Exhibit Showcases Billboards as Art in LA

Kenneth Anger Billboard

The MAK Center's new exhibit features work by artists like Kenneth Anger. | Photo: Gerard Smulevich

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The MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood, Calif., has opened an ambitious urban project–How Many Billboards? Art In Stead–that features large-scale artwork by 21 commissioned artists on billboards throughout Los Angeles. There are several CalArts alumni, faculty and visiting artists involved in the project, which temporarily replaces ads with art along the city’s streetscape.

The event has been organized and co-curated by CalArts alumna and MAK Center Director Kimberli Meyer (Art MFA 95). She writes in the Director’s Statement:

Billboards are a dominant feature of the landscape in Los Angeles. Thousands line the city’s thoroughfares, delivering high-end commercial messages to a repeat audience. Given outdoor advertising’s strong presence in public space, it seems reasonable and exciting to set up the possibility for art to be present in this field. The sudden existence of artistic speech mixed in with commercial speech provides a refreshing change of pace. Commercial messaging tells you to buy; artistic messaging encourages you to look and to think….

Los Angeles public space begs for smart art to break up the monotony of everyday media fare, and the billboard provides a fertile position for artists who work critically and site-responsively to test their ideas in urban media space. Contemporary art gains a momentarily broad audience, and city dwellers are extended a daily invitation to reflect and contemplate. Channels are opened for experimentation, innovation, and cultural exchange.

Featured artists include School of Art faculty members Michael Asher, Allan Sekula and alumni Christina Fernandez (Art MFA 96), Kira Lynn Harris (Art MFA 98), Allen Ruppersberg (Chouinard 67) and James Welling (Art BFA 72, MFA 74). Other prominent artists included in the exhibit are Kenneth Anger, Jennifer Bornstein, Eileen Cowin, Ken Gonzales-Day, Renée Green, John Knight, David Lamelas, Brandon Lattu, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Kori Newkirk, Yvonne Rainer, Martha Rosler with Josh Neufeld, Susan Silton, Kerry Tribe  and lauren woods.

The exhibition is accompanied by an overview of the show and orientation station at the Schindler House, artist receptions, film screenings, panel discussions, other public programs and bus tours on the next two Saturdays (Feb. 27 and March 6). The public billboards  come down on March 12, but the overview and orientation station at the Schindler House will remain on view from February 23 to May 16,

For more information on the bus tours and other public programs, please visit the MAK Center. To view a map of where the billboards can be found around LA, please click on the MAK Center’s Google Map:

MAK Center Map

Billboards around LA as art. Click on the map to see locations.

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  1. George // //

    This is a wonderful exhibition. I wish we had something like this where I live in Christchurch New Zealand. We have a billboard company and could be interested in running something like this.