Background information

Woods Davy, 1981. 11' x 8' x 2'. 455 E. Third Street
When goals were established for the Little Tokyo Redevelopment Project, affordable housing for senior citizens was made a top priority. The first major development in Little Tokyo, the 16-story, 301-unit Little Tokyo Towers, is the result of that goal.

The non-profit project was specifically exempted from the Community Redevelopment Agency's art requirement. However, the president of the Friends of Little Tokyo Arts, George Takei (Captain Sulu in the original Star Trek), strongly believed public art should be an integral part of Little Tokyo's development and in 1981 purchased Dover at a gallery and donated it to Little Tokyo Towers in memory of his father, Takekuma Takei. Mayor Tom Bradley spoke at the dedication of the work in January 1982.

The design of Dover reflects Davy's belief that "[T]he mixture of opposites is a constant reality; therefore, their peaceful combination is a necessity." Two contrasting right-angle triangles--one thrusting upward, the other horizontal--are united by each lifting a section of an eucalyptus tree. A compositional tension arises by combining the bulky, impenetrable blocks with the light transparent triangles. The juxtaposition of wood with steel beams pays respect to the natural and man-made materials of the surrounding urban landscape. Takei selected the site for the work because the mound serves as a platform, raising Dover and making it a focal point for visitors to the apartment building. Though designed separately, the artwork and landscaping create a quiet and coherent composition that responds to the character of the senior citizen housing.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, December 1997.

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