LAPD will investigate guerilla art installation until artist comes forward, offical says
The guerilla art installation installed on a LACMA fence Feb. 13 is still being investigated by police as a “hate incident,” according to the Los Angeles Police Department, in spite of the artist’s saying his intention was not to terrorize Jews but to criticize the government of Iran.
It was installed at approximately 6:30 A.M. that day and taken down by museum security before 8 am. by Los Angeles artist Kurosh ValaNejad.
“Based on what was left on the fence, we are investigating what we call a hate incident report,” said Officer Mike Lopez of the department’s Media Relations Section in an interview Feb. 19. “If anybody is aware, or if anybody has seen anything, I know it was really super early in the morning, but if anybody was in the area or knows anything about this, they are to contact the Wilshire area office.”
Officer Lopez said that a hate incident report is an incident driven by hateful intent.
“A hate incident report is any type of incident that is used in some type of hate matter,” he said, “so that being said, based on the fence, it was obviously a hate incident that occurred, so we are investigating it as a hate incident.
“The investigation is still ongoing, and we are still looking for the suspect responsible.”
The installation was meant to create an optical illusion, and appeared on Fairfax Avenue as a swastika from the north and an Iranian flag from the south.
This type of design is known as “kinetic art,” because it changes and moves as a person moves by it and views it from different angles.
Mr. Valanejad said that the purpose of the piece was to protest the Iranian government.
“My guerrilla installation is simply trying to amplify the messages that the pseudo-Islamic regime in control of Iran is trying to block,” said Mr. ValaNejad. “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.”
When asked what would happen if the suspect was found, Officer Lopez said it depends.
“Well, that’s where we try to investigate, to get his or her or that person’s state of mind, to see if anything like that comes to play,” said Officer Lopez. “And obviously, we’ll go ahead and try to see if it’s an individual that repeats themself by doing these kinds of incidents, to see if it becomes something that seems like a more criminal offense, to see if they can be charged with a criminal matter.”
He suggested that Mr. VelaNejad should clarify his intentions with the LAPD.
“What I would suggest that person does, is obviously bring it to Wilshire division’s attention, and take ownership of that he’s the one that put it up and explain to the officers there what kind of message he was sending,” officer Lopez said.
Mr. ValaNejad has not responded to email requests to comment from the Boiling Point since Feb. 19.
When The Boiling Point spoke with Detective Ozzie Delgadillo of the Wilshire division of the LAPD on Feb. 15, who seemed to only know of the side of the installation that displayed a swastika, said that the incident was still under investigation.
The Boiling Point followed up on the incident with Officer Lopez of the Media relations section of the LAPD on Feb. 19, and although he said he knew of the Iranian aspect of the installation and had seen a video of it on Twitter, that it was still being investigated as a hate incident report.
Efforts to reach police officials for updated information have not yet been successful. This is a developing story.