LACMA's 'Urban Light' to be turned off for 2 months for repairs

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"Urban Light," the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's streetlight sculpture on Wilshire Boulevard that has become an iconic symbol of the museum and Los Angeles, will be going dark for two months, beginning May 1.

The 202 lights on the sculpture by artist Chris Burden will be turned off through June 30 because the poles are in need of repainting and repair due to damage from prolonged exposure to sunlight, said Miranda Carroll, LACMA's communications director.

"They've taken a lot of wear and tear and we want to bring them back to their original glory," Carroll said.

The sculpture will be blocked off while the existing paint and rust are stripped from the poles, Carroll said.

The museum has spent two years looking for paint that would be durable, possess the right sheen and meet California's regulations on volatile organic compounds, Carroll said.

Since the sculpture was installed in 2008, it has become an iconic symbol of Los Angeles and a popular location for tourists taking selfies, wedding parties posing for formal photos, and filmmakers and advertising companies seeking unique L.A. images. The sculpture sits outside the museum's gates and is accessible to the public at all hours.

The dark period in May and June will be the only time the sculpture has been turned off, except for during the museum's observance of Earth Hour for at least that last couple of years, Carroll said.

"We're very apologetic for this," Carroll said, "but we wanted people to know so they can make plans." 

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