Nazi flag appears on Fairfax fence between LACMA and Academy Museum, half-mile north of school
Photos show image on security fence just north of Wilshire; officials removed it before 8 a.m.
February 13, 2023
EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the publication of this story, The Boiling Point has learned that the swastika affixed to the LACMA fence depicted an Iranian flag when viewed at a different angle and was meant as the designer’s “guerrilla art” protest against the government of Iran. Three videos demonstrating this and shared by the artist can be seen in our related story, viewable here. The story below describes information that was available Feb. 13 – 15.
A large representation of a Nazi flag, made of bright red-, white- and black-colored tape, was attached to the metal bars of LACMA’s utility entrance gate on Fairfax Avenue north of Wilshire Boulevard Tuesday morning and taken down by a security guard before 8:00 a.m.
When Boiling Point reporters arrived at 10 a.m., the swastika was gone, although a loose piece of red tape was visible on the sidewalk and another small piece was still present on one of the fence’s metal bars.
When police arrived on the scene at about 10:30 a.m., they said they had filed the incident as a hate crime.
Mr. Vytas Ivanilovas, a manager of LACMA’s security company, said the design was first found by his supervisor, whose name he did not share. He said that the supervisor told him he had seen it near the end of his eight-hour shift and had taken it down himself sometime between 7 and 8 a.m. He said the museum’s security cameras would not have been able to get video of the posting since it was outside the museum grounds.
But two days later, on Feb. 15, Detective Ozzie Delgadillo of the Wilshire Division of the Los Angeles Police Department said police had obtained video surveillance of someone installing it.
“There was some video surveillance which depicted that here was an individual that started placing the tape, probably early in the morning,” said Detective Delgadillo in an interview, “He was there for four minutes putting up the tape on the fence, which later on when it was observed by the security there, it was removed.
“It’s some type of tape material that was placed on the LACMA fence,” he said, “and the tape created sort of a banner, which depicted a large swastika sign.”
It was not known who might have made the symbol. LACMA officials said they had no security footage capturing any events that would have occurred outside the fence.
But reporters saw museum officials sharing a photo of it. In addition, a photo was shared with the Boiling Point by a source who wishes to remain anonymous.
In photographs, the display appeared to have been methodically and intricately designed, with each bar of the fence having colored adhesive attached to one side of about 32 individual bars. When viewed at an angle, the bars would appear cohesively as the Nazi flag, about 16 feet wide and seven feet high.
The Boiling Point asked three security guards on the grounds of the LACMA Museum if they had seen the swastika. One person said she’d heard about something; others had only heard of its existence for the first time from Boiling Point staff. None wanted to share their names.
Mr. Brendan Connell Jr., the museum’s Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, and Mr. Gerry Perez, the Academy Museum’s Director of Safety and Security, arrived at the scene at around 10:30 and spoke with police. They both said that although they had seen a picture of the swastika, they didn’t think it was real, as they hadn’t heard anything about it and it was gone when they arrived for work in the morning.
“I can’t even believe this,” said Mr. Connell when he heard the details.
Reporters also spoke to a supervising officer of the security team at the Academy Museum, who did not share his name but said he had received one complaint about the symbol that morning.
The officer said that since his team had investigated it and found nothing, they believed it was never on the gate fence in the first place and that what appeared in photographs was either a projection or a photoshopped image.
But by Wednesday, LAPD had confirmed all details reported to the Boiling point the day before. Det. Delgadillo said the removed tape from the sign was disposed of by the security guard who took it down.
Correction: Earlier versions of this story misstated the location of the swastika representation. It was on the metal fence next to LACMA’s utility entrance, not on the utility entrance gate.