Art is literally everywhere in sprawling Los Angeles, home to some of finest galleries and museums in the world. While these outposts are definitely worth visiting, know that you can get to experience sculptures, paintings, murals and other sorts of genres simply by taking a ride around town. That said, following are five great examples of public art pieces to be found in the City of Angels.
The mighty mosaic mural on the Beverly Hills Civic Center garage wall in this spot beside the Beverly Hills Library is the work of celebrated artist Millard Sheets. Although Sheets was prolific, much of his work was painted over or taken down, as was the case with this scene originally made for the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. This happened 15 years after first being displayed in 1971 but, happily, the piece found its current location after spending a quarter of a century in storage. The story of this esteemed mural, which features five figures, starts on the historical Camino Real, a road that ultimately linked the old Spanish missions of Alta California when it was built a couple of hundred years ago.
Internationally acclaimed artist Alexander Calder, who died in 1976, left his mark in a big way on Bunker Hill (at 333 S. Hope St.) by creating a huge red sculpture three years earlier. The result is found in front of one of Los Angeles’ tallest buildings, formerly known as the Security Pacific Plaza and now the Bank of America Center. This giant Calder, at 63 feet high, takes center stage in front of the main entrance of this commanding 55-story edifice. An abstract work, Four Arches resembles different things to different people, but at first, many think the installation, made of carbon plate steel, is that of a giant insect.
Anyone who is into old Hollywood will enjoy this particular piece painted on a major Tinseltown wall located on the east side of Wilcox Avenue just south of Hollywood Boulevard. There, everyone from Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe to Charlie Chaplin and Clark Gable are sitting in a movie theater together, courtesy of artist Tom Suriya, who made sure to include Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers dancing in an aisle. This colorful piece filled with Hollywood greats is worth checking out for a while, so park your car and get ready to name all the stars you see looking out at you in this outstanding mural that belongs in the famous place where the silver screen rules.
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Not far from the You Are The Star mural at the base of the Capital Records building on the southern face overlooking a parking lot, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and a number of other jazz greats loom large. In fact, these legends of Hollywood loom larger than life as they peer out from their permanent post against an edifice that is shaped like a stack of records, which is definitely a Hollywood landmark.
When the Los Angeles Metro lines finally began to take shape in the latter part of the 20th century, dozens of opportunities for public art installations emerged. One in particular by Stephen Antonako was erected right by downtown’s Pershing Square. This piece is neon art in overload, adding untold dimensions to the existing architecture, and is definitely worth checking out for its futuristic look that will take you away from any concerns of current daily living in the City of Angels.