Famous Los Angeles Mural Destroyed

A crime against art has been committed in the city of Los Angeles. The famous outdoor mural, Ed Ruscha Monument, by Kent Twitchell has been destroyed by mindless bureaucrats, who had it painted over for some inexplicable reason.

The six stories tall mural painted in acrylic, was created between the years 1978-1987, and was located on a building that presently houses the U.S. Department of Labor. At the moment it’s unclear who ordered the mural destroyed – a harebrained civil servant connected to the Labor Department or a local imbecilic contractor responsible for the building’s upkeep. Either way, someone must pay dearly for the deliberate obliteration of one of L.A.’s most famous murals, and Twitchell has announced plans to file a lawsuit, an action every artist should support.

Quoting the informative Los Angeles Times article on the willful destruction, “Works of public art are protected by law, including the federal Visual Artists Rights Act.” The conservationist who had been working on the mural prior to its pointless trashing, Nathan Zakheim, said “creators of murals typically must be given 90 days to respond before a work can be destroyed.” Twitchell was given no such warning, and there’s no doubt federal law was broken when the famous mural was painted over. But who will be held accountable for this crime? L.A.’s artists must hold the city liable for this assault against art and demand full funding for the re-painting and restoration of Twitchell’s mural. If the guilty party is allowed to escape justice, then every single mural in the city of Los Angeles is in peril.

Otis College of Art and Design refers to Otis Alumni, Kent Twitchell, as “one of the most respected and recognized outdoor urban muralists in the world.” That is unquestionably true, but the nitwit pen pusher responsible for ordering the mural destroyed apparently suffers from a lack of understanding and respect for art – a mindset common to barbarians everywhere. I’m calling for a vigorous defense of Kent Twitchell, and by extension every muralist across the United States.

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UPDATE 4/8/2016: In 2008 Twitchell won a $1.1 million lawsuit against the U.S. Government for the destruction of his Ed Ruscha Monument. On June 11, 2015 the L.A. Downtown News reported that Twitchell currently has plans to recreate a revised Ruscha mural in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District.

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