Here’s the story. Yesterday, the HPOA announced a competition to select artwork for ten utility boxes on Hollywood Boulevard.2 The first two requirements for submissions are:
- 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.
and according to the artist statement:
What evolved, in searching for design elements and solutions for this station, was the implication of Hollywood as a dream factory for world culture. The ingredients were light and power, fantasy and enchantment, glitz and glitter. The theater was the extension and satellite of Hollywood’s pervasive influence everywhere.
It sounds just like what Kerry and the boys want to slap all over those utility boxes, except, look at the images. It’s just not OK. In fact, as Luján said in another context6 it “[runs] against some Euro-aesthetic standards of the period.” Wikipedia puts it pretty well in this description of Luján’s work:
[Luján’s] artwork became famous in its own right throughout the 1980s and 1990s as it used colorful imagery, anthropomorphic animals, depictions of outrageously proportioned lowrider cars, festooned with indigenous/urban motifs juxtaposed, graffiti, Dia De Los Muertos installation altars and all sorts of borrowings from pop-culture.
And it’s not just Luján that Kerry and the boys are dismissing from their attempt to “…[be] inspired by the city, its history and future!” Graffiti art is a world-famous part of the LA art scene. It appears at MOCA, it’s the subject of scholarly works, it’s a tourist attraction, it’s in art galleries.
It’s everywhere but on utility boxes in Hollywood, which are ruled by the idiosyncratic Euro-aesthetic, fear-driven artistic sensibilities of Ms. Kerry Morrison.
In closing, we can’t help but compare this latest attempt to restore caucasian cultural supremacy to Hollywood and to cleanse undesirable elements from Hollywood with the famed Nazi focus on degenerate art. This isn’t the first point of comparison we’ve found and it surely won’t be the last. When groups have so many of their goals in common it’s no surprise when they evolve common methodologies.
Images of Luján’s artwork are public records produced by Metro. Image of graffiti mural is freely licensed and came to us via Wikimedia.
- We say “they” as if this is an impersonalized position of the HPOA, but it’s almost certainly the idea of Kerry Morrison all alone. It’s just the kind of neurotic obsession that she’s renowned for. Jacques Bernoulli famously said of Isaac Newton in explaining how he could attribute an anonymous publication that “I recognize the lion by his paw,” and we here at MK.org, having read thousands of pages of the nonsense spewed forth by these people, have become able to recognize the directrix by her delusional ranting. Also, the rest of the dimwits on the HPOA board of directors don’t have enough artistic sense to even be aware that graffiti art is a thing.
- This complements a similar program in the Sunset & Vine BID that you may have seen the fruits of. We haven’t written about the SVBID version of this because we’ve been too busy filing complaints, but it’s pretty risible. It’s just that the SVBID version never rose to the level of racism and hatred for the indigenous culture of our City that has moved us to write the present post.
- Take note of the capital letters here. Kerry Morrison really, really hates graffiti. The conspicuous lack of capital-letter shouting elsewhere in this document suggests that she hates graffiti more than she loves Hollywood. The subsequent capitalization of “Cartoon Images” and “Graffiti” suggest the outsized proportions that these bêtes noires have taken on in Kerry Morrison’s imagination. This hyperobsession calls to mind her similarly disproportionate fixation on restaurant music.
- We preserve the weirdo quotation marks even though the intended purpose is impossible to discern. For us they show the HPOA’s commitment to creating a delusionally sanitized version of something they insist on calling “Hollywood” to be overlain over the real-life neighborhood.
- Although we wouldn’t be overly surprised if the HPOA had managed to find the one PR firm in Los Angeles that doesn’t understand how not to look like a blithering racist. They are located in freaking Larchmont Village, after all, which is a locality that tends to encourage neither consciousness nor awareness of their surroundings in its rich, white, clueless denizens.
- The significance of Los Four mirrored the socio-political introspection and concerns of Raza at that time besides providing some iconographic vocabulary to initiate definitions of our ethno-art forms. Our Los Four Xicano contingency ran against some Euro-aesthetic standards of the period. Los Four was a Chicano artistic collective in Los Angeles of which Luján was a founding member.