The lights are going out at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
“Urban Light,” Chris Burden’s well-known installation of restored Los Angeles street lamps assembled at the Wilshire Boulevard entrance to LACMA, will go dark from May 1 to about June 30 for restoration.
During the museum’s efforts to repair the effects of exposure to the cast-iron lamps, most of which date from the 1920s and 1930s, “Urban Light” will be temporarily extinguished and fenced off from the public.
“The focus of the restoration is on the actual light poles themselves. They need to be scrubbed back down to the raw cast iron, treated and repainted,” Carroll said, adding that the poles have not been restored since the exhibit opened outside the museum in 2008.
The darkening of “Urban Light” was originally scheduled to take place during summer 2015 only to be delayed in the wake of Burden’s death in May of last year.
“We thought it was better to hold back so that people could still celebrate the work,” Carroll said.
The museum is loath to close the popular exhibit to the public, knowing that “Urban Light” serves as a Los Angeles landmark.
“It’s been very difficult for us because it’s such a focal point for both LACMA and Los Angeles. People come and have their photos taken, all sorts of things, it’s unfortunate but we do have lots of other public sculptures that people can interact with in the meantime,” Carroll said.
Burden’s “Urban Light" may well last thousands of years, but it’s still going to need a little help from LACMA to get there.
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