The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Los Angeles Artists Fight to Save City's Legacy of Murals
Los Angeles muralist Ernesto de la Loza is seen at his studio in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. Every so often, de la Loza drives around the city to check on the state of his murals. It's a short tour these days, out of 42 swirling, vivid pieces he's painted, only seven remain, with the rest lost to graffiti, whitewash and withering sun. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes.

By: Christina Hoag, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP).- Every so often, Ernesto de la Loza drives around the city to check on the state of his murals. It's a short tour these days. Out of 42 swirling, vivid pieces he's painted, only seven remain, the rest lost to graffiti, whitewash and withering sun.

"It's really painful," said the 61-year-old artist whose works depict Angeleno life from Mexican heritage to the dangers of drugs. "People say 'don't take it personal,' but it's totally personal. They're my babies."

At one time hosting an estimated 1,500 pieces of wall art, Los Angeles is the nation's mural capital, but that's a fading distinction thanks to prolific graffiti taggers, a legal morass over classifying the artworks as illegal signs, and neglect.

"I never thought 30 years ago that I would have to save works from being destroyed," said muralist Judith Baca, an art professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and founder-artistic director of the Social and Public Art Resource Center, which promotes and protects murals. "We've had to defend one piece after another."

Spawned in the '70s on the city's eastside, LA's murals form a kaleidoscope of color and imagery in a city known for bland urban sprawl. Decorating unlikely swaths of concrete ranging from housing projects to freeway underpasses, some are so massive they are best viewed blocks away, while others are easily digested in a drive-by glance.

They pay homage to celebrities — Anthony Quinn as "Zorba the Greek" towers over a downtown parking lot, Steve McQueen stares out from the side of a house. Some celebrate civic milestones such as the 1984 Olympics or institutions like the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The mother of all, Baca's "The Great Wall of Los Angeles," is a half-mile stretch of California history along a San Fernando Valley drainage canal.

Others are displays of immigrant pride and ethnic history or abstract visions and palettes of pop art blanketing the sides of corner stores and businesses in blue-collar neighborhoods. "They're a reflection of us and who we are as a city," said Pat Gomez, the city's murals manager.

Most of the murals — some 1,100 — are located on private property, while 400, created as part of the city's mural program that ended in 2006 in a municipal budget crunch, are mostly on public land.

The exact number of lost murals is hard to determine. Baca's group inventoried a sample of 105 city-sponsored works, and found 60 percent had vanished. Baca said they're disappearing with increasing frequency since the mural program, which included maintenance, died. The city plans to do its own survey, Gomez said.

Graffiti is blamed as the biggest culprit. Murals are often targeted by vandals because the city does not regularly remove tags from murals so the spray-paint scrawls remain indefinitely. Blank walls are easier to clean and are whitewashed by city workers within days.

In the case of private property, the city requires the owner to remove the graffiti or face a fine. Sometimes, the owner removes the mural, too, to avoid repeated citations.

For freeway murals, the state Transportation Department requires artists or others to pick up the $3,000 tab to erect barricades for the cleanup work, money which artists don't often have.

"When is it the job of the individual artist to maintain a public work?" Baca asked rhetorically.

De la Loza has fought numerous battles to save his murals.

After his favorite work celebrating Latino diversity, "City of Passion," was painted over by the city because it was deemed "too ethnic," he sued. He won a $52,000 settlement and the right to restore the mural, which had been saved under a protective coat beneath the whitewash.

But only months later, hieroglyphic markings denoting gang turf were choking the brilliant colors of the work. The city whitewashed the wall and planted vines to prevent more graffiti.

De la Loza, who has painted murals amid gang shootouts and triple-digit temperatures, was devastated. "This is brutal, physical work," he said. "There's no appreciation of that."

In rare instances, gangs have left murals alone. One South Los Angeles community center managed to get local gangs to agree not to tag its mural, largely because gang members use the center.

