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Re-tired sculptures by Chakaia Booker travels from Chicago to Laguna Beach

"Pass the Buck" is a new Laguna Beach public art piece by artist Chakaia Booker in Heisler Park.
“Pass the Buck” is a new Laguna Beach public art piece by artist Chakaia Booker in Heisler Park. The temporary piece, which was recently at the Navy Pier in Chicago, will be on display until June 2021.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

The Laguna Beach Arts Commission brought a series of sculptures by sculptor Chakaia Booker from Chicago’s Navy Pier to temporarily be installed at Heisler Park, adding the series as the newest addition to the city’s catalog of temporary art installations.

The sculptures — “Gridlock,” “Take Out” and “Pass the Buck” — measure at about 8 feet in height and use recycled tires, each arranged around a steel frame and footing.

The statues are located in close proximity to the park’s amphitheater. It will be on display to the public through June and was initially to be installed in September, but delays in shipping led to its installation earlier this month.

“The city of Laguna Beach’s Cultural Arts Department and the Arts Commission have been working for the past two years to bring a temporary art installation by internationally renowned American sculptor Chakaia Booker to Heisler Park,” arts commissioner Donna Ballard said in a statement. “It’s not to be missed.”

A woman takes a closer look at "Gridlock," a recently installed public art sculpture.
A woman takes a closer look at " Gridlock,” a recently installed public art sculpture made of rubber tire in Heisler Park. The artwork is one of three new pieces by artist Chakaia Booker.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Arts commissioner Suzi Chauvel said the pieces reflect discussions of race, gender and the environment, describing the pieces as a “gift” to have in Heisler Park.

“With the imminent arrival of Booker’s sculptures, the commission continues to pursue that which enriches and feeds the cultural discourse in our town,” commission chair Adam Schwerner said. “Booker’s work comes to Laguna Beach with implicit questions and I so look forward to the conversations her work will engender.”

The sculpture installation was virtually dedicated on Oct. 16. A staff report prepared for the City Council’s approval of the temporary art installation in April said the cost of rental, installation, site preparation, transportation and marketing initiatives cost $45,000.

City staff said the exhibition is funded through the lodging establishments and the city of Laguna Beach.

A park visitor gets a closer look at "Pass the Buck."
A Heisler Park visitor gets a closer look at “Pass the Buck,” a new temporary public art piece by artist Chakaia Booker.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“This one is very special to us,” Mayor Bob Whalen said. “It’s an internationally acclaimed artist, Chakaia Booker. She’s well known. She’s had exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Millennium Park in Chicago and now here in Heisler Park."

“These are very provocative pieces,” Whalen said during the dedication, describing the “Pass the Buck” piece as appropriate for the current social climate. “It’s the idea of passing forward to others which you’ve received yourself.”

Local artist Gerard Stripling and his team installed the sculptures.

“It looks different in the morning, in the evening, in the sunset,” Whalen said. “We’re so pleased that [Booker] was willing to share this with our community and I’d like to thank our Arts Commission and the lodging establishments in the city of Laguna Beach for putting this together and I hope you’ll come and enjoy it."

A picture from inside "Pass the Buck," a new temporary public art piece by artist Chakaia Booker.
A picture from inside “Pass the Buck."
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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