“Ode to the 6th Bridge” lives up to its name, with over 30 artists creating lyrical, poignant memories of what will soon be nevermore: Los Angeles’ iconic landmark, the 6th Street Bridge. The Art Share LA exhibition, curated by Dale Youngman and Tanner Blackman opens Wednesday September 9, with an artists’ reception on Friday, September 11.
The 6th Bridge, which is actually a viaduct if you want to be literal about it, is the longest bridge crossing the LA River, and connects Boyle Heights to Downtown Los Angeles, specifically to the Arts District. The 6th Street Viaduct was built in 1932 and now, despite its eligibility for inclusion in the National Historic Register, is scheduled for demolition beginning in the few months because of structural defects caused by a type of cement-eating disease known as alkali-silica reaction; these defects cannot be repaired and make it likely that the bridge will collapse in an earthquake. And since we live in earthquake country, sadly the bridge must go.
In 2012, the City of Los Angeles opened a competition for engineering firms to design a new bridge. HNTB brought in Michael Maltzan, the architect behind One Santa Fe, who came up with the winning design featuring six arches, plus staircases and bicycle ramps that allow pedestrians and cyclists moving throughout the bridge to catch views of the city’s skyline to the west and explore the river below.
To commemorated the 6th Bridge/Viaduct, curators Dale Youngman–a longtime DTLA art maven–and Tanner Blackman–who as a planner for the Code Studies Section of the City of LA’s Department of City Planning drafted the city’s Mural Ordinance–drew on artists known for their links to the Downtown.
Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, whose district encompasses the 6th Street Bridge, said:
It is important that we memorialize the beauty and history of this iconic bridge.This exhibit allows us to recognize the history and importance of the 6th Street Bridge to the residents of Boyle Heights, the Arts District and all of L.A. While we are sad to see this iconic structure go, we look forward to the design and function of the new Sixth Street Viaduct, which promises to create its own substantial legacy.
The 6th Street Bridge is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic structures which has appeared in over two dozen films ranging from Grease to Terminator 2, over twice as many music videos, and almost every television show using LA as a backdrop. The bridge spans not only decades, but several streets, freeways and train tracks. It will be missed, but always remembered. As Tanner Blackman said:
We hope that the Ode to the Bridge show offers a raucous dirge and a fitting send off for this beloved icon of the City of L.A. Through paintings, photos, video installations, and more, the exhibition presents artists’ reflections on the 83-year-old bridge and its place in our shared experience of Downtown and Boyle Heights.
Exhibit co-curator Dale Youngman added:
I am thrilled at the number of submissions we received, as it shows just how much it also means to the artists living in the shadow of the bridge.
Art Share L.A., which over the last two years has hosted two dozen shows supporting over 75 Los Angeles artists, will host a panel discussion celebrating the 6th Street Bridge’s history while inviting those working on the replacement viaduct to reflect on the new structure’s potential impact on these important, historic communities. Panelists include Tim Williams, Managing Principal, Michael Maltzan Architecture; Victor J. Martinez, Vice President, HNTB; Glenn Kaino, conceptual artist designing art installations; and others.
The two-weekend exhibit’s events runs as follows:
Preview: Wednesday, September 9 – Saturday, September 12, 1:00-6:00pm
Opening Reception: Friday, September 11, 7:00-10:00pm
Panel Discussion: Wednesday, September 16, 7:00-9:00pm
Closing Reception: Saturday, September 19, 7:00-10:00pm
Regular gallery hours for “Ode the the 6th Bridge” at Art Share LA are Wednesday through Sunday, 1pm to 6pm, September 9 through 19.
A complete list of artists, at press time, follows the images.
Top image: Tom Lamb Aerial Photograph
David Palmer Studios
Tod George Lychkoff
Diane Pirie Cockerill
Complete list of “Ode to the 6th Bridge” as of press time:
Alex Schaefer, Andre Miripolsky, Carol Cirilo Stanley, Carol Garland, Daniel Bernstein, David Palmer, Diane Behrens, Diane Cockerill, Dwora Freid, Fernando Galvez, Francisco Palomares, Fred Hoerr, Harry Nickelson, Jean Christophe Dick, Jerico Woggon, Jim Stern, Kessia, Kevin Break, Lisa Talbot, Margery Epstein, Mark Indig, Maureen Haldeman, Michael Wisnieux, Michelle Robinson, Osceola Retetof, Patrick Haemmerlein, Qathryn Brehm, Richard Willson, Richie Reiner, Rick Mendoza, Rick Robinson, Roderick Smith, Sean Sepehr, Suzi Moon, Svetlana Penrose, Teale Hathaway, Ted Meyer, Teresa Flowers, Toby Corbett, Tod Lychkoff, Tom Garner, Tom Lamb