What’s Up with Orange L.A. River Billboard?

June 9, 2011 § 12 Comments

Somewhat random post here… but do any of our eagle-eyed readers know what’s up with this Los Angeles River billboard?

Mysterious Los Angeles River billboard on Figueroa Street

I spotted it yesterday… not sure if it’s a series or a one-off. It’s facing north on the east side of Figueroa Street at 39th Street – across from “Christmas Tree Lane” in Exposition Park. It shows a larger historic black and white aerial photo of the L.A. River in Atwater Village, mostly focused on the Glendale Hyperion Bridge (officially the Victory Memorial Viaduct.) That 1928 historic bridge is fairly easily recognizable from the Red Car trolley pier walls extending downstream. In the frame is a smaller second image, cropped circular, with a blue arrow pointing to spot in the larger image. In an example that’s maybe a bit similar to what Riparian Rap blog calls geomorphically incorrect art, though the arrow points to the Glendale Hyperion Bridge, the circular insert detail is an image of the 1927 Fletcher Drive Bridge. In both images, the water and the bed of the river have been painted orange.

another, even more mediocre, cellphone shot of the same L.A. River billboard on Figueroa

Anyone know what this is? Are there any more around town? Is it street art? or a sleeper campaign for a new orange soft drink? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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§ 12 Responses to What’s Up with Orange L.A. River Billboard?

  • Billy B says:

    Oh, National Orange Juice Day is coming up.

  • Joe Linton says:

    per Jenny Price’s comment at the Creek Freak facebook page: “Yes, it’s part of a project by high school students in a Cal Arts program–which focused on the river this year. They’ve got an exhibit up at the CA African American Museum til June 20, and launch it again in Culver City at La Cienega Projects July 23..”

  • Thank the gawdz it’s an art project and not a campaign for Fanta or Orange Crush.

  • Chuck Arnold says:

    So their vision is an orange river?

  • Emily Green says:

    Love the new layout but could the posts carry by-lines?

  • Emily Green says:

    Ah, I see the Meta column now. Very discreet.

  • [...] What’s Up with the Orange LA River Billboard? (Creek Freak) [...]

    • art workshop collaborative says:

      The Orange LA River billboard is part of an artwork called “Without: A Proposal for an Impossible Monument”. As part of the Art Workshop Collaborative (AWC), an art program for students across Los Angeles High school, students were given the mission to create a proposal for a monument that wouldn’t readily be funded by the City of Los Angeles. Instead of creating a monument the students decided to call attention to an already existing historical and natural monument. Artist and Director of the AWC, Yanira Cartagena, instructed the Video and Photography Course, working with students Andrea Alcaraz, Victor Gutierrez, Bryan Lo, Andrew Martinez, Marcus Owens, Nancy Quintanilla, Ashley Ann Underwood, Janelly Velasquez, and Taylor Young to produce a series of photographs, a maquette and a billboard that would erase one of L.A.’s oldest monuments, the Los Angeles River, thereby calling attention to the potential erasure of this city’s history, life source, and physical connections. The billboard was recently installed at Figueroa and 39th Street. Its documentation is included in the second exhibition of the project at Las Cienega Projects until August 20, 2011: http://lascienegasprojects.wordpress.com/

      AWC is a joint venture between California Institute of the Arts and California African American Museum, and offers students from across Los Angeles-area high schools the opportunity to engage with established artists. The collaborative promotes an understanding of the conceptual art process and the major role art can play in students’ own lives and communities. Artist and educator Charles Gaines, initiated the project, and was eager to create a curriculum offering younger art students both the opportunity to learn something beyond technical art skills and the chance to work with established artists – a valuable opportunity he was also given as a teenager.

      The students were given the opportunity to work in either one of two classes: The Visual Arts Course or the Video and Photography Course. Initially students met with Los Angeles-based artists Ruben Ochoa and Rodney McMillian to receive a set of rules and project framework to guide their efforts. In each of their respective classes, students were then challenged to conceptualize and collaboratively produce a work within this framework.

      Artists Nikki Pressley and Kenyatta Hinkle instructed the Visual Arts Course, working with students Luis Ayuso, James King, Gary Lim, Avery Ingram, Barbara Hernandez, Elmast Kozloyan, Danny Sanchez and Jesus Santacruz to produce a series of works engaging notions of identity and voice. The series consists of 20 painted panels, a lightbox and performative element.

  • art workshop collaborative says:

    Students traveled the trajectory of the river and blocked the LA River with carefully painted transparencies-in a play with perspective. The photographs of these actions were superimposed on to archival photographs of the Los Angeles River from the Los Angeles Public Library. The entire project was an effort to illustrate the way the river is often ignored, mistreated or misrepresented. Its erasure was a way to call attention to the fact that Los Angeles itself would never exist without the LA River. Students had the opportunity to learn about the river’s history and the efforts of various individuals and organizations that fight for the river or appreciate everything the river has to offer. The billboard was part of a larger project with its various components that is currently being exhibited at Las Cienegas Projects,2045 S. La Cienega Blvd until August 20th. http://lascienegasprojects.wordpress.com/

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