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Spring = Dragons/Art

March 22, 2012

Dragons + Art

Refusing to give in to my newfound seasonal discomforts, and armed with antihistamines and an inhaler, I purposely head to downtown LA for an even-earlier-than-normal, before-work, Spring nature/art walk. I’d noticed on a recent lunchtime jaunt that The Colburn Music School on Bunker Hill had  a nice installation of dragon trees, but pressed for time didn’t get a good look. So, this visit my goal is to check out the dragons at my own pace, then take a leisurely tour of some of my favorite public art installations in the area … and, being that it’s early, there are very few harried business-types, music students or art tourists to block my view of the good stuff . Now, those dragons …

Great dragons

The Colburn School’s dining hall and outdoor eating area butts up against the rear of MOCA’s bookstore and offices. I was leaving MOCA’s bookstore that lunch hour I first saw them and it was hard not to follow their enthusiastic swishing, being very windy that day. While there was no wind this morning, their chubby armed pom-pom waving was still pretty stirring.

Blues below

I love the dense carpet of blue senecio that surrounds the feet of the dragon trees … All those little blue arms flailing at once, and in every direction, just adds to the excitement. I think next time I’m here in the morning I’ll pop into the dining hall and have breakfast out here with the dragons, the coffee smells terrific; today, though, I’ll keep it moving …

"Airplane Parts"

Just a few steps down the MOCA plaza and I’m in front of their bookstore and the awe-inspiring sculpture installation, “Chas’ Stainless Steel, Mark Thompson’s Airplane Parts, About 1000 Pounds of Stainless Steel Wire, Gagosian’s Beverly Hills Space” by Nancy Rubin. Installed in 2002 and on indefinite display, this explosive display of airplane parts and metal is 25-feet tall and 65-feet long!

Side parts

This sculpture is such a massive presence I feel exhilarated by how small I feel next to it … I’m glad I skipped the coffee!

Hybrid lifeform

Crossing Grand Avenue westward, I head to the courtyard of the Wells Fargo Bank tower to it’s Crocker Center to visit with an old friend of mine: “Sequi” by Nancy Graves. Also metal but completely different from Rubin’s piece, this bronze walk-through installation is all about the organic and nature, and plants specifically.

Ready to go

Painted in bizarre colors and twisting as if it were trying to escape its site, the sculpture is a hybridized combination of banana blossom, deerfoot fern, a lobster-claw plant and vines. It’s creepy and it’s kooky and it’s been here since 1985 … I never miss a chance to take in its gnarly charms when I’m in the area … hence, its ‘old friend’ status for me.

Pebbles perched

Crossing west again, this time Hope Street, to the Bank of America Center’s park area, I catch up with another old favorite, although for the life of me I can’t find the name of the piece. Comprised of tubular steel welded at right angles and topped by smooth river rocks, it may not be as grand in scale as the other pieces, but it’s still an old friend.


I’ve just always enjoyed how with simple materials, the artist has imbued cold steel and rocks with a person-like sense … In an open, slightly rounded, circle of grass stands these pipe-pebble people, looking slightly ill-at-ease … both alone yet with each other.


Walking eastward now (it’s getting close to office time) I approach Alexander Calder’s monumental piece, “Four Arches”. The oldest of the pieces on this morning’s tour, it’s been in place since 1975. Painted in Calder’s characteristic strong red, this is a modern masterpiece that’s always given me that big-bank-per-buck feeling, what with its massive curves seeming to crash around me.

Back on Hill

Figuring the quickest way down from Bunker Hill would be the Angel’s Flight stairway, I head east, back across Hope, across Grand, and down … onto the landing at Hill Street. Traffic’s starting to pick up now and I still have to pick up some breakfast. I wait for the light and turn to take this picture of the famous funicular’s orange-salmon gateway/ticket booth. My nature/artwalk was fun; it would be nice to hop the Flight and go back up, but I’m still employed (although we had another in a series of awful layoffs yesterday) and I’ve made a vow to myself to keep checking in so long as they’ll have me. So, it’s down eastward still, to Spring Street … I can pick up the tour some other time. These dragons — this art — will be there waiting.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2012 5:24 am

    Very nice street art Photography. Thanks for sharing Nonoy Manga

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 22, 2012 5:48 am

      You’re welcome and thanks for commmenting!

  2. Vickie Perez permalink
    March 22, 2012 6:00 am

    I do love joining you for your strolls and day trips. It’s been so many years since I’ve spent any time in downtown LA that I doubt that I’d recognize much. Thanks again.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 22, 2012 12:14 pm

      Thanks, Vickie … So much of this stuff would be missed if I drove!

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