01/03/2011: censorship and the arts

On this week’s Hear in the City, we take a look at censorship in the arts from the perspective of three exhibitions taking place in Los Angeles.

Hear in the City airs every Monday at 2pm Pacific Standard Time on listener-supported KPFK, 90.7FM in Los Angeles. For an archive of the entire show, visit kpfk.org and please consider making a donation to the station. :)

In December, GOP congressmen ordered the removal of an artwork from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibit at the Smithsonian claiming it was “an outrageous use of taxpayer money and an obvious attempt to offend Christians during the Christmas season.” Hear in the City’s Jesse Lerner has this take on how other museums are protesting the censorship by showing “A Fire in My Belly” (1986) by artist David Wojnarowicz.

In 1932, after having served prison time for his political views, David Alfaro Siquieros came to Los Angeles to work. He was commissioned to paint a mural on a beer garden wall above the Italian Hall at Olvera Street. That mural -titled America Tropical- was whitewashed shortly after it was completed. America Tropical sits at the center of an exhibition currently on display at the Autry Museum called Siquieros; Censorship Defied.

As part of the “Art in the Streets” exhibition, the Italian street artist known as BLU was hired by MOCA to paint a mural on the north wall of the Geffen Temporary Contemporary in Little Tokyo. The museum had the mural was removed just after its completion. Hear in the City’s Luis Sierra Campos asked Man One who directs CREWEST Gallery downtown what he has to say about censorship of street art in Los Angeles.

A Word About Rain: Almost 85% of the water we use in the City of Los Angeles is imported from the Colorado River and from Northern California. But, what if we could capture and save the water that falls from the sky in quantity as it has in the past few weeks so as not to take water from other places that need it, too?

You can find out more about the city’s Rainwater Harvesting program: http://www.larainwaterharvesting.org/

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