At that frantic intersection just south of the 10 freeway where La Cienega meets Venice, the surrounding buildings are gray, beige or brick. Even the billboards tend to be monotonous, advertising dental offices or dating sites. So when artists' murals started appearing there, on the side of the former muffler shop that now houses François Ghebaly Gallery, they stood out. First, Nate Lowman painted a pixelated black-and-white portrait of Julia Roberts, based on the image L'Oréal used for an ad banned in the United Kingdom because of Roberts' excessively airbrushed face. Then Cyprien Gaillard put the name of dead German romantic Caspar David Friedrich on the building, using an archaic font. The mural project, called Triple A because there's still an “AAA” sign above the space from when it used to be Auto Club–approved, sponsored by curator Emma Gray and the nearby Mandrake Bar along with Ghebaly, is public but by no means lowbrow. A recent instance, a striking expanse of bright blue courtesy of Garth Weiser, made the building look like a minimalist abstraction. 2600 S. La Cienega Blvd., Mid-City. (310) 280-0777,

—Catherine Wagley

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