Monday, August 8, 2016

"Liquid Shard" Sky Dragons at Pershing Square

Dancing in the air above Pershing Square is August's MUST-SEE public artwork

"Liquid Shard" is at its best with the kick-up of late afternoon breezes that lift and ripple the entire suspended sheet almost 150 feet. The effect is incredible - huge waves roll up from the west to the highest point and twist the mylar sheet into the shape of an undulating dragon. 

L.A. Recreation and Parks teamed up with Now Art LA and Patrick Shearn from Poetic Kinetics to create a unique kinetic work for Pershing Square.  Working with international architecture students from the Architectural Association Visiting School/Los Angeles, 3-D computer simulations were generated to design the 15,000 square foot sheet of thousands of holographic mylar strips attached to a mesh of high-tech fiber rope.  The sheet is suspended with bungee cords from the Pershing Square clock tower and palm trees.

5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 

the temporary installation began on July 27 and was scheduled to end August 11, which may be extended due to huge popularity. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Central Library at 90: Public Art Abounds

"Light of Learning"
(1926) by Lee Lawrie
As the beloved Los Angeles Central Library reaches 90 years young, it's a fascinating time to enjoy the Library's two distinct eras of public art and architecture.  For the original 1926 Goodhue building, the exterior limestone bas relief sculptures were artistically fused into the architectural facades.  The interior murals, stencil painting and sculptural lighting were designed in tandem with the architectural structure of walls, arches and ceilings.

With the Library's renovation in 1993, new sculptures and murals were integrated into the restored Goodhue building, the new Bradley Wing and Atrium, and the Maguire Gardens.

The Library Chandeliers

Compare the different approaches to integrating public art and architecture with the Library's famous chandeliers.  In the Goodhue Building Rotunda, the bronze and glass "Zodiac Chandelier" draws the view upward to the painted sunburst ceiling.  In the Bradley Wing Atrium, skylights flood the hall with light, illuminating the chandeliers and lamp sculptures as well as the glass-fronted reading rooms. 

Bradley Wing Atrium
"Natural, Technological, Ethereal"
(1993) by Therman Statom
(1993) by Ann Preston
Goodhue Building Rotunda
"Zodiac Chandelier"
(1926) by Lee Lawrie
"Americanization of California" mural
(1932) by Dean Cornwell
untitled rotunda ceiling stenciling
(1926) by Julian Garnsey

Monday, May 30, 2016

Vandalized Venice Memorial "You Are Not Forgotten" To Be Repaired

locals observe the repair effort
Days before Memorial Day, the well-known Venice Beach mural "You Are Not Forgotten" honoring Vietnam POWs was damaged by major graffiti vandalism, which obliterated nearly the entire the bottom half of Peter Stewart's 100-foot mural.

Venice locals were shocked at both the extensiveness and the timing of the vandalism just before Memorial Day celebrations, and a grass-roots effort is underway to restore as much of the 1992 mural as possible.  The focus will be on restoring the names of 2,273 missing service personnel listed on either side of Stewart's images of servicemen.  City crews were at work Monday covering up the damaged area so that the actual graffiti tagging does not get publicity while repair work is coordinated.
Venice residents posted flags to honor military service personnel

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Public Art of the Foothills: New Station Art Shows Local Heritage

From Arcadia to Azusa, cultural heritage is beautifully showcased by public art at six new transit stations.  

After years of planning and design, Foothill communities can enjoy their first spring of local rail service since the era of the Red Car.  Six foothill cities now have new Gold Line transit stations full of artistic and cultural features.  

Station art at each stop greets visitors with images of local history, heritage and lore -- sculptures, colorful mosaics, pavement medallions and even song lyrics can be seen on station platforms and nearby plazas.  Each community partnered with the Gold Line Foothill Extension Authority's station art staff to create these artistically engaging transit spaces.  We preview the station art highlights, all which are accessible on or near station platforms, day and night, 24/7.

ARCADIA STATION:  "Arcadian Zephyr" (2016) by Michael Davis 

"Arcadian Zephyr" brings images from Arcadia's garden and horse-racing heritage to its station platform and plaza, where peacocks and horses embellish guardrails, canopies, benches and a weathervane sculpture.

Detail of weathervane sculpture
"Arcadian Zephyr" by Michael Davis
City founder Lucky Baldwin brought peacocks from India in the 1890s for Arcadia's neighborhoods, and they have long made their home at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. Peacock feather images were designed into the platform canopy, and themes and colors from the Santa Anita Racetrack were designed onto granite benches and stainless steel fence panels. 

Placed as a focal point on the station platform, Michael Davis' 22-foot weathervane sculpture uses both botanic garden and racetrack images to reveal the "zephyr" or "gentle breeze" of the Arcadian landscape. The sixteen individual weathervanes depict horses, butterflies, hummingbirds and flowers, crowned by a peacock.

