Judy Baca saw the graffiti marring her giant mural of an Olympic runner as little acts of oppression. It was as if the taggers, who spray-painted big bubbly letters over the legs of the female athlete, wanted her to trip and fall on the home stretch.
But the Los Angeles artist was shocked when she learned that sometime in March — during Women’s History Month — someone had painted over the mural, concealing the woman entirely. The artwork, commissioned in 1984 and painted on the 110 Freeway near the 4th Street exit in downtown Los Angeles, commemorates the first time women were allowed to run in the Olympic marathon, at the 1984 Summer Games in L.A.
“Covering it in total was the ultimate act,” Baca said.
The mural is among a long list of L.A. artworks, including several other Olympic scenes, that have been whitewashed across the city in violation of federal and state laws. Like other artists, Baca said she is considering legal action against the agency she thinks is responsible: the California Department of Transportation.
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