The 50 Most Iconic Artworks of the Past Five Years

7. Protest Performance at MOCA Geffen Contemporary, Los Angeles by Joey Krebs, Leo Limon, Todd Moyer & others, 2011

As a part of the 2011 exhibition Art in the Streets, MOCA Los Angeles Director Jeffrey Deitch commissioned Italian street artist Blu to paint a mural. Upon completion of the mural, Deitch felt the content (rows of military-style coffins each draped with an oversized dollar bill) inappropriate and the mural was whitewashed within 24 hours. A debate ignited—was this a case of sensitivity or censorship? In an act of protest, a group of artists, activists, and passersby gathered at the former site of Blu's mural, armed with a projector and laser graffiti gun programmed to imitate the look of dripping paint. Needless to say, this fearless reaction to a mural's whitewashing reminds us all to remember our freedom of speech and reclaim our public spaces, especially tied to the rise of street art and discusssions of censorship within the medium.

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