Sidney Lumet was born on this day in 1924 and the late director of “Network” and “Dog Day Afternoon” may have been the first to use graffiti as a narrative device in a movie. And not just by documenting street life character, which Lumet is also known for in his body of work for film and television. New York street's was his stage for epic emotion.
But, when Lumet willfully directed, allowed, or approved New York graffiti into “The Wiz,” his maligned adaptation of the Broadway musical from 1978, it's not a capture of backdrop. It's creating it. First, the opening credits plays off New York’s style. Then it's prominent in Munchkin Land, filmed in New York State Pavilion on the old World’s Fair ground, converted into a graffiti playground. Moving into the scene, against the long mural, painted figures are really dancers and slink off the backdrop.
For "The Wiz," Tony Walton received Oscar nominations in 1979 in two categories; costume design and set direction/art direction.
Sure, Blondie’s video for “Rapture” used graffiti and had cameos by Lee Quinones and Jean-Michel Basquiat. But that was from 1981. And Charlie Ahearn’s hip-hop film “Wild Style” was released in 1983.
If graffiti was art directed in popular film or video prior to 1978’s “The Wiz” I’d like to know.
Since Monday, Allison "Hueman" Torneros has been painting a new mural at East Third and Main. The wall was arranged by LA Freewalls and timed for the mural ordinance that is being presented in city council August 20. Hueman is one of the woman artists recently featured in the LA Times.
It's a wall that has been whitewashed after artists were granted permission to paint by the property owner.
Also ready to speak out are Los Angeles muralists and institutions. In a pact of unity, letters to council members and council president Herb Wesson to "PASS THE MURAL ORDINANCE NOW" have been sent. “After 10 years of a legislated ban on murals on private property, our organizations and the artists have waited long enough,” says the letter dated August 14, 2013.
For those council districts that want a mural free zone, we believe an overlay zone would be appropriate. The majority of communities that have supported murals in their districts for decades should not be penalized for those few districts that oppose murals. The mural ordinance has been held in PLUM with a last minute lobby from neighborhood councils in districts that have no mural tradition, a response more to street art than the ethnic neighborhood murals that gave Los Angeles its mural tradition.
The letter is signed by the Social Public Art and Resource Center,
Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, Venice Arts Council, Self-Help
Graphics and Art, United Painters and Public Artists, Mobile Mural Lab,
Mictlan Murals, LA Freewalls, and Art Share LA.
Eytan Rosenberg was the anonymous gas station operator whose garage at Beverly and La Brea "were graced with a Banksy mural." He sold the business but took the Banksy with him and now plans to put up for auction. "In 2008, he was
approached by a regular customer, Thierry Guetta, better known as the
street artist Mr. Brainwash, who asked permission for a friend to paint
on the walls" reports the NY Times Arts Beat.
“He didn’t say Banksy,” Mr. Rosenberg said in a phone interview late
on Thursday afternoon. “He wasn’t trying to sell me on it and he didn’t
try to hype it at all.”
He wouldn’t have known who Banksy was, anyway; the pseudonymous
British artist was just gaining international acclaim. Still, he gave
his permission for the painting to happen. It was stealthy.
“I think he came at 4 a.m.,” Mr. Rosenberg recalled. He checked his
security feed for evidence of the elusive artist after seeing the piece
the next day. “I went right to my cameras, and they were completely
blank,” he said. His tech specialists were stumped: another Banksy
Once Banksy put up his stencils, “there was never any mention of what
would happen subsequently” to them, said Michael Doyle, the consignment
director at Julien’s Auctions, which is handling the sale of “Flower
Girl.” “I’m assuming that was not really one of Banksy’s concerns at
the time.” (A spokesperson for Banksy did not comment.)
After Josh Rosenberg died in 2009, the family sold the business to a Chevron franchisee in 2012. The piece stayed with the family by spending $80,000
to remove “Flower Girl” and repair the wall. “It was almost like a
family heirloom at that point,” he told the NY Times.
It's the first time a Banksy Mural is up for auction in the U.S. Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, said "Flower Girl" will be on the block
December 5. It's expected to fetch $150,000 and $300,000, reported Rueters.
Owner Who Plans to Sell a Banksy Mural Steps Forward. NYT [view]
MORE: When Banksy's Flower Girl was a simple Hollywood wallflower via LAT [view]
Pictured: Banksy's 'Flower Girl" AFP Photo I Justin Tallis
"Redemption of the Angels" Angelina Christina (Los Angeles) and Fin Dac (UK) at 4th and Merrick. Photo by: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times
Those street art articles that started trickling online at the Los Angeles Times’ website make up the cover story package for Sunday's Arts & Books "that comes at the mural issue from a number of different and even unexpected angles,” says the PR. It will include Deborah Vankin’s profile of Daniel Lahoda, who stands at the Arts District corner of commerce and art. Plus the shorter stories on "Women street artists to look out for" and "When Hollywood goes street -- the Fruitvale mural incident." The online interactive map features LA Freewalls projects in the Arts District. On the mural ordinance beat is Reed Johnson.
First Street Store Mural concept drawing: Berliner and Associates.
“Story of our Struggle” is moving
forward under the watch of the Chicano/Jewish Coalition. Often known as the
First Street Store Mural, it makes a final step toward it's preservation as a Community
Revitalization Project, according to Irma Beserra Núñez, coalition chair. The idea behind the rehabbed
First Street Store Mural Wall, which will be called the Quetzalcoatl Pyramid
Fountain and Educational Plaza, comes from a coalition press release.
Following a stringent Mural
Preservation Plan, the entire Mural Wall will be moved back ten feet as the
facade of the new charter high school. This will create an approximately
3,200 sq. ft. Educational Plaza in front of the building for students, the
community, and tourists to gather, enjoy a more comfortable view of the Mural
Panels, and gain an appreciation of community culture and history.
Educational plaques will be placed below each Mural Panel describing the
meaning in English and Spanish.
A Quetzalcoatl Pyramid Fountain will be constructed with a seating area around
the Pond. In addition, there will be benches to sit and relax while
viewing the mural, fountain and plaza. Lighting will be provided for each
Mural Panel, the plaques, fountain and plaza to make it possible for everyone
to enjoy, night and day, this exciting Chicano/Jewish Cultural Heritage
The mural was to be taken down by
Pacific Charter School Development to make room for a new building. After
protests, portions of the mural were to be saved. Then through terse advocacy,
the mural and facade is intact and will be part of the Alliance Media Arts
& Entertainment Design High School.
The public hearing is set for 9
a.m. Wednesday, May 22, in Room 150 at the L.A. County Hall of Records
(320 West Temple Street).
East Los Angeles Mural's Struggle is Over I KCET [view]