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Tuesday, September 23, 2008
feature story
Los Angeles Museum “Enlightened” by Antique Street Lights

NEMA members often think of their products as “art,” but do others? In Los Angeles, the answer is yes.

Directly in front of the new entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Wilshire Boulevard is Chris Burden's Urban Light (2008), an orderly, multi-tiered installation of 202 antique cast-iron street lights from various cities in and around the Los Angeles. The street lights are functional, turn on in the evening, and are powered by solar panels on the roof of the museum.

The art piece was unveiled in February 2008. Nighttime photos can be found on the web, and a YouTube video even walks the viewer through the piece. The arrangement looks like an over-stocked luminaire aisle (if we’d had Home Depot some 50 years ago!), but the variety and repetition of the standards and globes is both pleasing to the eye, and a trip down the Main Streets of yesteryear.

In a January 2008 article in the Los Angeles Times, Burden, 61, said he hoped that his monumental installation of 1920s- and ’30s-era lamps would become both a city landmark and a more fitting entryway to the sprawling museum campus. Arranged so the visitor can walk among the fixtures, Urban Light is a nod, Burden said, to what a museum should be: “It sounds kind of corny, but when you walk through the lamps into the museum, it’s like a pathway to enlightenment. It’s symbolic.”

Read the entire article.

The LA Times wrote that the arrangement —in strict formation, with the tallest standing about 30 feet in the center at the back, flanked by others of various heights and forms, and the smallest standing about 20 feet tall —makes the lamps look like a platoon of soldiers ready to march. All their parts are original, collected by Burden over seven years. The bases display elaborate floral and geometric patterns, and the fluted shafts and glass globes that cap them have been meticulously cleaned, painted, and refurbished to create an exuberant glow.

The LACMA is the official and world-renowned art museum of the County of Los Angeles, California. It is located on Wilshire Boulevard along Museum Row in the Miracle Mile vicinity of Los Angeles, adjacent to the George C. Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits. LACMA is the largest encyclopedic museum west of Chicago. Its holdings include more than 250,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present.

Bruce Schopp

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On the Hill/Around the Nation

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International News

No international new in this addition of eiXtra.

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NEC Notes

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New Hampshire Adopts 2008 NEC® with One Amendment
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On June 19, 2008, the Rhode Island Building Code Standards Committee held a public hearing to hear testimony on the adoption of the State Electrical Code (SBC-5).

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Sales Corner

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Shut Up...Stop Selling!
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NEMAVoice

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2008 National Electrical Manufacturers Association. eiXtra is a biweekly e-newsletter for electroindustry professionals summarizing key manufacturer, standardization, and regulatory news. NEMA does not sell or release subscriber's personal information and will never willfully disclose individually identifiable information to any third party without first receiving your permission. Privacy policy.
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