This project was originally assigned to Beniamino Bufano, but was awarded to Johnson instead when the WPA fired Bufano. This 1942 frieze entitled “Athletics” covers the back wall of the football field and still stands today.
Supposedly, “WPA officials objected to the political content in Bufano’s design and assigned Johnson to take over the project. According to Richard McKinzie, Bufano was fired when WPA officials learned that he had used the Marxist labor leader, Harry Bridges, as a model for the frieze.” The circumstances surrounding this conflict ended a long friendship between the two artists.
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