L.A. Family Baroque

Historical Background

1992, Bill Barrett. 12'6"h x 6'w x 6'd 601. West Fifth Street
The Community Redevelopment Agency required Westgroup Partners to include a public art component in their rehabilitation and expansion of the One Bunker Hill Building. Bill Barrett previously executed a work for an individual affiliated with the Westgroup, and through his prior contact, was asked to submit a design for the One Bunker Hill Building. Using architectural drawings of the site, Barrett made a model and presented it to executives of Westgroup, who approved the design. The sculpture, part of Barrett's "baroque" series of approximately 90 works, was originally scheduled for installation in a fountain planned for the foot of the steps leading up to the building's entrance.(1) However, after the fountain was removed from the development plans, the sculpture was re-sited in the Rotunda at the building's entrance. The bronze in the work, which penetrates an opaque light green and brown patina,(2) picks up the building's color and prepares visitors for the building's magnificent lobby.

Constructed of welded bronze sheets and reinforced by interior bronze rods, "L.A. Family Baroque" was fabricated by Ryan "Ryno" Rich and finished by Jim Galbraith.(3) The organic shapes composing the sculpture are abstract and anthropomorphic in form as well as ambiguous in meaning. They can either be interpreted as embraces, or members of a family, or combined into a single person. This work is united with others by Barrett by the theme of people working together.(4)

Footnotes:

1 Interview of Bill Barrett by Michael Several, May 5, 1992.

2 "Bunker Hill Proposal," Bill Barrett, no date.

3 "The Sculptural Embodiment of dreams, disappointments," by John Villani, "Pasatiempo," February 28-March 5, 1992, p. 29.

4 Ibid.



The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, October 1999.

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