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MOCA Announces Street Art Show, Whitewashes Mural it Commissioned

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Photo by vmiramontes via Flickr

Photo by vmiramontes via Flickr
As prep for the just-announced Art in the Streets show that will open in April 2011, MOCA commissioned a mural at Geffen Contemporary by Italian artist Blu and then promptly painted over it yesterday, according to LA Downtown News.

MOCA reps aren't saying why but many are speculating that the content of the mural - rows of caskets draped with dollars instead of the traditional American flag - offended the mural's neighbors.

The mural wall faces the Veterans Administration healthcare building and the Japanese American WWII memorial "Go For Broke" Monument, yet reps for both organizations say that although some may have found the mural "in bad taste" they did not complain to MOCA.

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Who decided the just-commissioned mural was to be whitewashed? No one has stepped forward to clarify, but L.A. Freewalls Project curator Daniel Lahoda was on site for the great paint-over and said it's "emblematic of a critique that often follows street art when it leaves the public realms and goes up on the walls of mainstream art institutions."

Is this a case of "free speech" in art being censored? Or a PR stunt for the upcoming show? You can see images of the mural pre and post whitewash at Downtown LA News.