Monday, November 1, 2010

About Art - Animaline

A group of pricey sculptures outside the Los Angeles Police Department's new headquarters downtown are turning heads. The statues have also stirred controversy because of their $500,000 price tag, especially because of the city's budget crisis. The sculptures, six ballooning forms held up by two elongated, vaguely quadruped creatures on either end, were created by Peter Shelton, whose well-known work usually abstracts human body parts, distending them in space in ways that make us supremely self-conscious of our own imperfect, slightly ridiculous assemblages of flesh and bone, has here turned his talents toward powerful animals associated with the untamed wilds of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Cast in bronze and coated with a rich, black patina, the figures create a formal promenade along the Spring Street side of the new edifice. Between the sidewalk and the conventional but imposing new building, their mostly rounded shapes soften the hard edges of the street-scape. The corpulent forms are sheltered beneath a freshly planted alley of London plane trees. As it matures, the bower will further cushion the pedestrian space between the busy traffic artery and the swank architecture.

An alumnus of UCLA’s master of fine arts program, Shelton has had a three-decade career, with works in the permanent collections of three dozen museums, including the Getty, LACMA and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Yet he has completed only a handful of public art projects. As for his first in L.A., Shelton says, “I’m really excited to have a public work in my hometown.” Find out more about the artist at his website:

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