Is it the longest mural in the world? That’s what they said. The Great Wall of Los Angeles stretches for half a mile along an unstable canvas: a concrete wall of the Tujunga Wash drainage canal in the San Fernando Valley.
And in the event that the Great Wall isn’t the longest, or a rival mural emerges to challenge its supremacy, there are plans to double its size.
It recounts Los Angeles history from the 1950s back to prehistoric times. After visiting over Labor Day weekend while housekeeper for a friend in North Hollywood, I briefly mentioned here about the mural. “If I can ever find a reason to write about it,” I added, “I will.”
My defense is that the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach has a huge scope exhibition devoted to Judy Baca, and whose project is the Great Wall of China. I recently drove down to Long Beach to see a show.
Baca, 75 years old, has been doing art around the city for more than 50 years, with famous projects like an Olympics mural on Highway 110 and archway, square and Metrolink train station platform in Baldwin Park.
Her concert in Long Beach – “Judy Baca: Memorias de Nuestra Tierra, A Retrospective” – features 110 paintings, sketches, sculptures and more.
One installation from the 1990s is a replica of a paleta cart, made as a comment on the Proposition 187 era. The lid is open. I walked over curiously. Facing was a grinning portrait of Gov then. Pete Wilson in Border Patrol costume. Is it polite to laugh out loud in an art museum?
What interests me most is the exhibition for the Great Wall. It’s an immersive experience in which the video of the mural scrolls around the room on three walls, like a river flowing through. Great.
I don’t know how fascinating those Van Gogh shows are – I think you can lie on your back and watch “Starry Night” bobbing from the ceiling – but being surrounded by the Great Wall is definitely local and perhaps more impressive .
That’s a close-up of the mural we were able to get. Due to the location of the Great Wall at Tujunga Wash, you can see it through the chain link fence from the green belt on the opposite side.
It is in Valley Glen, between Van Nuys and North Hollywood, and along Coldwater Canyon Avenue. I got free parking on a shady street on a glaring Sunday and started walking.
At Baca’s instigation, the mural was painted between 1974 and 1983 with the help of 400 young people, 40 artist assistants, and 100 scholars. The mural highlights the role of women and minorities, including Once a slave San Bernardino Biddy Mason and robber Joaquin Murrieta.
We see the natives, the missions, the railway lines. Chinese laborers tend the citrus and Latino laborers pick it, in a setting that would have been just outside Riverside. The China massacre of 1871, an event rarely mentioned before its 150th anniversary last fall, is commemorated.
The mural was pre-existing, that’s for sure. Dust Bowl refugees, Zoot Suit Riots, Rosie the Riveter and Japanese-American interns are all represented. Safer subjects like the Gold Rush, Red Car and Charlie Chaplin are also here.
But so was White’s post-war flight to the suburbs, seen via a moving truck with the sly trade name White’s Moving. Is it polite to laugh out loud in front of a mural?
The big picture ends right after the Red Scare. Baca says her dream is to bring it into the present, touching the lunch counter seats, the 1960s political assassinations, the 1970s Chicano Moratorium and the events that followed.
Meanwhile, the Long Beach exhibition will run through March 27, and the Great Wall of China appears to be in perpetuity. If you love history, it’s well worth a look. Because this is a wall that is also a window.
On Friday, Metrolink commuter rail will offer free all-day rides as part of Transit fair day, celebrates Rosa Parks’ birthday. Some bus lines are doing the same. “Rivers can simply go to Metrolink station and board any train for free without a ticket,” the agency said. If you have an entire day to spare, go exploring, have lunch somewhere, or just look out the window as the scenery passes.
David Allen writes Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, the days go by. Email email@example.com, phone 909-483-9339, like davidallencolumnist on Facebook and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/02/01/half-mile-great-wall-of-los-angeles-mural-may-become-greater/ The half-mile mural The Great Wall in Los Angeles could get bigger – San Bernardino Sun