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  • CRA/LA’S commitment to public art began over 40 years ago.
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 \\Commonspot\internet-site\images\bullet1 Art Projects
 

Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid
Unity
1993


Project Area: Bunker Hill
Project: Library Tower
Project Location: US Bank Tower, 633 W. Fifth Street
Project Type: Developer

Description:

Featured on the lobby walls of US Bank Tower are three murals of angels and bilingual (English and Spanish) texts. The side angels are an interpretation of the three Renaissance angels originally painted in the Chapel Porciúncula.

This chapel, located near the town of Assisi in Italy was restored in the 1400s by St. Francis of Assisi.  It was because of this connection to St. Francis that the Chapel Porciúncula became the center of the Franciscan Order. When the Spanish, led by Gaspar de Portola’s expedition, arrived in this area on August 2, 1769, his Franciscan diarist Fray Juan Crespi gave the land its original name, "Nuestra Senora de los Angeles de Porciúncula" (Our Lady of the Angels of Porciúncula) in commemoration of the Franciscan feast after the same name that was held the day before. Fray Juan Crespi also named the present-day Los Angeles River, the Porciúncula. On September 4, 1781, Governor Felipe de Neve decreed the pueblo under its official name, "The Town of the Queen of the Angels on the Porciúncula River." After California was admitted into the Union, the pueblo was officially incorporated under the name of "Los Angeles."

The central angel incorporates symbols from many cultures: the gilded wood arc above the angel's head is Aztec/Mayan, the carved mahogany headpiece is Nigerian, the cast aluminum wings are Native American and from the bald eagle on the quarter, and the banner from a 10th century Buddhist painting.

 
 

Artist Profiles

Born in Moscow, Vitaly Komar (1943) and Alexander Melamid (1945) graduated from the Stroganov School of Art and Design in 1967.  Both artists collaborated with one another from 1973-2003.  They are credited for being the founders of the Soviet Pop Art movement called Sots Art and for pioneering a multi-stylistic post-modernism.  This artistic team produced projects with video artist Douglas Davis on Questions New York/Moscow (1976); Fluxus musician Charlotte Moorman on Passport (1976); Andy Warhol on We Buy and Sell Souls (1978-79), composer Dave Soldier on the opera, Naked Revolution (1997), about Washington, Lenin, and Duchamp; painter Renee the Elephant in 1995; and photographer Mike the Chimpanzee in 1998.  After Symbols of the Big Bang was exhibited at the Yeshiva University Museum (New York, 2002-03), Vitaly Komar started the solo project, Three-Day Weekend, uniting symbols of different faiths and concepts of spirituality with childhood photographs of him and his parents. This deeply personal work marked the end of his collaboration with Alexander Melamid.  Komar’s and Melamid’s works have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Kitchen, New York; and the 1999 Venice Biennale.