The thing that most bugs me about this whole BLU mural getting whitewashed is not really the beauty or fantastic nature of the mural itself. To be honest, the mural was so straightforward that it almost bordered on obvious. But that’s not the point. When you ask an artist to paint you a mural — especially one who’s very anti-war stance is a pillar of his work — then you cannot censor his work after he’s completed the piece for you. Sorry Jeffrey Deitch, you just cannot. And this is especially true if the commissioner of said piece is a museum — a museum who commissioned the work to promote an upcoming exhibit on street art (MOCA’s Art on the Streets). Street art, by definition, has always been art of the people, art of usurpation and subversion, unbridled by governmental censorship or social morays. And for MOCA to celebrate this art by censoring one of its prime practitioners is mindboggling. Can you imagine the hypocrisy, especially for a self-styled street art “aficionado” such as Deitch? What adds more fire to the flame is the fact that work was done by BLU, one of the most talented and pioneering artists we have on this planet — his MUTO animation hinted at his dedication and vision, and his monumental Big Bang Big Boom piece remains one of the greatest singular pieces of art of this century. Is that hyperbole? Me thinks not. Yesterday LA TimesCulture Monster reported on the latest protest, held at the empty Little Tokyo parking lot of MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary. Vietnam War veteran Michael Lindley, president of the L.A. chapter of Veterans for Peace, had this to say about the censorship, as reported by the LA Times: “It may be offensive to some people, but we have the freedom to know, freedom of speech. As veterans, that’s what we fight for, that’s what we died for,” he said. “Our government tells us we’re fighting for our freedoms. Yet they take our own freedoms away from us in our own country.” That pretty much sums it up…

Downtown LA BLU MOCA Whitewash Protest // 01.03.2011 from jesse trott on Vimeo.

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