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DTLA bus benches to host art, not ads, this summer

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, July 05, 2013, at 02:16PM
Screenshot of an image from Dulce Pinzón's "Superhero" series

Dulce Pinzón is one of the two artists whose work will be displayed on select bus benches through downtown L.A. and the Boyle Heights neighborhood. This image shows Spider-Man window-washing a skyscraper.

Starting Friday, twenty bus benches in downtown Los Angeles and the Boyle Heights neighborhood will have art, not advertising.

This public art project is an effort by Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar along with the City of Los Angeles’ DoArt Foundation and the Canada-based Make Art Public group.

“This project gives us the opportunity to bring art to the public right-of-way,” said Huizar in a statement.

Huizar worked with Martin Outdoor Media — which oversees more than 5,000 bus benches throughout L.A. — to secure up to 100 benches for art installations until they are leased for advertising.

These benches will display works by two artists; Dulce Pinzón and Jon Rafman.

Pinzón's photographs are part of her "Superhero" series in which she shows Mexican immigrants dressed as superheros and working in everyday jobs, from being a nanny to a construction worker.

Rafman's images come from his "9 Eyes" project, in which he captures surprising scenes and shocking scenarios through Google Earth Street View. Photos include a moose running down a highway in Norway, a monkey park in Japan, and a car on fire in Brazil.

"With an ostensibly neutral gaze, the Street View photography exhibits a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer," according to a news release from Huizar's office.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Martin Outdoor Media signed a contract in 2011 with the City, to install up to 6,000 bus benches.

All the art installation will be on bus benches within the 14th City Council District.

Benches in and near downtown L.A. that will be getting the artistic treatment are located at:

  • 9th and Maple streets
  • Broadway and 6th Street
  • Broadway and W. 1st Street
  • Figueroa Street and Pico Boulevard
  • Hill and 5th streets
  • Main Street and Pico Boulevard
  • Olympic Boulevard and Olive Street
  • Spring and Temple streets
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