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Mystery Medicine Cabinet Art Popping Up Downtown

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008, at 06:32PM
red cross Ed Fuentes

When I first saw the wood, hand-painted white box with a red cross installed on a 2nd and Santa Fe light pole over in the Arts District, I thought it was a prop First-Aid kit for a film shoot a few feet away. But then I saw another, this time in Little Tokyo.

It's public art that takes a familiar symbol and alters its meaning, but what exactly are these boxes trying to say?

Those curious enough to open the door will find the unlocked boxes do not carry bandages, but toys instead. The Arts District box contains a locomotive, while Little Tokyo's offers a large plastic toy solider.

The project's purpose is not as clear as Ari Kletzky’s signs marking "Islands of LA", nor is it as political as Richard McDowell's past Downtown installations, including this from 2005.

Without an obvious message, viewers are left to make one up. That's something you all do pretty well, so let's hear it: What's your take on the message of the mystery medicine boxes?

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