Like most neighborhoods in Los Angeles, we have had to request clean-up services for graffiti that was sprayed on walls, curbs, and other surfaces. So, it was with a certain amount of amusement that we read about the kerfuffle going on at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown L.A.
As you may have heard, MOCA is about to stage an exhibit of graffiti “art,” under the direction of Jeffrey Deitch, the museum’s new director. Deitch has proclaimed that graffiti and street art are really very beautiful and important, and should be appreciated as fine art. To accompany the exhibit, Deitch hired an Italian street artist to paint a graffiti-style mural on the wall of the exhibit hall.
When the mural turned out to be controversial and potentially offensive, though, Deitch ordered that it be whitewashed immediately.
The Los Angeles Times has a full report here.
For those of us who have worked to clean up our neighborhood and get graffiti removed, this whole story is just too funny. Watching a self-righteous museum director fight with a self-righteous graffiti “artist,” and both of them fight with self-proclaimed “art experts,” has given us many laughs.
This is pretty much the definition of irony. Jeffrey Deitch is strident about how wonderful graffiti is, and how we in Los Angeles should consider it great art, even when it is sprayed on our homes and businesses against our will – and even when it includes gang tags and threats.
Deitch says that for people to object to graffiti is backwards thinking, and there must be something terribly wrong with us if we don’t appreciate and glorify it. But now Deitch has ordered that a graffiti mural on his own museum be painted over, because he was afraid of getting complaints about it.
All we can say is, hey Jeffrey, send your MOCA employees out to neighborhoods all around Los Angeles, because there is lots of “graffiti art” that needs to be whitewashed everywhere!
And one more thing, Jeffrey. If you really consider graffiti to be art, then have it scrawled on your own home – not someone else’s….