August Brings Art on the Outside to West Hollywood

weho 5 the chase as well
The dog days of summer are considerably enriched by West Hollywood this August, where the heat is on: exciting new art installations sizzle on the streets.

weho 4 can you dig it

A vibrant collections of works include “Food-Prints,” a new entry in the “Can You Dig It?” sculpture garden in Plummer Park; “The Cube,” a 10-day, ‘round the clock solo performance installation in the heart of the Sunset Strip; and “The Chase,” large scale, origami-like steel sculptures on Santa Monica Boulevard.

WeHo Arts is offering an outside, site-specific public art program that captivates and enlightens.

Weho 3 Food Prints

Located in Plummer Park as a part of the “Can You Dig It” series dealing with California’s drought, “Food-Prints” by Brett Snyder, Edward Morris, and Sussanah Sayler uses wooden food sculpture in a whimsical zen-like dry garden to depict California’s most abundant native agricultural products.

This sculptural piece reveals how water use correlates to the food we eat. Food sculptures form a circle that reveals the item’s virtual water footprint. The style of the installation evokes the Zen rock garden of Ryoan-ji, one of the most famous in Japan. The placement of the installation itself close to the park’s weekly farmer’s market, references the past history of Plummer Park as a farm, as well as the produce vendors themselves. The installation is an interactive experience for viewers, including a guide that compares the water footprint of each food, from almonds to grapes, as well as exploring the footprint of the entire “art zone,” designed to represent the virtual water needed to “grow” a single piece of steak.

The garden itself offers a dual art experience: the garden is contemplative in nature, the large fruit and veggie sculptures are as playful as they are educational and appealing to the youngest visitors at the park. Revealing how water affects the food we eat, the duality of the exhibit is carried even further, revealing the differences between nature itself and our food culture.

Weho 1 The Cube

Located in the Sunset Strip’s city parking lot at 8775 Sunset Boulevard, Brazilian born artist, pianist and composer Manuel Lima offers a 10-day, around the clock performance piece from August 12 through 21. Lima will live in a translucent, sparsely furnished 10-foot-square cube. The purpose: integrating daily life with his own artistic process, and creating a meditation in a public space. His only time outside the cube other than rest breaks will be a morning shower and breakfast. From 9 to 5 daily, the artist will perform his composition “Sunset Blvd.,” riffing piano compositions based on what he hears moving from left to right on the FM radio dial. Then from 5 to 7 p.m., he’s take a tea break outside the cube, allowing viewers to join him for conversation. At 8 p.m, Lima performs an original light and sound composition, “Red Light Piano,” which utilizes some sixty music cycles each ranging from one to five minutes, with variations increasing in length each day of his performance, until reaching five hours in length. Then, near midnight, he will sleep.

This fascinating performance integrates place, personal space, and culture. This is not the inaugural performance for “The Cube;” he performed a 10-day trial near Valencia earlier this year. A metamorphosis for both the artist and the viewer, this experiential performance piece engages, stimulates, and changes both viewer and viewee through landscape and the creative process.

We Ho 2 The Chase

Place and process are also key with “The Chase,” origami-like shapes of steel that vividly depict the quest for survival. Created by LA-based public artist Hacer, there are four large scale sculptures along the median of Santa Monica Boulevard, starting at Doheny Drive. The works will be installed August 20-21. The abstract but highly defined pieces include “Coyote, Stalking” which looks east at its prey, “Rabbit Sitting,” unaware of the danger stalking it while scouting for food. “Coyote, Running” takes a sharp turn in an attempt to gain on “Rabbit, Running,” who is now facing the eyes of the hunter. The sculptures form an open-ended quartet in terms of story: each animal is fighting to survive in a land of limited natural resources. Who survives is left to the viewer. The sculptures are powder coated steel, and evoke the tension of a predator on the prowl, the leap toward escape by the prey. Motion captured and frozen in a monumental moment in time, these pieces are meant to create a sense of commonality – we are all in this together – as well as expressing differences. Hacer was inspired in this work by the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes which he read as a child. The sculptures share a playful and conceptual approach with the works of Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons. Hacer notes “Like the dynamic, formative process hidden by my seemingly simple designs, my work’s simple existence aims to elicit a dynamic response about the viewer’s relationship to their formative process: childhood.”

In combination or viewed separately, these three public installations offer an insightful experience for the viewer, one that immerses viewers into a different world – of predator and prey, a partnership in the eco-system, an intimate engagement with creative process, and a learning experience involving drought, food ecology, and meditation.

Entering that world, summer doldrums slip away. These exhibitions resonate a powerful artistic vision in West Hollywood. Don’t miss them this August.