Sunday, May 31, 2009

UCLA Sculpture Garden

One of my favorite places to relax in Los Angeles is the Murphy Sculpture Garden at UCLA. The garden's collection of over 70 sculptures is displayed on 5 beautifully landscaped acres of the UCLA campus.

I included a few pictures from the sculpture garden in my earlier post on UCLA. Here are some more pictures of sculptures from the garden.

George Tsutakawa, "Obos 69" (1969), bronze:

Vladas Vildziunas, "The Bird Goddess" (1977), bronze:

Jean Arp
, "Fruit hybrid dit la pagode" ("Hybrid Fruit Called Pagoda")(1934), bronze:

Barbara Hepworth
, "Elegy III" (1966), bronze:

Sorel Etrog, "War Rememberance" (1960-1961), bronze:

Aristide Maillol, "Tete heroique" ("Heroic Head")(1923), bronze:

Aristide Maillol, "Torso" (1938), bronze:

Williams Zorach, "Victory" (1950), bronze:

Gerhard Marcks
, "Freya" (1949), bronze:

Gerhard Marcks, "Maja" (1942), bronze:

Gaston Lachaise, "Standing Woman" (1932), bronze:

Robert Graham, "Dance Column II" (1978), bronze:

Henri Laurens, "Automne" (1948), bronze:

Henry Moore, "Two-Piece Reclining Figure, No. 3" (1961), bronze:

Francisco Zuniga, "Desnudo Reclinado" (1979), bronze:

David Smith, "Cubi XX" (1964), welded steel:

Jean Arp, "Ptolomee III" (1961), bronze:

Bernard ("Tony") Rosenthal, "Abstract Plaque" (1964), welded sheet bronze:

George Rickey, "Two Lines Oblique Down, Variation II" (1970), stainless steel:

Deborah Butterfield, "Pensive" (1996), bronze:

UCLA's main art building, which is located adjacent to the sculpture garden, was damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In 2006, Richard Meier & Partners Architects completed the restoration, renovation, and seismic retrofit of the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Center. In order to reduce costs and environmental impact, the architects reused the existing eight-story concrete structure. They added a support butress on the left side of the building to provide needed stuctural reinforcement, created exterior walkways with teak shades for sun protection, and remodeled the interior classrooms and workspaces. Richard Serra's 2006 sculpture "T.E.U.C.L.A." (Torqued Ellipse UCLA) sits in front of the entrance to the new art center:

There are many more sculptures in the garden that are not pictured here including works by Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Isamu Noguchi, and August Rodin. For a more complete list of the sculptures and other art on the UCLA campus see: Public Art in Los Angeles' UCLA page.

If you are ever in the UCLA area, I recommend a visit to the sculpture garden - the UCLA campus is open to the public and access to the sculpture garden is free (although parking is not).

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bradbury Building

The 1893 Bradbury Building, which was commissioned by mining millionaire Lewis Bradbury and built by novice architect George Wyman, is the oldest commercial building in downtown Los Angeles. The building's 50-foot high interior atrium features beautiful carved wood, terracotta tiles, and intricate wrought-iron grillwork.

The architect's inspiration for the design came in part from the 1887 science fiction novel Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. The novel, which is set in the year 2000 and envisions the United States as a socialist utopia, describes buildings with interior atriums lit by natural light.

In the last several decades, the Bradbury Building has become a science fiction icon. A quick internet search finds it described as "the most famous building in science fiction" and a "real-life steampunk palace." The building has featured prominently in numerous comic books, television shows, and movies such as Blade Runner. Marvel Comics, along with the Los Angeles Police Department's Office of Internal Affairs, is one of the tenants that currently rents office space in the building.

The atrium has two open-cage elevators that originally ran on steam power. Here is a side view of one of the elevators traveling up the open-cage shaft:

Some closeups of the French-made ironwork:

Here is a view down into the lobby from the first floor landing. The lobby floor tiles are Mexican and the marble in the stairways is from Belgium.

In contrast to the ornate interior, the building's exterior is in the plain Romanesque style favored on the East Coast at the end of the 19th century:

There is more information about the history of the Bradbury Building on the Public Art in L.A. website. The building is located on the corner of 3rd Street and Broadway and is open to the public daily from 9-5. The offices in the building are still in use so visitors are only allowed in the lobby and up to the first landings on the stairwells.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adamson House: Malibu Tiles

From the 1910s-1930s, hundreds of small potteries sprung up around Southern California to produce the tiles that were used in the era's popular Spanish revival and Mediterranean-style homes. One of the largest and most successful of the California tile companies was Malibu Potteries which operated from 1926-1932 and utilized the region's natural red clay.

The Adamson House is located in Malibu next to Surfrider Beach and is open to the public for tours. The Spanish revival architecture is nothing special, but the house's interior and exterior are decorated with hundreds of beautiful, original Malibu Pottery tiles.

A view of the Adamson House:

The most impressive and best-preserved tilework is in the interior of the house in the kitchen and the 5 bathrooms. Unfortunately, interior photography is not allowed so all of my photos are of the tiles that decorate the various exterior patios and courtyards. Many of the richly patterned tiles are inspired by traditional Spanish and Moorish designs or by Arts and Crafts flower motifs:

Many of these old tiles used toxic substances such as arsenic to achieve vibrant colors and glaze effects.

Individual tiles are set into the thick adobe walls around the doors leading out to the patios:

Here are some details of individual tiles which include flowers and vines, geometric patterns, and some modern designs:

This colorful peacock fountain is on the ground-level patio facing the beach:

A detail of the peacock's head:

A view of the tiles which form the right peacock on the fountain:

If you look closely at the left peacock's tail you can see that one of the tiles was placed upside down:

A hummingbird:

Details of the tilework along the edges of the fountain:

Another peacock-themed piece on one of the side patios:

Here is a detail of the Green Man fountain on the East side of the house. In the chipped section above the Green Man's head, you can see the Malibu red clay used for the tiles:

Below is a map with the Adamson House's location. The lagoon next to the house is full of hundreds of birds that love the mix of fresh water and sea water where Malibu Creek meets the Pacific Ocean. Information about tours and visiting hours are available at the Adamson House website.

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