Baca has been pressuring the city to address the graffiti problem for years. She advocates setting aside 1 percent of the roughly $40 million a year the city and county spend to remove graffiti for mural-cleaning, making vandals remove their work, and giving taggers their own wall space to paint.

So far, her proposals have fallen on deaf ears. The city is moving ahead with a proposed ordinance to preserve murals, but it does not address removing graffiti from the art, which is more time consuming and costly because the artist must be present and the original artwork touched up.

It would, however, save murals targeted by city building inspectors as "illegal signs" because they were either painted during a citywide billboard ban or do not conform to size and location rules governing signage. The issue is that current city rules do not differentiate between commercial signs and fine art murals.

Some 60 murals face removal or daily fines under signage violations. Some, like "Under the Moon" on the side of an eastside retail store, have already been whitewashed. The property owner painted over the piece, which depicted a Mexican immigrant's journey to the United States, rather than go through a costly appeal process, said mural designer Stash Maleski.

The proposed ordinance would resolve that issue by treating murals apart from billboards, issuing mural permits and requiring works to be protected with an anti-graffiti coating, a type of wax that allows spray paint to be cleaned off with a pressure hose, Gomez said.

But it would also classify any digitally made wall art as billboards. Baca said digital technology is the answer to saving murals. The works can be scanned into a computer and printed on large vinyl sheets that are adhered to walls, allowing for easy removal and wipe-off cleaning.

"It's indistinguishable from paint," she said, pointing to her latest works: two indoor digital murals of the namesake of the new Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools in Los Angeles.

Until the city better protects outdoor murals, Baca said she's not doing further projects in Los Angeles.

De la Loza presses on. Although his work is increasingly a heartbreak, he loves painting the monumental works that carry symbolic meaning for the masses. His latest work is a 130-foot-long piece called "Faces of the Americas" recently mounted on a South Los Angeles library.

"Murals are the voice of the people. They teach history, they give hope," he said. "It's just a constant struggle."


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Ernesto de la Loza | Judith Baca | Los Angeles | Murals |




Last Week News

September 4, 2010

Old Masters Picture Gallery in Dresden Explores the Young Johannes Vermeer

Gallery Hyundai Presents Sarah Morris: Clips, Knots, and 1972

A Floating Pavilion for Croatia at the Venice Architecture Biennale

First Millet Exhibition in More Than Twenty-Five Years at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Culture Minister Opens National Gallery Exhibition Devoted to Dutch 17th-Century Painter Gabriel Metsu

Solo Exhibitions by Don Porcella and Susanne Ring at Cain Schulte Gallery

Bonhams to Sell Elvis Presley's Mercedes-Benz 600 in December

New Works by Berlin Fine Art Photographer Stefan Heyne at Sudendorf Gallery

Adolph Gottlieb Retrospective Opens at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Galerie Adler Opens Artists Anonymous: "Everything is Possible - Everything is Done"

Treasures of the Islamic and Indian Worlds at Christie's London

New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait

Arthur Blumenthal Appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions

Smithsonian American Art Museum Offers Largest Mission-Based Game Ever Designed

Sotheby's Exhibition of Sculpture at Chatsworth, Now in Its Fifth Year

Ed Ruscha's Apartments, Parking Lots, Palm Trees and Others at Sprüth Magers

Galerie Anita Beckers Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Jürgen Klauke Exhibition

Australian Pavilion in Venice Showcases a New Perspective on Cities

Phillips Collection to Reopen on Saturday, Museum Waives Admission Fees

Mexica Ceremonial Censer Replica Handed over to Tlahuac Community

Museum of Modern Art Announces ContemporAsian

Renaissance Seattle Hotel and Seattle Art Museum Celebrate Legacy of Pablo Picasso

