LACMA Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Chris Burden’s Urban Light

LACMA’s Michael Govan (left) joined Nancy Rubins, an artist and widow of “Urban Light” creater Chris Burden; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, for the sculpture’s 10th anniversary celebration. (Photo Credit: Keyang Pang)

Los Angeles—
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) celebrated the 10th anniversary of Chris Burden’s Urban Light (2008). Situated on Wilshire Boulevard at the museum’s entrance, the sculpture incorporates 202 vintage street lamps of 17 different designs from various cities in and around the Los Angeles area. Urban Light joined LACMA’s collection in February 2008 as a gift from the Gordon Family Foundation to “Transformation: The LACMA Campaign.”

In honor of the 10th anniversary, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has generously supported the replacement of all 309 incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, resulting in approximately 90% in power savings for LACMA while also reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants.

“Over the last decade, Chris Burden’s Urban Light has become a Los Angeles icon and a hallmark of our community. The lampposts, hailing from all over Los Angeles and its vicinity, represent the diversity of our great city and the people who live here,” said Michael Govan, LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director. “Thanks to the support of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, this conversion to LED bulbs ensures that Urban Light will continue to be bright, accessible, and environmentally friendly for future generations.”

“Whether you’re a visitor to LACMA or a passerby on Wilshire, Urban Light has captured the imagination of everyone who has experienced this wondrous work of art,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “With the installation’s conversion to new energy efficient LED bulbs, today marks the start of a new era for this symbol of our city’s creative spirit.”

“My Foundation is proud to support LACMA as it transitions to new, energy efficient lighting for Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation,” said LDF Founder and Chairman Leonardo DiCaprio. “It is my hope that leaders from other cultural, civic and private institutions will follow the example set by LACMA to examine the financial and environmental benefits of switching to LED lightbulbs in public places as a way to help combat climate change.”

To kick off the 10th anniversary celebrations, LACMA commissioned artist and photographer Siri Kaur, who is represented in the museum’s collection, to shoot portraits of people who have marked personal milestones at Urban Light. A special photoshoot took place on January 27 at the museum. On February 8, LACMA hosted a special unveiling of the sculpture’s conversion to LED light bulbs at an event attended by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LDF CEO Terry Tamminen, artist Nancy Rubins, and Michael Govan.

Photo Credit: Keyang Pang

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