DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit artist is suing to protect an enormous multicolor mural that has been described as a “bleeding rainbow” on a building that could be developed into apartments.

Katherine Craig says a federal law gives her the right to protect the 100-foot-by-125-foot painting —  which takes up an entire wall of the nine-story structure at 2937 E. Grand Blvd., a few blocks from Woodward Ave. — from changes or destruction.

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, “The Illuminated Mural” was created in 2009 with more than 100 gallons of paint poured from the roof of the brick building. The paint was spread with a variety of tools, from fire extinguishers to salad dressing bottles.

Craig fears the mural will be ruined when the building is remodeled.

“Princeton Enterprises — which is considering either selling the building or redeveloping the property itself—has threatened to destroy or mutilate the mural by, for example, punching windows across the painted façade,” the complaint reads. “Princeton has asked Craig to accept little more than a token sum in exchange for her legal rights to an artwork that took more than a year to conceptualize and create, and that continues to be the most important part of her growing oeuvre.”

The complaint contends that The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) protects works of “recognized stature”— including murals on buildings in particular.

“‘As Craig has reflected, the mural’s ‘abstract explosions of paint spatters and cross-hatching’ create a sense of ‘action and movement’ — a comment on qualities that, in her view, are central to the changing North End neighborhood,'” the complaint says.

Princeton Enterprises, meantime, has said it disagrees with Craig’s interpretation of law as well as the “facts” of the dispute.

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