Monday, August 26, 2013

Are LA's Murals Endangered Species? (Don't Believe the Hype!)

A lot of people in the art community keep talking about LA's proposed end to its self-imposed mural moratorium, and they talk about the lifting of the ban as if the move will save LA's art community.

Don't believe the hype.

As M&F has pointed out before, even though murals have been illegal, this city has still made a name as one of the top destinations in the world for street art and graffiti--in all shapes and forms.  The rules have never stopped the art in LA.  And the idea that bringing in the city as a mural referee is somehow going to save the art in Los Angeles, well, M&F does not predict that will be the case.

To be clear, it is great that the city is moving to embrace more art.  All art is awesome, and this is a step in the right direction.  But there is a difference between 'street art' and 'public art'.   The City Council's decision on murals will affect public art a lot, but it will probably not affect the current state of street art and graffiti very much.  After all, how many graffiti artists ask for the city's permission before a painting trip?  The good news is that it will give art lovers a leg to stand on when a property owner wants art, where before there was none.  And that is great news.

This mural riding in Venice is entitled 'Endangered Species', and this is an example of a public art legal mural painted with the permission from the city of LA.  Even though it was painted in 1990 and therefore grandfathered into the the mural regulations, it still brings up some still valid points about endangered species.  And this world is still struggling to come to terms with things like self worth, the destruction of the environment, and loss of native habitat and cultures.

The art is beautiful and we dig the message.  However, it is still safe.  This is a great example of 'public art' and the type of aesthetic M&F expects will flourish once LA's mural regulations are relaxed.  And the city will look better for it.  But for street art and graffiti, its business as usual.

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