Earlier this week we reported on the appearance of a Nazi flag constructed of black and red colored tape on the Fairfax Blvd. fence surrounding LACMA and the Academy Museum. Our source was an article published by the Shalhevet High School newspaper, The Boiling Point. Yesterday, in a follow up story, Shalhevet staff reported the flag was actually a guerrilla kenetic art installation created by artist Kurosh ValaNejad, comparing the current repressive regime governing Iran to Nazi Germany. Mr. ValaNejad said he was protesting the arrest and imprisonment of a 17 year-old in Iran for writing slogans. When viewed with the motion of passing by, the image of the Iranian flag morphs into the Nazi flag as shown in the video posted on Instagram below.
Mr. ValaNejad posted the following comment on the Boiling Point.:
Kurosh ValaNejad • Feb 16, 2023 at 3:46 pm
“I am amazed that LACMA is hiding evidence and that the police without a full investigation has listed it as a hate crime. My name is Kurosh ValaNejad and I conceived and installed the artwork. And I posted it on Instagram. I included the location tag as LACMA. A basic investigation by LACMA, LAPD, and by your journalist would have clarified the misunderstanding Please update your article. And please consider publishing a story in support of the Women, Life, Freedom revolution and about the horrific crimes against humanity currently happening in Iran. My guerrilla installation is simply trying to amplify the messages that the pseudo-islamic regime in control of Iran is trying to block. I am the voice of 17 yr old tagger Hasti Ofogh who was arrested in December for writing slogans and hasn’t been seen since.”
LAPD Officials told the Boiling Point they were unaware of the Iranian flag component of the installation when the said they were filing the incident as a hate crime. When Boiling Point journalists followed up with LACMA and the Academy Museum, officials told them they would not comment on what is now an official police investigation.
In a separate email to the Boiling Point, which they reported, Mr. ValaNejad explained he was careful to use vinyl tape that would be easy to remove.
“My installation is non-destructive and easy to remove,” Mr. ValaNejad wrote, “but also (fingers crossed) reflects the falling apart of the pseudo-Islamic regime.”
The Boiling Point reported that ValaNejad indicated he would say more after the circumstances of his display had been clarified with law enforcement.
We also reached out to Mr. ValaNejad, who told the Buzz he did not have anything additional to add to his comments posted in the Boiling Point. Our thanks to Buzz readers and the staff at the Boiling Point for providing additional information and understanding about what we now know was a guerrilla art installation intended to raise awareness of the repressive regime in Iran that is brutally punishing protestors. It was an unfortunate misunderstanding of the artist’s intent due to the sensitivity to the increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents here in Los Angeles and in the rest of the country.
Meanwhile this week, the Holocaust Museum LA issued the following statement regarding the Pico-Robertson and other antisemitic incidents in Los Angeles, and invited interested residents to attend a program on antisemitism called Antisemitism Today on March 12 at the museum.
“The Pico-Robertson shootings targeting Jews are further painful reminders of the stubborn survival of antisemitism, and it’s growing ugly stain in our community. It threatens Jewish life throughout this country and any haven we consider safe. No place on Earth is immune to the scourge of hate. We commend the quick and steadfast support of the LAPD and our local leaders. Holocaust Museum LA will continue to work with all in our community to spread our beacon of truth, education, forbearance and dedication in seeking to root out hatred in all its ugly forms. We invite our friends through Los Angeles to join us March 12 at the museum for an important conversation addressing contemporary antisemitism.
About Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.
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