See our latest: Foster the People Mural Was Never Legit, City Officials Say
A downtown L.A. mural produced as a backdrop for an album-promoting show by the band Foster the People has been saved by none other than Mayor Eric Garcetti, the pop trio announced overnight via Twitter.
The band had previously stated that it was informed by the city that the multistory mural at 539 S. Los Angeles St. must come down because it did not comply with local regulations.
It's not clear what regulations the mural might have violated, but there was speculation that city officials might not have been comfortable with its commercial elements:
City Hall had been struggling with murals for years. A key issue had been how to allow the public works of art without creating a loophole that could be exploited by some outdoor advertisers and their alleged "supergraphic" visual blight.
See also: L.A.'s Ban on Murals Overturned
The city's ban on murals was overturned a year ago, and noncommercial pieces that are registered with the Department of Cultural Affairs can often be legitimized.
The Foster the People piece was apparently produced for an adjacent show on Jan. 23 that was used to promote a forthcoming album. The painting was also used for a time-lapse video for the band's track "Coming of Age."
The band lists the artists behind the work as Daniel Lahoda, Vyal, and Leba. Lahoda has clashed with municipal authorities in the past over the legality of Arts District murals he says he was standing up for.
While the band says it had all the "permits" necessary to create the piece, a city official told us that a previous mural that Lahoda tried to save — he argued that it complied with all local rules — was not registered with Cultural Affairs, as required.
The trio stated that it was warned to take the mural down by today. The band doesn't say who issued the warning, but the Department of Building and Safety usually takes the lead on take-down orders.
A Change.org petition digitally signed by 12,051 people sought to save the mural, saying that it "is such a beautiful piece that adds so much to its surroundings."
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Last night the pop band claimed victory:
We just received a call from the mayor’s office. @EricGarcetti saw your petition and decided against repainting the wall. The Mural Stays!— Foster The People (@fosterthepeople) July 14, 2014
Noted street artist Shepard Fairey has also produced murals that could be mistaken for advertisements — in his case for the Obey clothing line he runs.