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01.03.11:Censorship of Street Art at MOCA by hearinthecity
“Art in the Streets” is set to debut in April of this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA). This show is planned to be a comprehensive statement on international street art, cholo graffiti art, tattoo art, and skater art from the 1970’s to the present moment. The exhibition has already drawn attention in artists’ circles and in international press prior to the scheduled opening, primarily because of the whitewashing of one of its commissioned works.
As part of the “Art in the Streets” exhibition, the Italian street artist known as BLU was hired by MOCA to paint a mural on the north wall of the Geffen Temporary Contemporary in Little Tokyo. The images of coffins draped in dollar bills- a direct commentary on the U.S. Defense Department’s refusal to allow photography of soldiers’ coffins returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The museum had the mural removed just after its completion. New museum director Jeffrey Deitch explained to the Los Angeles Times that the work could be seen as offensive by other members of the Little Tokyo community that is home to a Japanese-American veterans war memorial and to the Veterans Affairs hospital.
We wanted to get a sense of how street art and white-washing continue to affect local artists in Los Angeles.
Hear In The City Producer Luis Sierra Campos, spoke with Alex Poli, who goes by the name of MAN ONE, and who directs CREWEST Gallery in Downtown LA. MAN ONE was instrumental in organizing a permitted 10,000 square foot graffiti mural on the Los Angeles River in 2007. The mural was later ordered whitewashed by county supervisor Gloria Molina.
(c) Hear In The City. 2011 . www.hearinthecity.org. Airs Mondays on KPFK 90.7FM in Los Angeles at 2:00pm or www.kpfk.org