Public Murals are “OUT”, Private Murals are “IN”

By Ada Ruiz

June 26th, 2018 marked the death of public art. I’m probably exaggerating, but when a concept such as a “Private Mural” where you have to show the security guard that you are a verified account on Instagram and have over 20K followers in order to take a picture in front of it enters the art world, it makes us want to scoff and spit on all of the great masterpieces in the history of art.

 

Check out Justin’s article on VICE

Where do I even begin? This mural located at 7753 Melrose Ave. It is completely covered by a tent and in order to take a picture in front of the mural, you need to show that you either have a verified Twitter Account, or that you have more than 20,000 Instagram followers. Society calls them “influencers” because we look upon them to tell us what is “in” and what is “out” of mainstream.

 

There has been so many negative reactions against it (as it should!), and surprisingly it is by both sides of the 20K marker. But what does this mean about “public” art itself? Or when we analyze this deeper, what does this mean about our society? In this case, it’s not hard to connect the two. As an art historian, one of the many people we despise in the art world are private collectors. Aside from messing with the art market prices, they are responsible for lack in research of some important historical artworks and artifacts.

What does this mean about our society though? Very much like these restricted artworks and artifacts, this so called “private mural” is restricting the public from enjoying an artwork that is meant to be viewed by the public. It is, afterall, in a public space. But once again, certain things are left to be enjoyed only by those who hold a high position in society or mainstream media.

See you next month when another private mural pops up in this country. Only this time in order to get in you will have to show the security guard that you have 50,000 followers and pay him by cutting off one of your limbs.

Public art the right way!

Mobile Lovers, (presumed) Banksy, Bristol, 2014.

Photo credit: katieloumitchell.weebly.com

Update: As of Thursday 6/28, the mural is now open to everyone thanks to “intense public pressure,” according to the people behind it. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

…or maybe not…as with everything these days…it was a marketing stunt…for a Tumblr TV ShowBecause apparently that’s a thing now.

Neat. :/

Dodger Dogs and a Hog Wild Mural

by Ada Ruiz

Welcome to Clougherty Packing Co., home of the famous Dodger Dogs and of the poorly painted hog wild mural. If you haven’t already heard about or seen this place, I highly recommend a trip there at least once in your lifetime. This place is the Farmer John Brand Clougherty Meat Packing Company in Vernon, CA, which is a very small, smelly, industrialized city. As you’re passing through the city via South Soto St., you come across a vibrant mural depicting a quaint farm landscape with pigs roaming around freely and little kids chasing after them. You can also see some farm workers sleeping in hammocks, dogs chasing after quails, and a little girl selling lemonade with her partner who’s a pig.

Since I had been driving by it my whole life, I decided to stop and experience it from up close. When I finally did, I immediately wanted to regret my decision, but was too busy trying to catch my breath from laughing so hard. Just look at the faces!

A brief history of this mural:

In 1957, Barney Clougherty, who was the owner of Farmer John’s company, commissioned the painter known as Les (short for Leslie) Grimes. Les was known to be a talented painter of scenic backgrounds for Hollywood movie sets and spent the next eleven years working on the mural. What is unfortunate is that while working on painting the crystal blue sky of his landscape, Grimes fell from a fifty- foot scaffolding and died instantly, leaving half of the building unfinished. After his death, Clougherty hired another muralist named Arno Jordan to finish the mural.

What’s interesting to me, once I look past the horribly depicted animal anatomy, is the differences in styles.

These are the weird looking faced ones:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these are ones that look muscular, almost human like and darker:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nonetheless, it was a fun and amusing experience getting to see these murals up close after driving by it my whole life. If you can get passed the odors of what will remind you either of hot dogs cooking on the grill or puke, I suggest you come see this place for yourself.

 

3049 E Vernon Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90058