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A Little Public Art

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2005, at 12:02PM
Public Restroom Art? Eric Richardson [Flickr]

You may or may not have seen various incarnations of these signs around Downtown recently. I first saw one last Thursday, at the corner of 4th and Main. It was a "one way" style sign, pointing down 4th, which read "DRUGS." This morning I noticed a couple of these "Public Restroom" signs on the future loft building at 548 S. Spring St. This picture shows one of the signs in context.

The small lettering at the bottom of the signs reads "Property of Richard McDowell 04/2005." I wasn't familiar with him, so I did a little googling. Apparently he had a gallery just down the street a few years ago, at 835 S. Spring. This article reviews a show there, and includes a picture of Richard. The gallery didn't last long, but Richard has stuck around the area.

The word I hear is that he had a camera crew documenting putting the signs up, so I would imagine we'll see something of that in the future. The story was told to me that while hanging one of the DRUGS signs, Richard was approached by LAPD. They said something to the effect of "You know you're going to have to take that down." Richard told them it was an art project related to Gallery Row and such (though he doesn't have any actual relationship with Gallery Row), and supposedly the officer said, "Ok, but at least point it the right direction."

I'm not sure how many of the signs are still hanging.

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