Today the Open Culture Blog has a piece summing up the current state of murals in the city of Los Angeles, with a short documentary called Behind the Wall, which harshly denounces graffiti artists who ruin murals, but also directly criticizes the city's inability to protect its cultural artifacts. As the film describes it, murals are "bludgeoned by graffiti, censored by the city." The film claims that the city spent $60 million on graffiti removal between 2008 and 2009, but none on mural restoration. Moreover, the film calls out LA's Community Redevelopment Agency by name for covering murals when "revitalizing" neighborhoods. An example of the retreating cultural power of the mural: of the 42 murals created in the 40 year career of the film's featured muralist, Ernesto de la Loza, only nine remain.
To be fair, Los Angeles has been making news with recent efforts to update the citywide Mural Ordinance, which would theoretically protect old murals and foster new ones. In addition to initial hearings in front of a joint committee of the City Council, the Planning Department has been holding public meetings to discuss the proposed ordinance.
· The Battle for LA's Murals [Open Culture]
· City Working on Bringing Murals Back to LA's Walls [Curbed LA]