UPDATE (Jan. 21): An inquiry by L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin’s office into the destruction of “Mr. Abbot Kinney Reflected” found that a graffiti removal request to the city’s Office of Community Beautification led to the artwork’s removal. Officials removed the art because it did not have a permit, but Bonin is willing to work with Murez to have the work recreated and permitted, council office spokesman David Graham-Caso said.
“Mr. Abbot Kinney Reflected,” an anamorphic portrait of Venice’s founder painted on the sidewalk at the corner of San Juan and Electric avenues, disappeared over the weekend — most likely erased with a power scrubber, said creator Robin Murez.
“I am horrified, saddened, outraged and shocked that this piece of artwork was destroyed. We don’t know if it was done by the city or if some vigilante took it upon him
or herself to destroy the artwork,” Murez said.
Jeff Weiss, who owns the home on the street corner where the piece had been located, discovered on Saturday that Murez’s work had disappeared.
“I was just walking to the house and noticed that it was gone. It was always so welcoming,” Weiss said.
Murez created the multimedia sidewalk portrait in 2013 as a gift to Weiss but did not secure a permit for it, she said.
The artwork’s location on the sidewalk puts it in a “gray area” legally, said Lizy Dastin, a street art scholar and the founder of Art and Seeking street art tours.
Artwork on a wall, such as a mural, is considered private property, said Dastin, but an artwork on a sidewalk is typically considered to be in public space. Regardless, the work’s demise is a blow to Venice’s artistic landscape, she said.
“Bottom line is that a treasure was taken away from Venice,” said Dastin. “Whether it was legal or not, it’s a treasure lost.”
The city’s Department of Cultural Affairs could not be reached for comment.
Murez has put a sign above the former site of “Mr. Abbot Kinney Reflected” asking for anyone with information about its removal to contact her. She can be reached at email@example.com.
— Christina Campodonico