Risky and I recently stumbled upon this amazing mural in the Terminal Annex building on Alameda in Downtown Los Angeles. Boris Deutsch painted the mural, from 1941 to 1944 during the tale end of the Great Depression and in the run up to the Second World War. This mural was made possible by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which put Americans to work during difficult times. The WPA is responsible for a variety of projects throughout the country including hiring artists to create beautiful historical pieces of artwork.
Without the WPA we wouldn’t have this amazing mural in LA, not to mention hundreds of other amazing murals all over the country. This particular mural reflects what was happening historically at the time. The artwork ends with a visual description of the beginning of World War Two, leaving the viewer with a sense of anxiety knowing what was ahead for our country.
Now fast forward to my generation. The timeline we reside in is coined ”The Great Recession”. We are facing severe economic difficulties due to the decisions of current and previous lawmakers that created a wealth gap so vast that there seems to be no end in site. To put things in perspective the current city government of Los Angeles actually spent millions of dollars each year to remove art and criminalize artists. New laws have been put in place that actually ban public murals and deem them signage and not art. Groups of sheriff go to local business to harass them for having murals on their premises and threaten them with fines and jail time if the owner does not comply and remove the artwork. Basically taxpayer’s are providing the funds to pay many private “Graffiti Removal” companies to censor art at will.
The supposed war on graffiti is actually a war on small business and freedom of expression. The City Of Los Angeles, once known as “The Mural Capitol Of The World”, is now specializing in the criminalization of public art. In 2011 its more probable that an artist will go to jail to quench the private prison industry’s feeding frenzy then a tax paying citizen of the city actually get a permit to paint a beautiful mural.
As we left, a group of security guards told us terminal annex is no longer a federal building, and we needed permission to film the murals that once belonged to the people of the USA. It seems a private company that doesn’t appreciate visitors enjoying the historical artwork that was originally for everyone now owns Terminal Annex. Of course as we leave we acknowledge the generic large corporate sign “corpocorp” displayed outside that basically is equal to a no trespassing sign. Is this the future of America?…………………………