The Disappearing Mural

If you are an artist in the U.S., your artwork (piece of art) may be protected under the Visual Artists Rights Act, which became law in 1990. If you live in California, your artwork may also be protected by the California Art Preservation Act (1979). Both of these laws prohibit (make something unlawful, not legal) the alteration (changing) or destruction (destroying) of certain types of public artwork without first notifying (telling) the artist so that the artist can remove the artwork if he or she wants to.


In Los Angeles yesterday, an artist by the name of Kent Twitchell received a $1.1 million settlement (decision or compromise between the two sides in a lawsuit) in his lawsuit against the U.S. government and 11 other people who managed the building. He filed the lawsuit because his six-story (floor) mural (painting on a wall) on the side of a government building in downtown Los Angeles was painted over, so that a new layer of paint covered the mural. The mural was painted between 1978 and 1987 and is of another artist. It was painted over in 2006.

For the artist, the good news is that art experts say that it is still possible to restore (bring back) the mural. It’s not clear, though, if that will happen.

~ Lucy

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5 Responses to The Disappearing Mural

  1. Grzegorz says:

    Is this law also concerning graffiti 😉

  2. Maybe not Grzegorz, just beacuse graffiti is a way to express opposition against government. Which create laws… 🙂

  3. suakii says:

    I think that the artist’s rights have been recognized in this way.

  4. emiliano says:

    What I don’t know is if the artist was allowed to paint on that wall at the moment he did it, and if he painted the wall according with the law I think that all rights were in
    his favour, also in favour of people that liked his art and no goverment or authorities may destroyed it without previous agreement between all parts.
    Good for him, good for art if the mural can be restored and people may see it again.

  5. Elham says:

    Hello All,

    and really good to preserve the rights of artists.
    i didn’t understand something, would you please explain it for me ?

    the artist who got the settlement, was he the man who printed over the mural on 2006? and now on 2008, another person came and destroyed his painting?


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