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Urban Light: The tale of LA’s great landmark for the twenty-first century

Urban Light: The tale of LA’s great landmark for the twenty-first century

How a installation became a l . a . symbol

The main entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was through a hole in the postmodern fortress of the Art of the Americas Building on Wilshire Boulevard from the mid-eighties through the late aughts. In 2008, the museum started a drastically reconfigured campus, created by designer Renzo Piano, that shifted the middle of gravity western to a different pavilion and walkway spanning the campus from Sixth Street to Wilshire Boulevard. To its western, a three-story red escalator rose into the top flooring and primary entry associated with the brand new Broad Contemporary Art Museum; towards the eastern, a brand new staircase created to display Tony Smith’s sky-scraping “Smoke” sculpture led up toward the old campus.

At the center, the pavilion had been allowed to be anchored by having a reproduction vapor locomotive hanging from the 160-foot crane and belching smoke, a still-to-this-day-theoretical work by Jeff Koons.