The Beverly Center, a 900,000-square-foot mall in Los Angeles, California, has recently installed two large-scale art installations within the iconic street-facing escalators along Beverly Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard. They are the latest work of Pae White, a local artist who grew up near the Beverly Center, and were organized by independent curator Jenelle Porter. “In my opinion,” said Porter, “[White] is the only artist who could make such incredibly beautiful and keenly intelligent works for Beverly Center; artworks that will contribute to the already rich cultural landscape of this city.”
The installation facing Beverly Boulevard, Day for Night for Day, is a light sculpture comprised of over 900 uniquely-shaped pieces of hand-shaped neon. Each element within the five-story piece is color-keyed to a perceptual temperature (warmth) in the daylight spectrum, resulting in a constellation of vibrant hues akin to the many characters of the Los Angeles sunset. The artist referred to the piece as both “a kind of magic carpet” and an immersive Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp visitors interact with prior to and following their shopping experience. The title of the installation is a nod to the city’s movie history, particularly the cinematic technique of simulating nighttime during the day.
The La Cienega-facing installation, Moonsets for a Sunrise, is made up of a mostly dark-hued palette to represent nighttime and the four types of moons—the harvest moon, strawberry moon, blue moon, and snow moon. Made up of 73,635 pieces of tile glazed in over 100 colors, White ensured that no color combination module repeats anywhere within the entire expanse. The many shades on display exemplify the myriad hues of moonlight, allowing for differing interpretations of the piece from up-close as well as from passersby on the street.
White was inspired to create the two site-specific pieces after observing the unique qualities of the glass-enclosed escalators and the constant movement they provide between the parking lots and the main interior spaces. “In their simultaneous explorations of the phenomenological effects of light,” said White, “both art installations generate different experiences during the day and the night. The neon of Day for Night for Day offers one kind of experience during daylight hours and another kind at night when its illumination is most prominent. The same applies to Moonsets for a Sunrise, though conversely: the ‘moonlight’ colors are most glorious in the morning sun.”