Though the Lincoln Heights Piggyback Rail Yard has a boundlessly romantic mixed-use vision for the development of the LA River, there’s still something about a rail yard that seems susceptible to the grotesque. So on a mission to collect a package from the UPS Customer Center in Lincoln Heights that borders the Piggyback Rail Yard, it’s fair to say I had a fleeting feeling in my belly. This feeling made my encounter with this giant, seemingly abandoned tangle of wire all the more distressing.
It turns out, the Brewery Arts Complex – the world’s largest artist-in-residence community – also shares borders with the Piggyback Rail yard. Artists have colonized a former Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery since 1982. This carousel horse on a shipping container is a marker for the arts complex, and though I went 26 years without knowing this complex existed, the horse effectively communicates its message to the passerby.
The Brewery offers biannual art walks, so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming dates to get a peek inside this place. Read more here: http://breweryartwalk.com/about
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. So, why then are you, yet again, stuck in traffic in Beverly Hills on Big Santa Monica Blvd.? At least, this is what you’re asking yourself when you’re running late, all the radio stations are playing commercials, there’s a cop right behind you, and you look out the window to see that Beverly Hills has curated a steel pile of poop.
Well, kind of. Roxy Paine is an American sculptor who is known for his “dendroid” sculptures that are like trees, but made of steel. He often replicates nature in his work, which he then refers to with loose fitting titles like Distillation and Defunct. This piece, Erratic, actually refers to a geological anomaly where a boulder makes a home somewhere it’s not supposed to be by doing something like hitching a ride on an iceberg in a prehistoric flood.
Paine’s works highlight our struggle to find balance between the natural and the unnatural. This steel boulder in Beverly Gardens Park is no exception. Unless you think it looks like a pile of poop, in which case, it still invokes an uncomfortable reaction, just not one that toys with the complexities of being a human in 2012.
Catching another driver singing and dancing like a maniac. Catching someone picking their nose, talking on a headset you can’t see, playing the ukulele, blowing bubbles out the window, or scurrying to grab something from their trunk before a light turns green. When you’re stuck in traffic, you learn to appreciate the little things that make a ride tolerable.
The city of West Hollywood says, “Art on the Outside brings art out into the public realm from the traditional confines of gallery and museum settings to enhance the City’s lively pedestrian-friendly culture.” But let’s be serious, unless you’re taking a drunken late-night stumble out of the Troubadour it’s pretty unlikely you’ll find yourself standing in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard where “Elemental,” an Art on the Outside sculpture exhibit, is on display.
Either way, it sure makes a slow commute more positive. Now, if only West Hollywood could evaporate all the other 39,000 daily passers-by of the Santa Monica Boulevard/Doheny Drive intersection!
For more information on “Elemental,” check here: http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1044
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have designed many oversize objects around the world including lipstick, bowling pins, and brooms. These 45 x 44 x 18 ft. binoculars stand out among their designs because they are not only abnormally large, but they also serve as a porte-cochere to a 1991 Frank Gehry design that once housed the advertising giant, Chiat/Day.
Artist, Eliseo Silva, writes in his Artist Statement, “I am a weaver of history and heritage.” While Silva is from the Philippines, his mural adaptation of Jewish heritage is thorough. The mural is entitled, “A shenere un besere velt,” which translates into “A more beautiful and better world.” It was commissioned by the Workman’s Circle, an organization celebrating Eastern European Jewry. The mural commemorates great authors like Sholem Aleichem, Mendele, and Peretz, as well as events like Jewish migration to America and the Freedom Campaign for Soviet Jews. The mural was painted in 1998 and is located at the corner of Robertson Blvd. and Horner St.
I was on an herb garden tour at the Getty Villa and our guide announced the Romans used sculptures as conversation pieces. I like the idea that a university has crafted a garden for conversation. On their way from “Industrial Organization: Theory and Tactics” to “World Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy After September 11,” do students pause to comment, “Did you know Jacques Lipchitz fled from France to America during WWII because he was Jewish?” Or, “What do you think it means for the artist’s love life that he sculpted a naked women as illusive as money?”
There are 70 sculptures in 5-acres of land, perfect for an afternoon picnic under the shade of Canary Island Pines and Coral Trees. I wonder how often students actually make it to this nook on the 410-acre campus. How many Angelenos make it to this nook of the 469 square mile city? It’s problematic that UCLA has an unfortunate parking situation. Ignoring transportation needs, there’s a fantastic vision wherein crowds gather simply to converse with one another.
For a complete list of sculptures, check here: http://hammer.ucla.edu/collections/detail/collection_id/6
This $64 million project, which opened in October of 2011, developed in partnership between the city of West Hollywood and the Los Angeles County library system. Santa Monica’s Johnson/Favaro architecture and urban design firm drew the plans for the brand new book depot. The firm’s budding relationship with West Hollywood will also result in a redesign of the Sunset Strip and West Hollywood Park.
Compared to the colorful Pacific Design Center whales across the street, the white, square building doesn’t quite stand out. But, Shepard Fairey, Kenny Scharf, and Retna have decorated its parking garage with colorful murals.
John Ehn was a motel owner in Sun Valley. He decorated his property with the creations seen above. “What are the creations seen above?,” you ask. Well, they’re fake tombstones and sculptures of “Old Trapper,” “Kidnap,” and “The Fight,” of course. After Ehn died, his oeuvre was relocated behind Pierce College’s chicken coop.
Some of these tombstones read*:
“SAD SADIE. ALIAS: POKER FACE, GLOOMY GIRL, ICY AGNES, POLAR BIRD, ETC. ETC. 1841-1866. STABBED IN BUCKET OF BLOOD DANCE SALOON BY SWEET VIOLET FOR WATERING HER WHISKEY BOOTHILL”
“BIG NOSE NELL. PROFESSIONAL CUTHROAT – 1811-1861. HANGED BY NECK TILL SHE WAS DED-DED-DED”
“GEN. HARRY HOFFMAN I.A. 1820-1892. SON OF CHEROKEE CHIEF HICKMAN. HE TRAINED & LED THE HORN RIVER INDIAN SCOUTS. LUNG SHOT BY ARROWS 4 TIMES AT THE GUT RIVER MASSACRE. BATTLES OF STINKING WATERS, PRETTY SUUAW MT. & OTHER FIGHTS. HE LIVED TO KILL THE GREAT CHIEF BLOODY HAND IN A SABER & SPEAR DUEL AT FT. DESPAIR…”
* I’ve added punctuation for readability.
“The Departure” sits in front of the Andaz on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. There are 700 painted aluminum tiles strung on nautical cables. This work holds true to Jacob Hashimoto‘s fascination with tapestries. It was installed in 2008.