MONROVIA STATION:  "River of Time" (2016) by Cha-Rie Tang

Monrovia's station art is guided by artist Cha-Rie Tang's concepts of stream and mountain where "running water is a potent force guided by the esthetics of chance."

Bas relief tiles
At the platform's ramp entrance is
Cha-Rie Tang's "mountain" -- a 7-foot sculptural rock from China, carved over the centuries by flowing water.  Her "glittering stream" surrounds the rock with glass insets, stemming from the hand-glazed water-color tiles along the nearby ramp.  On the platform, support columns are surrounded by decorative bas relief ceramic tiles evocative of the California Arts and Crafts Movement as well as the artist's own creations.
MONROVIA STATION:  1629 S. Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia

DUARTE / CITY OF HOPE STATION:  "Spirit of the San Gabriel River" (2016) 

by Andrea Myklebust and Stanton Gray Sears

Myklebust and Sears' station art for Duarte represents the cultural history of the San Gabriel river area with sculptural columns and pavement tiles bearing images of California Live Oak leaves and acorns, Gabrielino-Tongva baskets, citrus fruit and blossoms, and traditional Mexican carved leather saddle designs.
Citrus-themed bronze
pavement medallion

Prominent on the station platform are three 11-foot, 3,300 lb. steel column sculptures with hand-carved Indiana limestone capitals. Surrounding the sculptural columns are 8" by 8" square bronze bas relief pavement medallions with fruit and flower images found on historic citrus crate labels. The placement of these medallions spreading out from the sculptures is meant to represent the growth of a citrus grove expanding towards the horizon.
DUARTE / CITY OF HOPE STATION:  Duarte Road west of Highland Avenue, Duarte

IRWINDALE STATION:  "Pioneros de la Rivera de San Gabriel" /

 "Pioneers of the San Gabriel River" (2016) by Robin Brailsford

Artist Robin Brailsford created pavement medallions and poetry for the Irwindale station.  Two hundred hand-made pavement medallions are dispersed across the station platform, and guardrail panels are stenciled with her poem "Axis Mundi: A Song of Irwindale."

Lithomosaic pavement
Using a Lithomosaic technique, the blue and green glass and stone mosaic medallions are intended to represent the blue San Gabriel river and each community resident's green Tree of Life (Arbol de Vida).

Stenciled into the guardrail panels are the words to "Axis Mundi: A Song of Irwindale," a poem composed by Brailsford in English and Spanish which includes surnames from the Irwindale Centennial Directory.
IRWINDALE STATION:  16000 Avenida Padilla, Irwindale

AZUSA DOWNTOWN STATION:  "A Passage Through Memory" (2016) 

by Jose Antonio Aguirre

The Azusa Downtown station presents the strongest architectural feature along the Gold Line with two arches that serve as symbolic portals to the station platform.  Colorful mosaic panels on both arches and columns, surrounded by native rock pavement, reflect the community's history and cultural diversity.

Glass mosaic surrounding
a canopy column
The pair of 16-foot arches made from glass fiber reinforced concrete and painted steel follow the Spanish Colonial style.  
The crown motif displays "Azusa" in the original style from 1923, enhanced by evening illumination.  

The colorful images on Aguirre's glass mosaic panels are interpretations of local Gabrielino-Tongva pictographs as well as native basket weaving and drawing traditions.  Pavement blocks of local aggregate rock are also dispersed throughout the platform area.   

APU / CITRUS COLLEGE STATION:  "Azusa Horticultural Paradise" (2016) 

by Lynn Goodpasture

The horticultural theme at the APU/Citrus College station platform is continued to the adjacent parking structure and Citrus Avenue rail bridge.  Colorful mosaics of fruit and flowers adorn four platform benches, and palm tree motifs are applied to canopy panels, embossed pavement patterns, and rail bridge panels.

Glazed ceramic mosaics cover
sculptural concrete benches
The glazed ceramic mosaics covering the seats and sides of four concrete platform benches are the most visually striking features.  The palm tree motif in the overhead canopy is reflected by striped green and yellow art glass panels.

Beyond the station platform, the palm tree motif continues in the embossed pavement patterns at the entrance to the parking garage and elevator, and in formed concrete rail bridge panels at the Citrus Avenue overpass.
APU / CITRUS COLLEGE STATION:  905 S. Citrus Avenue, Azusa

>>More on Foothill Gold Line Station Art:

Art of the Journey - The Foothill Gold Line
Art of the Journey - The Foothill Gold Line (audio tours, station art information)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Valentine's Day Date With Public Art

"Heroic Rendezvous" at Heisler Park

Public Art for Lovers - Valentine's Day this year gives lovers a weekend visit to the most romantic public art across L.A. and Southern California. 

