Thursday, September 22, 2011

los angeles skyline

The most exciting thing on the way to work today was a huge billboard covering being replaced.   The most exciting thing on the way back was a piece on NPR about the inequities and inequalities of the war against - what shall we call it? - wall decoration.   The same legislation that can be used against tagging and ugly graffiti can be - and is - also used against murals.  Mural artist Saber, whose 1996-7 LA river mural was painted over, two days ago hired a team of skywriters to write protests in the sky above City Hall - an encouragement to sign this petition against the fact that murals, like graffiti, apparently count as signage if they appear on buildings.   Writing in the sky - ephemeral graffiti - is the most perfect means to do this, carrying one step further the transience of Jenny Holzer (who spoke at USC yesterday evening - excellent) 's art, projecting large plain words onto buildings, mountainsides and even waves in order to make statements, and in order to make us read language separately from the medium used to transmit it.   Quite apart from Los Angeles' long history of murals (cf last year's MOCA exhibition  Art in the Streets), this is a patent absurdity in a city of continually regenerating billboards and posters.

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