Wednesday, July 23, 2008

L.A.'s Eiffel Tower

What is Los Angeles' equivalent to Paris' Eiffel Tower, or London's Big Ben? Its freeways. That is, according to Japanese artist Yutaka Sone. Sone moved to L.A. a decade ago, and "regards the merging of Los Angeles freeways as the city’s key landmarks, as towers or domes are for Paris or London," says NYT blogger Phil Patton. Sone renders highway intersections in white marble, "the traditional material of heroic sculpture." Opposite: the 10-405 interchange, which critic Reyner Banham called "one of the greater works of man."

Curbed LA readers chip in, with comments ranging from "Reminds me of European Gothic cathedrals," to "Pretty freakin' monumental," to "I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a free(way)." Less enthusiastic: "It's a sad when utterly utilitarian objects like freeway intersections are counted as aesthetically noteworthy", or "The freeways are magnificent feats of mid-century engineering and construction but [for Sone's work] to ignore the social and cultural ramifications of their presence [is] conceptually lightweight."
illustration of artwork via NYT's Wheels blog