Willie Herrón | Notes on Looking

LA is getting its murals back!

Back in July, muralists from all over Los Angeles filled up room 340 in City Hall to find out that the LA City Mural Ordinance could not be agreed on and we’d all have to wait until September to find out when and under what circumstances original art murals on private property would be legal again.  But then in September the City postponed it to October.  After a 10-year Mural Moratorium, artists were getting tired and fed up.  (Here’s the link to my post back in July about the Public Hearing in case you missed it.) So on Thursday, we all returned to that same room in City Hall to find out about the future of LA’s walls.  The City Planning Commission (CPC) heard many artists, teachers, activists, etc. explain once again what should be included or disregarded in the proposed ordinance.  Many agreed on the same issues as last time, such as how the definition of “Original Art Mural” shouldn’t include digitally printed images and that single-family homes should be able to have a mural.  The difference in this hearing was that more artists who wanted digital murals included in the ordinance spoke their minds, including Judy Baca from SPARC (who failed to attend the last hearing). After the discussion went back and forth between council members, compromises were starting to be made.  In the end the council members agreed that residential buildings with 2 units could lawfully display a mural.  However, even though there was a big divide in the issue of digitally printed images being permitted, it was not voted against.  We will just have to...

ALAC, Callejón Herrón, Saving our Murals in LA, and Remembering Ronald Lopez

After a couple of weeks of some really great moments and some not so great moments in the LA art scene, I’ve finally decided to take this opportunity to stop “looking” and start “telling”. Upon walking into Art Los Angeles Contemporary a couple of weeks ago, I luckily found Mark Verabioff performing his version of Little Boxes.  This song, originally written by Malvina Reynolds in the 60s about suburban tract housing, was a perfect way to describe the spectacle of the art fair “all made of ticky-tacky” and which “all look just the same”.  Verabioff walked on speakers attached to his shoes, while he performed in front of the Night Gallery’s “little box”.  As he chanted, he snorted and dropped his pages of lyrics to the floor.  The tone was perfectly set for me, as this was the beginning of my weekend of art fairs.  I have to thank Verabioff for this as my intention for coming was to discover new Latino galleries or Latino artists…Unfortunately I found too many white (literally) “little boxes” which “all look just the same”. HOWEVER, I did find one gallery from Mexico City, Yautepec Gallery, showing young, emerging Mexican and international artists, such as Ryan Perez, Ciler, Anibal Catalan, Misael Torres, Txema Novelo and Morgan Manduley. While at the fair, I was fortunately able to meet and talk to Morgan Manduley, who had driven up from San Diego.  Manduley’s father is Cuban and his mother is the daughter of a cowboy from Oklahoma.  In his work you can definitely see how his mixed background plays a role.  His paintings seem to have a...