Artist Mladen Miljanovic Draws Inspiration from Bosnia's Turmoil

Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of Prints

Pearl Harbor Marks 65th Anniversary of World War II's End

SFMOMA to Honor William T. Wiley with 11th Annual Bay Area Treasure Award

September 3, 2010

Bob Dylan's Specifically-Made 'Brazil Series' on Display in Denmark's National Gallery

Ed Ruscha's Apartments, Parking Lots, Palm Trees and Others at Sprüth Magers

Sotheby's Selling Exhibition of Monumental Sculpture at Chatsworth, Now in Its Fifth Year

Smithsonian American Art Museum Offers Largest Mission-Based Game Ever Designed

Treasures of the Islamic and Indian Worlds at Christie's London

New Book by the Royal Collection Explores the Impact of the Royal Portrait

Arthur Blumenthal Appointed Senior Numismatist at Heritage Auctions New York

Artist Mladen Miljanovic Draws Inspiration from Bosnia's Turmoil

Japanese Fascination with the West is Explored in Exhibition of 19th-Century Yokohama Prints

Pearl Harbor Marks 65th Anniversary of World War II's End

Galerie Anita Beckers Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Jürgen Klauke Exhibition

Australian Pavilion in Venice Showcases a New Perspective on Cities

Phillips Collection to Reopen on Saturday, Museum Waives Admission Fees

Irma Sterns Zanzibar Image of Indian Beauty to Sell at Bonhams

Istituto Veneto di Scienze Shows Stanley Kubrick, the Photographer

Landmark New Sculpture by Acclaimed Artist Peter Randall-Page for Dulwich

Canadian Pavilion in Venice: Hylozoic Ground by Philip Beesley

Contemporary Designer Furnishings Added to Bonhams & Butterfields' Auction

Neues Museum in Berlin Welcomes One Millionth Visitor

Experts Reveal the Full Beauty of Petra's 2,000 Year-Old Cave Painting

Rare Roman Lantern Found in United Kingdom Farmer's Field

Royal Institute of British Architects Announces Shortlists for Five Special Awards 2010

New Head of Exhibitions and Displays for Tate Liverpool

Six-Month Restoration Ends of Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom"

Bridget Riley and Wolfgang Tillmans Among Highlights of Frieze Talks

Bonhams to Sell Album of Paintings of Australia's Famed Wine Growing Region

Sprüth Magers Presents First Solo Exhibition by Barbara Kruger in Berlin

Larry Gagosian to Open New Gallery in Paris in October

"Dynamic Duo" Appointed to Curate 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art

September 2, 2010

Archaeologists in Jordan Unearth 3,000-Year-Old Iron Age Temple with a Trove of Figurines

Bonhams to Sell Album of Paintings of Australia's Famed Wine Growing Region

Sprüth Magers Presents First Solo Exhibition by American Artist Barbara Kruger in Berlin

Larry Gagosian to Open New Gallery in Paris in October

New Head of Exhibitions and Displays for Tate Liverpool

Six-Month Restoration Ends of Vincent Van Gogh's "Bedroom"

Bridget Riley and Wolfgang Tillmans Among Highlights of This Year's Frieze Talks

Istituto Veneto di Scienze Shows Stanley Kubrick, the Photographer

Landmark New Sculpture by Acclaimed Artist Peter Randall-Page for Dulwich

Canadian Pavilion in Venice: Hylozoic Ground by Philip Beesley

The James: New Hotel in Soho Opens, Art Curator Included

Co-Owner of Painting Missing in New York ID'd as a Thief

Basquiat, Hockney and Wesley Drive Momentum in Christie's First Open Sale

Ellis Island Immigrants' Oral Histories Go Online

Books from the Estate of Book Soup Founder Glenn Goldman Highlight August Sunset Estate Sale

Heritage Auctions New York City Gallery Opened Today

Imperial War Museum to Open Lord Ashcroft Gallery in November

Walking in a Cloud at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010

Treasures of Kazakhstan Take Centre Stage in London

Simryn Gill: Gathering Opens at Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

