Hispanic Los Angeles neighborhood tells 'white' art galleries: 'Get out!'
The message on the steel roll-up gate of Mihai Nicodim's gallery could not have been clearer: With obscene language, the spray-painted words condemned what they labeled "white art."It was not the first time Mr. Nicodim had been targeted by activists in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood long seen as the heart of Los Angeles's Mexican-American community. Just days before, two cars pulled in front of his gallery during an opening and the passengers, their faces covered in bandannas, hurled potatoes, hitting one woman in the leg. At the opening of another gallery, protesters threw beer bottles through the windows.Earlier this fall, activists placed mock eviction notices in front of galleries. Marching down the street, they shouted "fuera!" — "out!" — and carried signs declaring "Keep Beverly Hills Out of Boyle Heights."The activists in the neighborhood are making no apologies for the radical tactics and portray themselves as defenders of working-class neighborhoods in the city. They look to other neighborhoods, such as Echo Park and Silver Lake, that were once working class and are now filled with upscale bakeries that sell artisan doughnuts and have replaced mom-and-pop taco shops....The gallery owners see the focus on race as misplaced and unfair. After Eva Chimento opened Chimento Contemporary last year, she said, two activists came into her gallery, threatened her and demanded that she show Latino artists.