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MOCA whitewashes antiwar mural

Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
dalylab/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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The Italian street artist known only as Blu may have gotten his start spray painting walls in the suburbs of Bologna but in the last decade he has become a highly regarded and established muralist. He has been commissioned to paint large wall murals all over the world, most recently by the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Los Angeles. His piece was set to be featured in the upcoming “Art in the Streets” exhibit. But upon the mural’s completion the museum immediately painted over it. Why? The piece depicted rows of military style coffins draped with dollar bills in place of flags that the MOCA deemed “inappropriate” in its official statement. Long time art dealer and gallery owner Jeffrey Deitch is the museum’s current director. He told the Los Angeles Times, “This is 100% about my effort to be a good, responsible, respectful neighbor in this historic community.” Is this a case of unacceptable censorship or one of prudent caution? Where do you draw the line?