L.A. Times Murals: Now You See Them, Now You --

Every big city has its mural scandals -- or vandals. New York still remembers the time in 1934 when the Rockefeller family had Diego Rivera's Marxist Man at the Crossroads blasted from Rockefeller Center. Previously, in 1932, Los Angeles had whitewashed David Siqueiro's similarly un-P.C. Tropical America on Olvera Street. The 27 panels of San Francisco's great Anton Refregier history murals at the Rincon Annext Post Office were briefly threatened during the Red Scare. And now, in a thoroughly modern and roundabout way, Hugo Ballin's Depression-era murals are being cold-shouldered in their home inside the L.A. Times' Globe Lobby.

According to L.A. Observed, the Globe Lobby will no longer be accessible via street entrance -- effectively cutting off public viewing of the works, which depict the advance of commerce and labor. Ironically, the Ballin murals are among the few from the WPA era that don't criticize capitalism, yet apparently are being shielded from public gaze under the rationale of efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Hugo Ballin portrait from John "J-Cat" Griffith at Find-a-Grave

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