Art in the Streets

Photo by Unurth

I’m looking forward to the upcoming exhibit “Art in the Streets” presented by MOCA at The Geffen Contemporary in downtown Los Angeles.  The show is a retrospective of graffiti from the 1970’s to present.  Recently, the museum’s director Jeffery Deitch, commissioned Italian artist BLU to paint a mural outside of the Geffen Contemporary as a precursor to the show. Now, here’s where it gets interesting. It seems like a lot miscommunication took place, and as a result the massive anti-war mural depicting coffins draped in dollar bills was whitewashed on December 15.

Fast forward to the night of January 3rd, 2011 – A protest took place in the parking lot of the Geffen Contemporary, which included Chicano artist and Vietnam War veteran Leo Limon and The Phantom Street Artist. Using a laptop and a laser projector, approximately 20 artists projected animated light-graffiti messages in support of BLU’s work.

I contacted the Phantom and asked him about what went down on Monday. Here’s what he said.

On Monday Night Jan 3rd 2010, I aka the Phantom Street Artist participated in an intervention with several other urban artists in staged a protest against the Deitch and MOCA’s for censoring BLU’s artwork..

In sharing the Phantom Street Artist thoughts through its critical essay!

The ABC of Abuse of Power Comes as No Surprise..
By Phantom Street Artist

It comes as no surprise when explicit censorship can be carried out and named by Politicians in the interest of defending National Security all the while denying our inherent rights to the freedom of information act. Earlier this week it is the Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough who ordered the removal of a short video-excerpt from a critically acclaimed exhibition in Washington DC by the deceased Artist David Wojnarowicz. Today it is the local Los Angeles Museum Director Jeffrey Deitch who objects by nonchalantly choosing to whitewash BLU’s walls in fear of embarrassing the public policy of MOCA for its next Graffiti Exhibit in 2011. These factions and their cohorts present the age old argument that any release of information and or expression will lead to threats of national security or cultural, economical and political loss in place of discursive knowledge and expression.

How Pathetic??

In its absurdity, MOCA prides itself as an international progressive institution which allows for freedom of expression and thought. Before we understood How to Say and Mean Deitch’s censorship has chosen to exclude certain topics and language from the value of our community expression.

In finality these acts of censorship by those who rule and are seated in cultural and political power are only defending themselves and their gratuitous hegemonic groups, by not allowing such a harmless inalienable right and discourse to be engaged in our culture they have ignorantly undermined themselves and their institution. Such actions by a provincial Director tells us through his actions that the Museums next premiere Street Artist Graffiti exhibit will have to be safe as its criteria in its applied decor.

So let’s remember never to forget that in the future we will all need to meet the complacent and censored criteria of its Museum Director in masquerading as Street Artists for the Next MOCA sponsored Graffiti Exhibit.

Where’s my Shoe and my Can of Spray Paint?

Phantom Street Artist

Questioning Our Kulture in Question…

Thanks Phantom.

So guys, what do you think? Does the MOCA have the right to do what they want with their wall or is it censorship?

Similar Posts


  1. The Phantom Street Artist was years ahead of its time as a true visionary. The Street Phantom’s critique as a social prophesy unraveled, Years later Deitch’s role as a Director and his credibility for the Museum is subject to question by recalling what the Phantom once shared, by not allowing a harmless point to be addressed they.. “ignorantly undermined themselves and their institution”!!

  2. Deitch and his MOCA staff have an agenda for its obviously self interest.. What a loss for the art world and its museum!!

    The Safe Parade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I say if they are bold enough to allow a graffiti artist to draw on the walls of MoCA and expect the public’s review, then they should do just that! Allow the public’s review. If they fear that the statement of the art is “too much” as some may say, then what is art after all? isn’t art meant to be an expression after all? …. SMH

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *