If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then apparently some beholders at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at L.A. Live don’t have much of an eye for art.
A trio of artists contends Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc., which owns the residences, owes them $100,000 – and an apology – after a cleaning crew threw away their artworks.
The artists and art organization L.A. Art Machine filed a federal lawsuit two weeks ago accusing AEG of negligence, breach of contract, and violations of state and federal art-protection laws.
“It seems like it should be embarrassing to lose someone’s artwork – and then to deny responsibility for it,” said plaintiff Mear One, real name Kalen Ockerman, who has done album covers for major musical acts such as Guns N’ Roses.
AEG did not return calls for comment.
Ockerman and two other artists – Shark Toof, real name David Lew, and Chor Boogie, real name Jason Hailey – painted murals in a 51st-floor penthouse at the Ritz-Carlton Residences in January. The murals and work from other artists were on display during a party ringing in the start of the Los Angeles Art Show.
After the show, according to the lawsuit, AEG asked that the murals stay in place while the company showed the penthouse to potential buyers. In late June, the company contacted Bryson Strauss of L.A. Art Machine, who curated the January event, and asked that the art be removed.
Strauss said he and the artists went to pick up the murals less than a week later. When they arrived at the Ritz-Carlton, they were told the art had been taken down.
A few days later, Strauss said a construction manager at the residences e-mailed him the bad news: “He wrote that as part of a general cleanup, it was likely thrown in the dumpster.”
Strauss sent an $80,000 invoice for the murals – an estimate he said was too low and has since been raised to $100,000 – but said AEG officials told him it was unfortunate but they had the right to throw the murals out.
Mear One still can’t get over it.
“I figured, ‘That’s got to be a mistake.’ You’d have to be insane to throw this stuff out,” said the artist.
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