We reported a couple weeks ago that the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance had put out a request for artists to submit works to adorn local signal boxes that explicitly excluded graffiti art and cartoon art. This despite, perhaps, given the BID’s vicious white supremacism, because of the fact that graffiti and cartoon art styles are a cornerstone of indigenous Angeleno/Latino culture. Well, if you live in the area, you may have noticed that the Sunset & Vine BID, controlled by the Central Hollywood Coalition, the HPOA’s not-quite-so-evil twin sister, recently put up artwork on ten signal boxes in their district. Their call for artists incorporated the same restriction as the current HPOA one: “No Cartoon Images or Graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”
The theme of each project must include “Hollywood”. Be inspired by the city, its history and future!
NO3 Cartoon Images or Graffiti work of any kind will be considered.
Do you see the contradiction here? The history of “Hollywood”4 and even more so the future of Hollywood includes cartoon images and graffiti work, both of which styles are inextricably associated with Latino culture in Los Angeles, including, to the evident dismay of the HPOA, Hollywood itself. And even bracketing this uncaring aggressive ignorance about the local culture, we have to wonder who says something like that out loud? Hate graffiti art if you will, or any kind of art, but if you’re announcing a public contest to choose art for public display to be paid for with public money, have the self-awareness to understand that by announcing out loud that you won’t consider a style of art that’s so strongly associated with Latinos you’re making yourself look like a ignorant racist yahoo. Just a fact. You don’t have to believe us, ask your PR firm.5
Just for instance, consider the world-famous Hollywood/Vine Red Line station. Metro commissioned artwork from world-famous Los Angeles artist Gilbert Luján to decorate the station. According to Metro:
Artist and architect worked together to evoke the history, glamour and excitement of the Hollywood film industry’s yesteryears and its great movie palaces.
We’ve written before about the BIDs’ and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s sinister plot to turn Hollywood into a sundown town by discouraging black and brown people from coming here at night. We’ve also written about the Hollywood Entertainment District BID’s soulless opposition to the saintly Senator Carol Liu’s Right to Rest Act, which would prevent the BID Patrol from harassing and arresting homeless people for violating the vile LAMC 41.18(d), which makes it a misdemeanor to sit on the sidewalk for any purpose other than watching a parade. What we discovered recently from a fine article by Renee Lewis which appeared yesterday on Al Jazeera America is that the two issues are linked via the despicable League of California Cities.
Lewis quotes various activists to the effect that “[t]he homeless are not the first marginalized group targeted by the League in its over 100-year history” and “[t]he League has supported sundown towns, Jim Crow laws, Chinese exclusion and Japanese internment.” And it’s true. E.g., look at the LA Times1 on February 16, 1942, where Richard Graves, executive secretary of the League is quoted as saying:
The most obvious advantage to be gained by enactment of such ordinances [including evacuation of Japanese-Americans] is protection of the civilian population…