The Promenade, a 140 unit condominium project completed in 1981, was the second major project designed to bring residents back to Bunker Hill.(1) It was also the first housing project on Bunker Hill to incorporate public art.
The untitled work, funded by a $39,000 commission, fulfills the Community Redevelopment Agency's percent-for-art requirement for new development projects on Bunker Hill. Sheldon Caris developed the work from one he exhibited in a show of his organic shaped sculpture at the University of Judaism's art gallery in 1977. Sid Galper, the Promenade's landscape architect, attended the show and commissioned Caris to design a larger version of the exhibited work for the condominium project. Caris made a clay maquette of the proposed sculpture, which was based on the shape of an ape skull, and presented it to Goodrich & Kess, the developer, and to Peter Kamnitzer, the building's architect. After they accepted the design, the Community Redevelopment Agency gave final approval.(2)
Caris then prepared a full size model from foam and plaster, which was cut into 27 sections. Molds were made from the sections and casting was done at the Westcoast Foundry by the lost wax method. The sculpture was then assembled by welding the parts together.(3)
The work was installed as part of a fountain in the Promenade's retail court. Water originally flowed out of the sculpture into a shallow pool. Within a few years, however, the fountain was turned off. Composed of a rough exterior shroud and a smooth interior, the sculpture is both larger and simpler than the one displayed in the 1977 show so it can be easily read by people walking quickly by.(4)
Footnotes:1 Biennial Report, Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles, Bunker Hill Redevelopment Project, 1993.
2 Interview with Sheldon Caris by Michael Several, July 6, 1988.
The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, June, 1998.
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