MOCA pull plug on Blu

Blu in Los Angeles
The LA Museum of Contemporary Art recently asked Italian artist and videographer Blu to paint a mural on its exterior walls. It made sense given MOCA’s mission and Blu’s videos of graffiti characters coming to life. It was also timely in that MOCA plans to open an exhibition of street art in April.

Or so it seemed. With only a few days left before Blu could finish painting coffin-hugging dollar bills on the walls, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch handed him a cease-and-desist order. A few days later, what had been shaping up as a potent anti-war statement was whitewashed out of existence. Unfortunately for the museum, the whitewashing has left it apparently veiled in gentle sheets of toilet paper (see below).

In the wake of this, people are debating whether the museum is guilty of censorship. It’s an interesting discussion…I suppose…for those who have a distaste for evidence. There’s a broader, more interesting question to be asked, one that kicks at the shins of art as a commodity. Is is possible for any museum to present contemporary art – particularly street art – without spritzing it with cologne or simply killing it? This was asked by quite a few people in Boston during last year’s ICA mega-exhibition of work by street artist Shepard Fairey.

Read what Fairey, on whose coaster your coffee mug might now be resting, has to say about the incident in the December 14 edition of the LA Times. Better yet, for a worthwhile read, bookmark Blu’s blog and read it every once in a while. Also, watch the short video Muto for an example of his work. Quite amazing is he.

About Belinda Jentz

Belinda is a Native of the Midwest she holds degrees from Curry College, BA and Willmar Vo Tech ,Technical degree in Photography. When she's not pursuing her passion and talent for photography she manages a database for a major university in the Boston area. Belinda as well Volunteers her time and talent with Dr Jane Goodall’s Roots and shoots.
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