A Los Angeles mural artist has filed a lawsuit in federal court against multinational brewer Heineken and other parties over a public mural she created 20 years ago that was recently painted over with a beer advertisement.
Lawyers for Annie Sperling claim that the mural "Our Lady of the Iguanas" was improperly painted over and that the defendants made no attempt to notify the artist of their plans, according to court papers. Sperling is seeking at least $250,000 in damages.
The lawsuit was initially reported by the website The Eastsider LA.
The mural was located near Sunset Junction in Silver Lake and was created in 1993. "Our Lady of the Iguanas," an homage to the famous Graciela Iturbide photograph of the same name, depicted a female figure with iguanas sitting on her head. The court papers say that the mural was painted over last year with an ad for Newcastle Brown Ale, which is made and distributed by Heineken.
In addition to Heineken, the defendants named in the suit include AstraPacific Outdoor, a company that creates outdoor advertising, and Barry Mason Enterprises, which the court papers say owns the building on which the mural was painted.
When contacted by phone, Sperling declined to comment on the case. She created the mural in 1993 with the help of youth living in the area, in connection with El Centro del Pueblo, a local community service agency.
The artist has hired attorney A. Eric Bjorgum, who has experience working in the field of public art. He represented renowned L.A. muralist Kent Twitchell in his case involving the painting-over of his "Ed Ruscha Monument" in 2006. The lawyer also sits on the board of the Mural Conservancy of L.A
Sperling has created a number of murals around the city, most of them located in the Echo Park, Silver Lake and Hollywood neighborhoods.
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