Urban Art: The Islands of LA National Park

Dozens of "national parks" are being christened in Los Angeles, according to the LA Times. Brown signs with white type spelling out "The Islands of LA Nat'l Park" are appearing everywhere from Venice to Watts to West Hollywood. They're the work of artist Ari Kletzky, who sees the tiny islands in the middle of traffic as "inquisitive places" -- in-between spaces where we can pause and ask questions. Part activist project, part artwork, his Islands of LA series is a "gesture," he says: "An appetizer that inspires an appetite. I'm looking to generate discussion to explore use of public space by turning islands into a work of art."

The LA Times writes:
His motivations were personal as well as political. Like so many Angelenos, Kletzky, 36, had been feeling hemmed in. "I was driving around, sitting in traffic and I just wanted a break. I wanted to take a vacation," he recalls. His eyes drifted over to a traffic island, "And I thought, 'I want to take it here.' " He pauses, smiles. "Well, I don't know if that's entirely true . . ." -- that is, that it happened in a moment. But the anecdote conveys the overall sentiment. That patch of green looked inviting enough. Why not sit a spell? Why not be carried away with a feeling?

Kletzky, a former rhetoric major at UC Berkeley, had come to making art late. To help cope with his father's passing, Kletzky began writing poetry in 1995, which led to photography, video and then video installations and performance. Art became not a form of expression, but rather "a form of exploration, interaction . . . even transformation." (He will begin working on an MFA in art and integrated media at CalArts come fall.) And once the island seed was planted, he started making connections. "I started reading philosophical theory about why it is that individuals are more interested in ideas than in objects. That's when I got the idea about prompting discussions and inviting people to think. To be involved -- be participants in the blog, or in their communities," he says. "The discussion itself is part of the project."
Via Modern Art Notes.

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