The sign outside the Watts Towers Art Center | Still from "The Watts Towers Arts Center" ab s11 episode image

Orange County's Commitment to the Pageant of Masters

Artbound's editorial team has reviewed and rated the most compelling weekly articles. After putting two articles up for a vote, the audience chose this article to be made into a short-format documentary.

In the early 1930s, California sculptor L. Archibald Garner won a competition to create a monument for a new astronomical observatory in Southern California. His proposal was simple: a 40-foot tall obelisk of brilliant white concrete surrounded by six of astronomy's most influential thinkers. And, for nearly 80 years, the monument has marked the entrance to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.

On a cool Friday evening early in July, I find myself staring at Garner's sculpture: the figures' stylized robes, their impassive gazes, their astronomical tools. Except none of it is real. I'm in an amphitheater 60 miles south of Griffith Park, in a canyon nearby Laguna Beach. Instead of concrete, Garner's piece is made out of wood and Styrofoam. The sculpted figures are really actors, all painted white; all of whom remain deadly still while the announcer talks about astronomical achievements and quotes Carl Sagan. As a light system projects the cosmos onto a scrim before us, the planets of our solar system float into view. A massive Earth rises just beyond the stage, looking serene and fragile. The music swells. My neighbor gasps, "Oh god, oh god, oh god." And with an explosive crescendo, Act 1 of Pageant of the Masters comes to an end.

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Light & Space

In a world filled with noise, distractions and chaos, a number of artists seek to push the boundaries of perception and experience. The Light and Space movement of the 1960s explored minimalism with a uniquely Californian spin — with a keen attention to the interaction of light and space. Crucially, the materials these artists relied on to create these perceptual experiences emerged from the postwar aerospace industry and its advances.

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  • 2020-10-28T18:00:00-07:00
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  • 2020-11-01T09:00:00-08:00
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Día de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos has been adapted for centuries from its pre-colonial roots to the popular depictions in mass media today. Inspired by rich Oaxacan traditions, it was brought to East Los Angeles in the 1970s as a way to enrich and reclaim Chicano identity through a small celebration at Self Help Graphics and Art. Since then, the celebration has grown in proportions with renditions enacted in communities all around the world.

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  • 2020-11-08T09:00:00-08:00
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The New West Coast Sound: An L.A. Jazz Legacy

Growing up amongst jazz legends within the deep musical traditions of Leimert Park, drummer Mekala Session and his peers grapple with how to preserve this rich legacy—striving to carry forward the tenets that took root in the work of Horace Tapscott and his Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. This is the story of Los Angeles’ emerging generation of community-focused black musicians.This episode of Artbound was produced in partnership with dublab and Storyform.

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CURRENT:LA FOOD

In October of 2019 the city of Los Angeles through the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Institute of Contemporary Art organized a city-wide exhibition of public art and events based around the theme of food. Each artist interpreted a different aspect or issue surrounding food or food systems in the city from climate change, to food access, civic engagement to waste and recycling. Activating public parks throughout the city, artists created works to spark conversation about what it means to live in Los Angeles and how to work together for a sustainable and hopeful future.

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The Watts Towers Arts Center

The Watts Towers Arts Center was founded by artists and educators in the 1960s and has been a beacon of art and culture in the community for decades. This episode features the work of artists including Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, Betye Saar, Charles White and Mark Steven Greenfield.

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