One of Los Angeles' biggest cultural lacks is great public art. Hell, LA pretty much lacks serious public art - period. And what public art we do have is generally made by politically connected - and politically correct - second and third rate artists as opposed to artists of the first rank.
That may be out to change though...
LACMA considers train sculpture
Museum studies possibility of a 161-foot Jeff Koons work that would hang from a crane.
By Diane Haithman
Times Staff Writer
February 3, 2007
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is studying the feasibility of erecting a huge sculpture by Jeff Koons that would dangle a 70-foot fabricated train from the top of a 161-foot-tall crane on its Wilshire Boulevard campus.
The yet-to-be-created work, which would be visible for miles, would turn its wheels, whistle and belch steam three times a day.
Director Michael Govan, in conversation with Koons at a Thursday evening museum event, said LACMA had received a grant from the Annenberg Foundation to explore placing the work, to be called "Train," on its grounds after the museum's current remodel is finished.
In an interview afterward, Govan said the grant, awarded in summer 2006, was for more than $1 million.
Should the project go forward, he noted, it would take years and wouldn't be ready at the opening of LACMA's $60-million Broad Contemporary Art Museum, tentatively scheduled for February 2008.
A museum spokeswoman said the sculpture would be paid for by LACMA fundraising.
Koons said that placing the artwork at the center of the LACMA campus would create a sort of "town square for L.A.," with the train essentially serving the purpose of a small-town clock tower. He envisions the train going through its "performance" at noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Govan said he hoped the piece would become a new icon for the city, much like the Hollywood sign: "I have a fantasy that when kids see it they will drag their parents to the museum — not just literally but that it inspires that kind of curiosity."
Simply too cool for words... and more on this at LA WEEKLY:
This Is Not a Very Large Train Engine Hanging From a Crane at LACMA
Michael Govan and Jeff Koons make a major announcement
By TOM CHRISTIE
Friday, February 2, 2007 - 3:00 pm
.....Koons has another train piece in mind, and Govan has it in mind for LACMA. If it happens — and it will take considerable effort and funding — it will be big, very big. Govan showed a slide of a toy-train steam engine hanging nose-down from a crane. He followed that with a short film of the piece in action: the engine cranking up, its wheels slowly beginning to spin, faster and faster until it’s going full bore, with steam puffing from its chimney, its whistle blowing; after a minute or so it slows and stops. It may be difficult to imagine this, but watching the engine do this hanging in midair is very cool.
And that was just the model. Govan wants the full-scale, 161-foot-tall piece at the museum, and LACMA has begun feasibility studies. To be located at a redesigned entrance on Wilshire Boulevard, between the Ahmanson Building and the new Broad Contemporary Art Museum (which will be home to the Broad collection’s many Koons), the finished sculpture would be visible, Govan said, from downtown to the east, Sunset Boulevard to the north, the 10 freeway to the south and Canter’s Deli to the west. (Actually, he didn’t say that last bit, but it’s true nevertheless.) The engine would start up three times a day, at noon, 3 and 6. It wouldn’t be a real train engine, Koons said (this is not a train), but it would be “an absolutely authentic visceral experience...."