Sotheby's to Offer a Unique Collection of Imperial Porcelain

Cantor Arts Center Offers New Installations Selected from the Enhanced Collection

Two Important Paintings Consigned to Auction through Christie's iPhone App

Beuys and Beyond... Opens at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico

Julián Zugazagoitia Begins as New Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Phillips de Pury & Company Announces Highlights from Its New York Photographs Sale

September 1, 2010

Mexican Billionaire Carlos Slim's New Mexico Museum to House Rodin Collection

The James: New Hotel in Soho Opens, Art Curator Included

Phillips de Pury & Company Announces Highlights from Its New York Photographs Sale

Basquiat, Hockney and Wesley Drive Momentum in Christie's First Open Sale

New York Man Says He Drunkenly Lost $1.3M Artwork by Corot

Walking in a Cloud at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010

Treasures of Kazakhstan Take Centre Stage in London

Simryn Gill: Gathering Opens at Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

Sotheby's to Offer a Unique Collection of Imperial Porcelain

Cantor Arts Center Offers New Installations Selected from the Enhanced Collection

Beuys and Beyond... Opens at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico

Two Important Paintings Consigned to Auction through Christie's iPhone App

Julián Zugazagoitia Begins as New Director of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

French Pavilion in Venice by Dominique Perrault Explores the Metropolis

Christian Lemmerz Creates Large Installation "Hypnosis" for First Solo Show in China

Some of the Earliest Photographs of Fiji from 1881 to Make £20,000 at Bonhams

Bonhams Appoints Camilla Prini as Its Agent in Northern Italy

100 Posters Charting the History of the Olympic Games at Sutton's Central Library

Parched English Fields, Known as Crop Marks, Reveal Ancient Sites

International Design Festival Design Act 2010 Opens in Moscow

University of Texas Hits 'Gone With the Wind' Dress Donation Target

The Oyster Eater by Henri Stresor Returns to France for the XXVth Biennale Des Antiquaires

Diverse Selection of American and European Works at Swann Galleries

Newly Discovered 1856-O $20 Makes Debut in Heritage September Long Beach Auction

Maine Museums and Historical Organizations Rally to Save Important 19th-Century Banners

Sotheby's to Sell Paintings To Benefit the David Nalbandian Foundation

Getty Museum Reopens Suite of Sculpture & Decorative Arts Galleries

Detroit Institute of Arts Is Taking It to the Streets

Ekow Eshun Announces Plan to Step Down as Executive Director of ICA in March 2011

Zimbabwe Artist Faces Trial, Exhibit Banned

Interactive Technology to Enhance Museum Experience

August 31, 2010

Exhibition at Pablo Picasso Graphics Museum Covers Almost 70 Years of Artistic Creation

International Design Festival Design Act 2010 Opens in Moscow

University of Texas Hits 'Gone With the Wind' Dress Donation Target

The Oyster Eater by Henri Stresor Returns to France for the XXVth Biennale Des Antiquaires

Parched English Fields, Known as Crop Marks, Reveal Ancient Sites

100 Posters Charting the History of the Olympic Games at Sutton's Central Library

Bonhams Appoints Camilla Prini as Its Agent in Northern Italy

French Pavilion in Venice by Dominique Perrault Explores the Metropolis

Christian Lemmerz Creates Large Installation "Hypnosis" for First Solo Show in China

Some of the Earliest Photographs of Fiji from 1881 to Make £20,000 at Bonhams

Oval Office Makeover to Debut in President Obama's Iraq Speech

Diverse Selection of American and European Works at Swann Galleries

Newly Discovered 1856-O $20 Makes Debut in Heritage September Long Beach Auction

Doyle New York to Auction a Chinese Imperial Zitan Table

Rijksmuseum Acquires Two 20th-Century Masterpieces

The 3rd Annual Governors Island Art Fair Opens September 4

Premier of Queensland's National New Media Art Award Winner Announced

Egyptian Minister, Farouk Hosni, Questioned in Van Gogh Theft

Titian Masterpiece "David and Goliath" Suffers Water Damage After Fire

In September 2010, Vevey, Switzerland will Be Draped in Images

Christian Boltanski to Show New Works at Kewenig Galerie, Cologne

Israel Researchers Find Thousands of Ancient Disposable Cutlery

The Joe Grimberg Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles at Sotheby's New York

