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.
There’s a new security-guarded mural in LA that only allows influencers and verifieds to take pics in front of it. pic.twitter.com/PDlLJ9C0DI
— justin caffier (@JustinCaffier) June 25, 2018
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!