Artworks of friendship, love and passion are on show in many downtown plazas, parks and gardens, and we highlight some of best for Valentine's Day in Culver City, Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach and Cerritos. A visit to these famous collections of sculptures, murals, and fountains - from the abstract to the whimsical -  promises amazement and delight, and maybe even a bit of love.

Evening magic of "Urban Light"
by Chris Burden
open and accessible 24/7
Whatever locale you visit (details below), end the day at dusk to experience the surreal changes of light at L.A.'s most popular public art spot - "Urban Light" [Google Maps] on Wilshire Blvd. in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Public Art for Lovers 

Culver City:  downtown, Town Plaza and City Hall
   "Lucy and Desi", [Google Maps] - downtown
   "Quotation Courtyard" [Google Maps] - City Hall Courtyard
   "The Lion's Fountain" [Google Maps] - Town Plaza
"Grace" (2014) by Terry Thornsley

Laguna Beach:  Heisler Park Sculpture Garden and Main Beach
   "Heroic Rendezvous" [Google Maps]
   "Support" [Google Maps]
   "Grace" [Google Maps]

Beverly Hills:  downtown and Beverly Gardens Park
   "Gordon and Lily" [Google Maps]
   "Hymn of Life: Tulips" [Google Maps]
   "Electric Fountain" [Google Maps]

"Good Friends - Nakayoshi" (1984)
by Eiichi Ishida

Newport Beach:  Central Library, Civic Center Park and Corporate Plaza
   "Good Friends - Nakayoshi" [Google Maps]
   "The Journey" [Google Maps]

Cerritos:  Senior Center, Sculpture Garden and Civic Center
   "Serenade" [Google Maps]
   "Illuminations" [Google Maps]
   Cerritos Sculpture Garden [Google Maps]

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Can "Triforium" Reinvent Itself for the 2020s?

The Triforium Project could reinvent both the polyphonoptic sculpture and the civic park space.

"Triforium" (1975)
by Joseph L. Young
Despite L.A.'s recent public art achievements like "Gateway to Los Angeles" at Los Angeles Street and "Psychogeographies" at Sunset Boulevard's renovated Columbia Square, "Triforium" remains a notable civic failure:  the 60-foot sculpture's light and sound features have almost never been without problems and the massive 60-ton concrete tower has failed to enliven Bowron Square and the Los Angeles Mall.

Now there is renewed interest in the polyphonoptic tower from The Triforium Project, a coalition of artists, urban planners, civic leaders and L.A. enthusiasts eager to update the 40-year old "Triforium" with an interactive quality to engage and amuse the public.  After updating the piece with LED lighting and sound programming, The Triforium Project would design a special interactive app that would allow the public to "send 'polyphonoptic' (light and sound) compositions for the Triforium to play, and invite local artists to engage directly with the work."

If "Triforium" is not slated for demolition, then technological improvements for the 40-year old sculpture may surely be in order.  The addition of an interaction element for the lighting and sound is an interesting and laudable approach to engaging public interest, but to achieve real and sustained public interest, the artwork, space and context must all be reconceptualized in tandem.

"Urban Light" (2008) by Chris Burden
evening visitors, pedestrians, and skater-performers
The surrounding streetscape, the Los Angeles Mall, and Bowron Square itself desperately need the most thoughtful reconsideration and redesign that urban planners and public space designers and theorists can bring to the table.  Consider the comparison, if you will, with L.A.'s most successful public art space:  Chris Burden's "Urban Light."  
         One essential difference?  
The surrounding active public realm of Wilshire Blvd. traffic and LACMA visitors serves as a crucial see-and-be-seen audience of both spectators and future performers.  

Friday, December 11, 2015

2015 Public Art Year-in-Review -- Spirit and Innovation

From Hollywood to Santa Ana, 2015's sculptures,
by Dustin Yellin
Columbia Square,
6121 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
murals and mosaics reflect cultural spirit and innovative design.  2015 Public Art Year-in-Review features 21 new and permanent public artworks, published on the web by Public Art in Public Places and Google Cultural Institute Open Gallery.

The Southern California economy and local civic interest in public art are on the upswing, with a 40% increase in public art installations from just two years ago.

Of note this year are the many historical and cultural themes, large-scale kinetic and illuminated works, the Runway murals at Playa Vista, and the Special Olympics LA15 murals celebrating the World Games at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Here are are few highlights:
    untitled (hands with plane)
    by Case Maclaim
    12746 W. Jefferson Blvd., 
    Playa Vista, Los Angeles

"Gateway to Los Angeles"
by  Jenna Didier, Ned Kahn, Oliver Hess
Los Angeles St. overpass
over Hwy.101, Los Angeles