Early Nation of Islam Documents Found in House Attic in Detroit

A Three-Dimensional Portrait of the Sensibility of Contemporary German Architecture

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art At Sotheby's

Art Comes Alive in Copenhagen at Kopenhagen Contemporary

Remains of Deadly European Dinosaur Discovered

Casino Proposed Near Historic Battlefield Splits Gettysburg

National Gallery of Art Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts Announces 2010-2011 Appointments

August 30, 2010

Internationally Acclaimed Architects and Artists at the Venice Architecture Biennale

Christian Boltanski to Show New Works at Kewenig Galerie, Cologne

Israel Researchers Find Thousands of Ancient Disposable Cutlery

The Joe Grimberg Collection of Chinese Snuff Bottles at Sotheby's New York

Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art At Sotheby's

Doyle New York to Auction a Chinese Imperial Zitan Table

Early Nation of Islam Documents Found in House Attic in Detroit

Titian Masterpiece "David and Goliath" Suffers Water Damage After Fire

Egyptian Minister, Farouk Hosni, Questioned in Van Gogh Theft

In September 2010, Vevey, Switzerland will Be Draped in Images

The 3rd Annual Governors Island Art Fair Opens September 4

Premier of Queensland's National New Media Art Award Winner Announced

Art Comes Alive in Copenhagen at Kopenhagen Contemporary

A Three-Dimensional Portrait of the Sensibility of Contemporary German Architecture

New Works by Radiohead-Famous Stanley Donwood at Fifty24SF Gallery

New On-Line Exhibition Includes Best-of-the Best 19th Century Carpets in Museum-style Display

14th Annual No Dead Artists National Juried Exhibition Announces Winners

Kate Newby Presents First Institutional Solo Exhibition in Europe

Hammer Museum Opens Tom Marioni's First One-Person Exhibition in Los Angeles

Exhibition at the Nasher Museum of Art Explores the Culture of Vinyl Records

Daniel Buren Creates an Impressive Mirror-Installation for "Synagoge Stommel

Cuban Artist Carlos Garaicoa Makes Amends at USFCAM Tampa

Norton Museum of Art to Exhibit Painting by Van Gogh on Loan from National Gallery

Ostrale 010: International Exhibition of Contemporary Arts Opens in Dresden

Austin Museum of Art Present New Works by Okay Mountain Collective

Guernsey's Presents Two Unique Auctions Under One Roof at Park Avenue Armor

Norwegian Artist Matias Faldbakken Presents His Work at Fridericianum Art Hall

Sotheby's to Offer the Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector Part VI

World War II Tanker Off California Coast may still Pose Threat

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Roman Emperor Augustus' frescoed rooms unveiled for first time after years of restoration

2.- First stage of the restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Adoration of the Magi' completed

3.- Hollywood actor and 'Conceptual artist' Shia LaBeouf runs around Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum

4.- Exhibition in Rome offers an original interactive journey to discover the city of Augustus

5.- Unique opportunity to see last two works by Rothko and Mondrian side by side

6.- Ai Weiwei explores human rights and freedom of expression in exhibition at Alcatraz

7.- UNESCO seeks answers from Egypt on more than 4,600-year-old 'damaged' pyramid

8.- International Center of Photography announces new Collections Center and Media Lab at Mana Contemporary

9.- British Museum explores the image of the witch and demonised female figures from 1450 until 1900

10.- 'Transformations: Classical Sculpture in Colour' on view at the Glyptotek in Copenhagen



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site