May 27, 2000
4:18 PM   Subscribe

Freedom of Art Dept.:
In a previous topic, captain cursor said: "It's actually better to have a weak artistic piece when arguing aspects of law. Since the law should apply to all works, good or bad, you don't want to be distracted by the merits of the work.". So what happens when a very popular image is "censored"?

A commercial mural painter in L.A. wants to paint a big Statue of Libery on the side of a building (nobody's paying him to do it). Big murals need permits, the local city councilman doesn't like big murals, the painter starts painting without a permit, gets arrested, puts up a web site. (At least he gives one page to the councilman's reply.)
So, MeFi opinion leaders, is this painter a First Amendment hero, an opportunistic promoter or what?
posted by wendell (7 comments total)
Definitely looking for publicity! But who knows with those artistic types... I remember back in the 80's when Keith Haring (moment of silence) used to spray paint those (now famous) colorful figures of his all over Alphabet City & Soho...

He'd get arrested, released...and he'd do it again!
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 4:29 PM on May 27, 2000

It's right down the street from UCLA, and I remember there was a polisci professor who called it "unfinished freedom" and thought the piece was an artistic representation of our imperfect democracy in America.
posted by mathowie at 4:47 PM on May 27, 2000

I saw this story a little while ago in the New Time Los Angeles. One thing that no one's pointed out is that the megamuralist once tried to get a permit to paint up that same building...except it was for an ad for "The Little Mermaid." Hmm...

"Patriotism is the scoundrel's last refuge," perhaps?
posted by RakDaddy at 8:37 PM on May 27, 2000

If the owners of the building want the dang mural painted, then he should be allowed to do it. If it was something "obscene" then maybe there would be something to argue about.
posted by andy at 10:10 PM on May 27, 2000

At least it turns out there's an issue of scenic protection here that the councilman has been interested in. For my money, requiring a permit isn't unreasonable -- even though similar things are done in other cities all the time for much more crass purposes (e.g. 20-story-tall Michael Jordan selling shoes).
posted by dhartung at 10:52 PM on May 27, 2000

Someone wants to add something vaguely artistic to Los Angeles?

Well, obviously that has to be stopped.
posted by holgate at 10:59 AM on May 28, 2000

I think it's all about the choice of subject. What, a reminder that New York has a better public monument? Frankly, I think Chicagoans might react the same way!
posted by dhartung at 10:09 AM on May 30, 2000

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