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Urban Light


Chris Burden collected these antique cast iron street lamps over a period of years. He bought most of them in the greater Los Angeles area, the first two at the flea market. Burden worked on restoring and painting the lampposts and installed them outside his studio in Topanga Canyon. It caught the eye of Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The entire collection was eventually installed at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance to the LACMA in 2008.

Mr. Burden explains his work thus: “By placing the 202 human-scale lamps very close together and in long colonnades, I have usurped the lamp’s function as a streetlamp. Together they form a sculpture which I call Urban Light. The viewer’s experience of traversing through these tightly spaced fluted columns is an exalted one that recalls the marvel of seeing and walking through classic Greek and Roman architecture or a European cathedral. The feelings of recollection and wonder transform the streetlamps, day or night, into the sculpture Urban Light.”

The solar powered lights are turned on at dusk. And how they complement the glow of sunset! But Urban Light is obviously at its brightest when darkness falls.  

Urban Light is a beacon of the past, illuminating our present and fingers crossed, well into our future.

LACMA
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, California

*****

Images by TravelswithCharie


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