With a movement underway by the municipal government and community groups, including Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR), to reclaim L.A.’s cement-bottom river, the Skirball Cultural Center has put together a most timely, fascinating exhibit.
“L.A. River Reborn” is a collection of photographs by internationally renowned contemporary artists Lane Barden, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Anthony Hernandez, John Humble, and filmmakers Dana Plays and Gary Schwartz, depicting the various faces of the mostly invisible Los Angeles River.
In grand panoramic overviews and close-ups, the exhibition’s evocative images capture the unexpected beauty of the River as well as its cultural and environmental significance. The video by Plays and Schwartz is a montage of scenes from the more than twenty Hollywood films shot on the River’s desolate terrain, illustrating its role in popular culture.
Rich with natural vegetation and wildlife, the Los Angeles River was a magnet for Spanish missionaries. However, flooding became a great problem during winter storms making the River very dangerous. Therefore, in 1938, a federal public works project encased most of the River in a concrete control channel, which now extends 51 miles from the San Fernando Valley through the heart of Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean.
L.A. River Reborn runs through September 3, Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., 310.440-4500.
If you are interested in learning more about this historic River, check out the Los Angeles River Bus Trip on Saturday, June 24 from 9:45am-4:15pm. The cost is $60 and advance registration is required. For more information, call 310.440.4651.