Taylor Hall’s iconic mural demolished

The mural by John Pugh on the corner of First Street and Salem comes down as part of the final phases to tear down Taylor Hall to make way for a new arts and humanities building. Photo credit: Ernesto Rivera

Construction workers broke down the Taylor Hall’s last standing wall Friday afternoon, and with it, a famous mural painted by a Chico State alumnus.

The mural, titled “Academe”, was painted by John Pugh in 1981, according to the artist’s website. The piece was Pugh’s first major commission while he pursued an art degree at Chico State.

“My intention was not only to use the Doric column, a symbol that is easily recognized in our culture, to represent the classic architecture of the Greeks, but to tap into the concept of the Greek academe as the essence of our western educational system,” Pugh said on his website.

Pugh paintsTrompe l’oiel,” meaning optical illusion art. The mural gave a three-dimensional illusion that the wall was broken and exposed, while inside the building, Greek pillars stood.

“Soon after the mural was complete a woman employee that worked upstairs across the street from Taylor Hall called the administration and seriously complained and asked when they were going to fix the wall,” according to the website.

Several rear-end accidents were also reported at the stop sign across from the mural after drivers were distracted by the broken wall illusion, according to the website.

The last wall was demolished to make way for a new arts and humanities building, slated to be fully constructed by the fall 2016 semester, said Joe Wills, director of public affairs.

The mural has become a popular Chico landmark, Wills said. As many as 65 locals have requested mementos of the mural, or pieces of the demolished wall.

Once complete, Pugh will repaint the mural onto the new building, Wills said.

Mozes Zarate can be reached at [email protected] or @mzarate139 on Twitter.