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Muralist Sues Property Owner for Sandblasting 1969 Wall Art into Oblivion

Victor Henderson, co-founder of the L.A. Fine Arts Squad, contends the destruction of the work -- the backdrop for a famous 1969 photo of the band the Doors -- was "willful, intentional and grossly negligent."

YouTube screen capture of the Brooks Avenue Painting in Venice before it was sandblasted away.
YouTube screen capture of the Brooks Avenue Painting in Venice before it was sandblasted away.

A newly filed lawsuit alleges the owner of a Venice building on which a decades-old mural was painted violated federal law by destroying the work without consulting the artist who created it.

Victor Henderson, the Los Angeles artist who helped create the "Brooks Avenue Painting" in 1969, is suing South African artist Ralph Ziman -- owner of the building that housed the mural at Brooks and Pacific avenues -- and the contractor who allegedly sandblasted it into street-art history last August.

Ziman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit, which alleges violation of federal copyright law.

The mural "was a piece of realism done with an accurate perspective, depicting a street scene in Venice," according to the lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles federal court.

Henderson, co-founder of the L.A. Fine Arts Squad, contends the destruction of the work -- the backdrop for a famous 1969 photo of the band the Doors -- was "willful, intentional and grossly negligent."

With its destruction, "Los Angeles lost a key piece of mural history," according to the plaintiff, who is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

--City News Service


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