LACMA’s art lights by Chris Burden – MM61

On a random cruise down Wilshire last week the car magically wanted to stop at the light garden.  If you were unaware, here is a little about it.


In front of the entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is Chris Buren’s “Urban Light,” an orderly, multi-tiered installation of 202 antique cast-iron street lights from the Los Angeles area. The solar powered street lights are functional and turn on at dusk.

The installation consists of 202 restored street lamps from the twenties and thirties. Most of them once lit the streets of Southern California.  There are seventeen styles of cast iron street lamps ranging from about twenty to thirty feet tall, all painted a uniform grey and arranged in a grid. Burden first began collecting street lamps in December 2000 without a specific work in mind, he would continue collecting them for the next seven years. He purchased his first two lamps at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  Seventeen styles of lamps are represented with the largest and most ornate from DTLA and a few of the originals can still be seen at the corner of Broadway and Sixth.  “Urban Light” has become an icon and a Los Angeles photograph destination at all hours.  The night has a certain magical tranquility inspiring phone pics, kisses and what ever else fits the artistic garden.


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