Blu on Buffed Mural

12.13.10 Marina Galperina

When Blu painted a mural for MoCA last week, only to have it buffed by the museum less than 24-hours later, we were mystified. ANIMAL contacted Blu, who told us that the mural was actually not finished when MoCA decided to buff it. Read the artist’s response below.

Find MoCA’s delayed response, news on what happens next (or rather, doesn’t) and thoughts below that.

Blu to ANIMAL:

sad story
but watching the reactions is much more
interesting than giving my personal opinion

the facts are known:

Blu is asked by Moca to paint a wall
the wall is painted (not completely finished
Moca decides to erase the wall
the wall is now white

the images are already public
everyone can make his own idea about the event

for everything else
time will tell…

While MoCA representatives were suddenly out of reach all Friday, but they did explain their decision to Vandalog over the weekend:

MOCA commissioned Blu, one of the world’s most outstanding street artists to create a work for the north wall of The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

The Geffen Contemporary building is located on a special, historic site. Directly in front the north wall is the Go For Broke monument, which commemorates the heroic roles of Japanese American soldiers, who served in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and opposite the wall is the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital. The museum’s director explained to Blu that in this context, where MOCA is a guest among this historic Japanese American community, the work was inappropriate. MOCA has invited Blu to return to Los Angeles to paint another mural.

Couldn’t have Jeffrey Deitch anticipated a controversial mural from an artist whose work is so often politically charged and site-oriented? Intentionally or not, the adjacent WWII memorial is part of the mural’s conversation. It seems obvious that Blu isn’t aiming to insult WWII veterans, but to comment on the current state of our military — to point out that American financial interests are dishonoring the soldiers that died for said interests. And though the piece might have been more in context outside a recruiting station, its theme is a pressing point, now buffed away. This is a rough start to a much-hyped graffiti and street art retrospective.

According to Hyperallergic, Blu will not be rearranging his schedule again to make a second trip to Los Angeles before the exhibit opens and will not be painting another mural.

(Photo: Unurth)