Concrete Fantasy: Southern California as the Freeway Metropolis
If any one building material defined mid-20th-century Los Angeles, it was concrete – once a symbol of progress, modernity, and control of nature. As the city’s most iconic concrete structures, the freeways, aged, latter-day artists and critics like Catherine Opie and Reyner Banham began to celebrate their aesthetic qualities: their swooping forms and their kinetic thrills. Their work can help us rediscover the infrastructure we take for granted – but theirs is a privileged perspective blind to the social and public health costs imposed upon the communities they bulldozed through. Shifting perspectives, this segment considers the political realities that placed seven freeways through Boyle Heights and East L.A., and how residents of those mostly Latino communities have reckoned with them.