Last month, Jeffrey Deitch, director of MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary in Los Angeles, made the contentious decision to whitewash a politically themed mural composed on a wall of the museum by Italian artist Blu. On Monday night, a group of artistically inclined demonstrators let their opinions of Deitch’s choice be known in the form of laser graffiti and projected images beamed onto the site of the coverup.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that it was Deitch himself who had commissioned Blu to paint the piece in the first place. Here’s why he changed his mind — and kicked off a controversy in the art world. –KA

“Culture Monster” in the Los Angeles Times:

The group of artists — which included respected Chicano artist/Vietnam War veteran Leo Limon as well as Joey Krebs a.k.a. The Phantom Street Artist — took turns tagging the museum wall using a handmade laser graffiti gun created for the event by artist/computer programmer Todd Moyer. A specially designed computer program animated the light-graffiti so that it looked like dripping paint as it hit the wall.

The MOCA wall has been blank since Deitch had Italian street artist Blu’s antiwar mural whitewashed from it in early December. Deitch had commissioned Blu to paint the mural; but after it was completed, Deitch became concerned that its provocative imagery of coffins draped in dollar bills would be offensive to some in the neighborhood as it was adjacent to a Veterans Affairs hospital and a war memorial to Japanese American soldiers. The incident sparked heated, and sharply divided, opinions that continue to rattle many in the art community.

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