If you passed by the 55th Street mural, Under City Stone (c. 1972), last summer, you might have seen the artist, Caryl Yasko working to restore it. She spent several weeks there, if I'm not mistaken. All I know is that in less time, my daughter painted a mural of a pod of hippos and an entire African landscape on all four of her bathroom walls. I'm not sure who is funding the restoration, but as of March, 2008, the Chicago Public Art Group was still trying to find a donor for its repair. Perhaps Ms. Yasko was donating her time.
You can see from the water on the ground that this mural gets a fair amount of weathering. The new steel frame "bent" system that supports the viaduct does not prevent seepage. In the middle of winter, there was a gigantic icicle spitefully crawling down the middle of the restored section of the mural.
In short: this particular wall is not suited for lasting mural art. Either that, or someone needs to maintain it almost annually. But how about this instead: maybe the mural artists should rotate, and we should accept that it's an impermanent art form? Or, if it's cheaper, maybe we can put up panel art, as is slated for the 53rd Street viaduct, and we can actually rotate the pieces periodically, rather than be tied to the art trends of the past?
Personally, I'm in the mood for hippos.