Filmmaker Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films has this to say in a column published on Huffington Post about MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch’s bad decision to whitewash the Blu mural without consulting the community:

Hiding behind “sensitivity” for veterans, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch’s order to destroy artist Blu’s work on the wall of the Geffen Contemporary Building conveyed a deep ignorance about the veterans community in the United States, which includes a great many people who strongly oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He goes on the shoot down Deitch’s explanation:

Creating art conveys a message. Destroying it also sends a message.

At some point we’re going to have to show our veterans some true respect rather than assuming they’re thin-skinned war-mongers who would be offended by opposition to war.


I also find it really disturbing that so many street art fanboys and artists have been mum about this topic or simply think it’s something we should overlook and forget.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

15 replies on “Robert Greenwald Blasts Jeffrey Deitch’s Order to Destroy Blu Mural”

      1. Maybe fall into your “overlook and forget” group, although I would disagree. I’m not sure exactly who you were referring to. But I took a side (unpopular as it may be) and I agree that more people should have spoken up about these events, regardless of whether they agree with Hrag or me or have some other opinion. Or it would even be an improvement on the current situation if more street art blogs would report the story as news if they decide they don’t want to voice an opinion. So many sites have remained silent or given this be bare minimum of coverage.

        1. I don’t think this is a binary, RJ. It’s not one side or the other. I honestly don’t understand your point of it being public art. As the curator or director, I’m honestly not sure what his exact role is in Art in the Streets, it was his job to speak to the community and educate people about the project and have the artist speak to people, etc. None of that happened and that’s very very unusual. His comment to Blu about making it essentially an ad for the museum is disturbing.

          And I wasn’t referring to you as the fanboy either. You engaged the issue. I didn’t realize people would be dying to know who the fanboys are … LOL

          1. I found it interesting that Deitch chose to disclose the exact amount of the fee paid to Blu. That seemed somewhat unprofessional and was possibly done out of a desire to humiliate the artist as revenge for his non-compliance in the subsequent cover-up attempt.

      2. Exactly Hrag. He “suggested he’s against Deitch’s decision.” It’s no wonder it took so long to pen that. It’s rife with half-stepping and it’s basically hundreds of words that say: Not taking a stance.

  1. This site and Animal NY seem to be the only blogs that don’t heavily self-censor on the subject of street art. Too many others give a very narrow and distorted perspective either due to commercial influence/interests, fear of upsetting a powerful and entrenched hierarchy, or out of a desire to maintain business as usual within the clique that has had things sewn up tight in the street art world for years now.

    Thank god the stale old order is being challenged at last. It’s been stifling things for too long. Time to throw off it’s repressive yoke once and for all.

    1. Hyperallergic does a better job than other website, bar none, of art criticism regarding street art. And Bucky, I hope you don’t read this and think I’m trying to be like Marc Schiller did when he tweeted about Vandalog. For one thing, the Hyperallergic staff wouldn’t fall for it. And more importantly, I’ve been saying this about Hrag pretty much ever since Luna Park turned me on to his blog.

  2. There is a bigger picture in this recent bout of art censorship discussion that has yet to see the light of day. Where are all the conservative themed works of art at? They are not shown or if they are the fact that they convey a conservative theme is never discussed. I’m talking about conservative themes in general not just far right-wing art. Those works end up censored before they even have a chance to be considered. If the public is being robbed from anything it is the fact that a true visual discussion on the hot issues of our time are simply not taking place. Instead we continue to see one-sided politics dominate art.

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