Los Angeles has commissioned artist Glenn Kaino to create a major public artwork as part of the Sixth Street Viaduct Replacement Project. Also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, the Sixth Street Viaduct is one of 14 historic structures crossing the Los Angeles River, bridging the city's arts district and the neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Built in 1932, the bridge has gradually disintegrated over the past century due to an unforeseen chemical reaction, leading to structural vulnerabilities that necessitate its replacement.
Designed by architecture firm HNTB, the new, $400-million bridge will include a public art component as determined by a public art advisory committee developed by the city's department of cultural affairs with local councilman Jose Huizar. The committee selected Kaino from five other finalists.
Kaino, who grew up in Boyle Heights and lives in L.A., has yet to propose a definite project, but plans on examining the social role played by ostensibly utilitarian infrastructure. The artist works in a range of mediums, including sculpture, installation, video and performance.
At a press conference today in Los Angeles, the artist highlighted his personal connection to the bridge, saying, "I can't think of a more profound challenge to me than to create something meaningful in a place that already means so much to me and everyone in Los Angeles."
In addition to his commission, Kaino has a busy few months ahead of him, with an installation at New Orleans biennial Prospect.3 (Oct. 25, 2014-Jan. 25, 2015) and upcoming solo shows at Chicago's Kavi Gupta Gallery (Sept. 19-Dec. 20) and Los Angeles gallery Honor Fraser in January 2015.