Los Angeles artist Kent Twitchell, who sued the U.S. government and 11 other defendants for painting over his mural of Ed Ruscha, has settled his suit for $1.1 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. The U.S. government will pay $250,000 of the settlement. The other defendants are a number of contractors and subcontractors who maintain the building.
The money is being awarded under the federal Visual Artists Rights Act and the California Art Preservation Act, both of which prohibit desecration, alteration, or destruction of certain works of public art without giving the artist 90 days notice and the option of removing the work. Ed Ruscha Monument, a portrait of Ruscha which rose six stories on the side of a federal government-owned building in downtown L.A., was created between 1978 and 1987 and painted over without Twitchell's consent or notification in June 2006. This is believed to be the largest amount awarded to an artist under either the federal or state law.
Art consultants have suggested that restoration of the mural may still be possible, but Twitchell has expressed wariness, calling the current site a "hostile location." The agreement gives him until June 2009 to decide what to do with the mural.