articles / pop culture

Exploring Los Angeles Through Street Art


Ken Gonzales-Day, “Danny,” mural by Levi Ponce, Van Nuys Blvd.at Telfair Ave., Pacoima, 2013 | Photo by Ken Gonzales-Day

Hit play below to listen to KUSC’s Gail Eichenthal discuss “Surface Tension” with Ken Gonzales-Day on a bonus edition of Arts Alive.

Exploring Los Angeles Through Street Art
   

A ten-month journey of artistic discovery across the city of Los Angeles has sparked a unique and colorful contribution to Pacific Standard time: LA/LA. “Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day: Murals, Signs, and Mark-Making in LA” runs at the Skirball Cultural Center through February 25.

Gonzales-Day, a professor of art at Scripps College, spent almost a year traversing the freeways, alleyways, underpasses, commercial districts and residential areas of the city to capture the more than 100 photographs that cover the walls of the exhibition. The murals depicted are found on church doors, sides of buildings, spray-painted palm trees, a decorated RV, and more. In addition to the art at eye-level, the floor of the exhibition is covered with a map of Los Angeles indicating in which neighborhoods the murals can be found — from Pacoima to Watts, from Venice to East LA. 
Less than six years ago, mural-making had been banned in Los Angeles for around a decade. But now street art is once again on the rise amid the dramatic redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles.

While Los Angeles houses many of the country’s finest cultural institutions, the photographs and the map highlight the presence of art throughout the city. Gonzales-Day hopes that this exhibit will give Angelenos the “chance to venture into Los Angeles and experience what is really a city with a museum surrounding it.”

The title of the exhibition, “Surface Tension,” stems from the struggle some residents face to have their voices heard. As Gonzales-Day notes, “murals are often the only space that a community might have to express its history.” Encounters with Los Angeles’s street art reveals what makes each neighborhood unique and what themes tie this expansive city together.


Ken Gonzales-Day, Palm Trees at Venice Public Art Graffiti Walls, Venice Beach, 2017 | Photo by Ken Gonzales-Day


Ken Gonzales-Day, “Jim Morphesis,” mural by Kent Twitchell, Hollywood Freeway at Hope St. exit, Downtown Los Angeles, 1984 | Photo by Ken Gonzales-Day


Street art across Los Angeles | Photo by Ken Gonzales-Day


Ken Gonzales-Day | Photo by Gail Eichenthal

“Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day” is on display at the Skirball Cultural Center until February 2018. For more information on the exhibition, the artist, and related events visit Skirball.org.

Written by:
Rose Campion
Rose Campion
Published on 10.01.2018

MORE LIKE THIS

Backstage Spotlights: Holiday Happenings Across Los Angeles

Backstage Spotlights: Holiday Happenings Across Los Angeles

Explore LA's holiday events, from the LA Opera's Hansel & Gretel, to the LA Children’s Chorus concerts, festive programs at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Flamenco dance, and a unique live documentary.

pop culture
11/28/2018
Los Angeles Celebrates the Trisha Brown Dance Company

Los Angeles Celebrates the Trisha Brown Dance Company

Carolyn Lucas, Associate Artistic Director of Trisha Brown Dance Company, celebrates Brown's work with performances across LA. The events are part of Trisha Brown: In Plain Site Los Angeles.

pop culture
05/22/2018
Growing the Musicians of Tomorrow in the Heart of Los Angeles

Growing the Musicians of Tomorrow in the Heart of Los Angeles

Explore the Colburn School's unique approach to music education in downtown LA, fostering student collaborations with renowned artists and planning future community engagement.

pop culture
10/01/2018
A Piece Written Just for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

A Piece Written Just for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Explore the world of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, a renowned string group without bows. Founding member William Kanengiser discusses a new piece and upcoming album at KUSC studios.

pop culture
10/01/2018
Backstage Spotlights: Major Los Angeles Anniversaries Kick Off the Fall Season

Backstage Spotlights: Major Los Angeles Anniversaries Kick Off the Fall Season

Celebrate Southern California's vibrant fall season with a variety of music events, including the LA Phil's centennial season, Monday Evening Concerts, and more.

pop culture
09/11/2018
Exploring the Relationships Between Oaxaca and California

Exploring the Relationships Between Oaxaca and California

Over 60 SoCal institutions unite for Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, exploring Latino art. A highlight is "Visualizing Language: Oaxaca in L.A.", featuring murals by Tlacolulokos.

pop culture
10/01/2018