Celebrating Urban Light

January 5, 2009


Since it was installed one year ago thanks to the generosity of the Gordon Family Foundation, Chris Burden's Urban Light, a sculpture comprised of more than 200 vintage Southern California streetlamps, has rapidly become one of the museum's most iconic permanent collection objects as well as a real landmark for L.A. The work also inspires all kinds of people in all kinds of ways. My colleagues and I have seen brides taking photos in front of it, schoolchildren playing tag in it, and even a music video being shot in its midst. For me, the best part of winter's early nightfall is passing Urban Light aglow on my way home. I feel as if I'm punctuating the day with an especially effervescent glass of champagne.

Whether you have your own Urban Light experience or if you've not visited LACMA lately, we're introducing plenty of new ways to engage you with this beloved sculpture.

For the main event, if you're one of the thousands who've taken photos or shot video in front of Urban Light, submit your images to Flickr (photos) and YouTube (videos). The best of the best will go on view online February 25 as part of a digital exhibition curated by photography head Charlotte Cotton, and will be published in a print-on-demand book; selected creative writing inspired by the work will be included, too. Charlotte will also choose one winning photograph for the publication's cover, which will be announced right here on Unframed on February 23.

Along with this call for submissions, we've got lots of other Urban Light projects going on. Check out Urban Light's Facebook and MySpace pages for discussion, back story, and news, and follow our Twitter for little-known details about the object. There's an Urban Light PDA tour on the way, and much more.

We look forward to seeing how Urban Light has inspired you. Just be sure to get your submission in by the deadline—Valentines Day—and don't forget to check back here on February 23 for the winning photograph.

Allison Agsten