Vietnamese and Iraq Wars, to groundbreaking, pace-setting events in support of the Gay Rights Movement. Activist Harvey Milk held rallies and made historical speeches here in front of City Hall. A massive candlelight vigil after his assassination on November 27, 1978 was held here. Later, the Plaza was the scene of the White Night Riots in response to the lenient sentencing of Dan White, Milk's assassin. Recently, Civic Center was the focal point of Gay Marriage activism, as Mayor Gavin Newsom married couples here. The legal dispute over Newsom’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples led to the 2008 In re Marriage Cases ruling by the California Supreme Court, which legalized same-sex marriage in California. Looking out across the wide expanse of Civic Center Plaza, one would never suspect the hidden witness of covered space, known as Brooks Hall, which exists beneath its historically incendiary surface.
The San Francisco Civic Center was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1978.
By Paul Deegan