Answers to why Blu’s mural was removed in LA

The street art community has been in a bit of a hubbub over a mural by Blu being painted over less than 24 hours after it was completed. Until now, MOCA, the museum that commissioned Blu to paint the mural on one of their walls, had stayed silent on why the mural was removed. In my post I tried not to jump to conclusions, but given what’s going on at the Smithsonian and the silence from MOCA, it was hard not to speculate and assume the worst: pointless censorship. Some people also speculated that the whole thing was a preplanned stunt. Luckily, it sounds like all this was just a series of unfortunate events, but with a reasonable explanation.

I’ve just received word from MOCA as to what happened:

MOCA commissioned Blu, one of the world’s most outstanding street artists to create a work for the north wall of The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA.

The Geffen Contemporary building is located on a special, historic site. Directly in front the north wall is the Go For Broke monument, which commemorates the heroic roles of Japanese American soldiers, who served in Europe and the Pacific during World War II, and opposite the wall is the LA Veterans’ Affairs Hospital. The museum’s director explained to Blu that in this context, where MOCA is a guest among this historic Japanese American community, the work was inappropriate. MOCA has invited Blu to return to Los Angeles to paint another mural.

Certainly not the way you want mural projects to go, but if Blu understands and respects MOCA’s decision enough to paint another mural there, then I do too. This was not the pointless censorship that it has been painted to be by the internet, it is being respectful to the community that would be living with this art every day.

Photo by Unurth