Arts & Entertainment

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

Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture, "Urban Light," located in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Amaury Laporte/Flickr Creative Commons
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
A girl plays under columns of lights in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California on February 16,2014. "Urban Light," favorite place for portraits of wedding photographers, is a 2008 large-scale assemblage sculpture by Chris Burden. The installation consists of 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of them once lit the streets of Southern California. The cast iron street lamps are of 17 styles, which vary depending on the municipality that commissioned them. They range from about 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 meters), are painted a uniform grey and placed, forest-like, in a near grid. The lights are solar powered and switched on at dusk.
Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
A couple memorialize their visit to Chris Burden's "Urban Light" at LACMA.
John Rabe
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
Photographer David Hoffman with two of his subjects at Chris Burden's Urban Light at LACMA, Haley Huelsman and Ashtin Roth, dancers on Dance Moms Candy Apples.
John Rabe
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
A dance shoot at Chris Burden's "Urban Light" at LACMA.
John Rabe
Chris Burden's iconic sculpture,
A fashion shoot at Chris Burden's "Urban Light" at LACMA.
John Rabe


"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."