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Huge Ed Ruscha Making Triumphant Return in the Arts District

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A 30-foot-tall Ed Ruscha will soon be keeping watch over one of the Arts District's liveliest hubs. A recreation of a mural depicting the great Los Angeles artist—erroneously painted over back in 2006 without the permission of the mural's creator, artist Kent Twitchell (who's known for his giant portraits, like the LA Chamber Orchestra ones in Downtown)—is slated for one of the sides of the American Hotel on Hewitt Street near Traction Avenue, says the Downtown News. Twitchell's new take on his old mural will have a few variations, though.

There will be some differences between this new incarnation of Ruscha and the one that was erased. The original mural was at 1031 S. Hill Street, on the side of what's now the YWCA's Job Corps, not in the Arts District. The original artwork also showed Ruscha as a young man. This one in the AD will show Ruscha as he is now, and is pretty far from Tenth and Hill. Recreating the mural has been on Twitchell's mind ever since he sued the YWCA for destroying the original, and won.

Twitchell's first Ruscha mural, which was completed in 1987, wasn't ever supposed to be painted over. The 2006 whitewashing happened very suddenly, and "at the request of the building's owner," the YWCA. That act—painting over the mural without telling Twitchell first—was in violation of both the Federal Visual Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act, "which outlaw the alteration or destruction of public art without prior notice given to the artist." Understandably angry, Twitchell sued the YWCA and 12 other defendants, winning $1.1 million. At the time, Twitchell told Art.Blogging, "This settlement sets an important precedent which will benefit other artists. This resolution makes it clear that when it comes to public art, you have to respect the artist's rights, or incur significant liability."

Work on the new version of the mural starts next month, and is supposed to take about five to sixth months.
· Nine Years After Being Destroyed, Twitchell's 'Ed Ruscha Monument' Mural to Return [DN]
· CurbedWire: Ed Ruscha Mural Lawsuit Settled, Lincoln Height Loft Tours [Curbed LA]
· Explainer: What's Up With the Orchestra Mural on the 110? [Curbed LA]