On the Beverly Center escalators, Pae White’s art makes for an uplifting ride

"Moonsets for a Sunrise" by Pae White
“Moonsets for a Sunrise” by Pae White features 63,635 pieces of tile glazed with more than 100 colors.
(Fredrik Nilsen)

In a city as large and sprawling as Los Angeles, it’s easy to miss the little things. But what about the big things? L.A.-based artist Pae White’s recent installations at the Beverly Center shopping center (which she’s pretty sure are her largest works ever) have taken over the walls along the glassed-in architectural detail on either side of the 38-year-old monolith: the five-story escalators.

“They are their own free-floating display cases,” she says, likening the space to a vitrine. The works installed in November play with light, acting, White says, like a huge seasonal affective disorder lamp used in dark climates to mimic sunlight, except the city already has its fair share of rays.

“Moonsets for a Sunrise” facing La Cienega Boulevard is made of ceramic tiles whose colors correspond to hues of full moons (harvest, strawberry, blue and snow, as they’re called in the Farmers’s Almanac). The metallic glaze of the tiles set against a midnight blue backdrop shifts color as you are pulled skyward.

"Day for Night for Day" at the Beverly Center
“Day for Night for Day” at the Beverly Center features neon tubes heated at different temperatures to create different colors.
(Fredrik Nilsen)

“Day for Night for Day” along Beverly Boulevard pulls off a more interesting trick. It’s made of all-white neon shapes inspired by designs in an ornamental rug. Each handmade tube uses different temperatures to create colors: a blush of pink or peach or blue or yellow. Nighttime is the best time to witness a watery neon reflection in facing buildings.

White feels she has transformed the formerly dark building into a “beacon calling out to the hills” (she says a friend in the Hollywood Hills can see the lights from his bedroom).

In all, it took two years to create what she sees as one giant work of art. “It’s the sun calling the night,” White says, a chance to witness day and night in a simple walk around the block, something any Angeleno can experience and savor.

Pae White's installations will be on display indefinitely along the escalators at the Beverly Center.
(Fredrik Nilsen)

Making light of shopping

  • Pae White’s art installations at the Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd.) are “semipermanent,” meaning they’ll be there for a while. They’re part of the renovation of the landmark building that started in 2016 and has included other temporary art installations.
  • “Moonsets for a Sunrise” is made of 73,635 pieces of tile glazed in more than 100 colors that catch the morning sun. They are set in four-color modules, and no pattern repeats.
  • “Day for Night for Day” neon tubes offer different looks depending on whether you go at day or at night.
  • The escalators (and the shopping center) are open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.