"Las Iguanas" Muralist Files Suit

A Los Angeles muralist has filed a lawsuit in federal court over a 20-year old public mural being painted over with a beer ad.

The Silver Lake mural by Annie Sperling, "La Nuestra Reina de Las Iguanas," is a Zapotec woman wearing a crown of iguanas, a colorized reference to the 1979 Graciela Iturbide photograph "La Nuestra Senora de las Iguanas, Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico" (Our Lady of the Iguanas, Juchitán, Oaxaca, Mexico).

LA Eastsider has been covering the mural's vulnerability to advertising since April 2011.

Story continues below

The suit filed in U.S. District Court claims the defendants "acted in conscious disregard of the rights of Sperling and without taking advantage of preservation techniques that would have saved the "Our Lady of the Iguanas" mural for future enjoyment." The violation of the Visual Artists Act of 1990 includes that when the mural was painted over, the artist was not notified by the defendants. According to the lawsuit, "Sperling's name appeared on the mural."

$250,000 in damages are being sought by the artists, who is represented by attorney A. Eric Bjorgum. Bjorgum also represented Kent Twitchell in his case over the loss of "Ed Ruscha Monument" in 2006.

In May, 2012, Bjorgumm was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, which Twitchell help found.

At 1,050 square feet in size, "Our Lady of the Iguanas" was at 4013 Sunset Blvd.

Photo © Annie Sperling.

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading