Practice Safe Art
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In response to the whitewashing of a mural nearly completed by Blu on an exterior wall of the MoCA by museum Director Jeffrey Deitch in December 2010, a “Deitch” brand condom was conceived.
The mural which depicted a series of coffins draped by one dollar bills was removed by Deitch as a friendly gesture to the surrounding veteran community who may be offended and disrespected by such a powerful message speaking of the cost of war, the loss of human life and the reasons behind it.
It was a stark perspective on war policy and the role of corporate tyranny which has little regard for the value of human life. Though the response to art placed in settings which can be viewed by the public is highly difficult to gage, the value of freedom of expression is a right which must be protected and fought for. If society loses it’s ability to have meaningful dialogue, freedom of expression and the right to political dissent then we are in trouble.
The “Deitch” condoms simply state “Don’t Be Blu, Practice Safe Art” playing with a well known public health campaign which utilized the slogan “Practice Safe Sex” . In the case of the “Deitch” condom – the “product” speaks to the disease of censorship and intolerance of political dissent which must be handled by practicing safe art and hindering expression in order to not ruffle the feathers of the powers that be.
On January 13, 2011 there was a panel discussion at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles titled “How Does Street Art Humanize Cities?” where the condoms were passed out to attendees as they were waiting to enter the discussion. The action of distributing the “Deitch” condoms in such a way at a public gathering was an integral part of the intent and of raising awareness and creating dialogue on an important issue which should be examined and not quietly tucked away. Artistic expression is the human voice and silencing it does not humanize a city.