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How Many Billboards? in LA

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Considering what a blight billboards can be on the urban landscape--São Paulo banned them in 2007, as have states like Maine--especially in car-centric spot like Los Angeles, it's little surprise that the LA-based MAK Center for Art and Architecture decided it was time for a rethink. They wrangled 30-day billboard donations from five different companies and commissioned 21 artists to take over what is perhaps one of the mose exclusively commercial sites of public architecture we've got. I had a chat with MAK Center director and co-curator of How Many Billboards? Kimberli Meyer about the show, which is on now all over Los Angeles. Be sure to check out the slideshow to see pictures of various billboards in the show.
 

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  Photographer James Welling's billboard, at La Brea Avenue south of the 10, suggests a fractured grid, canted city streets, and a fraying urban fabric. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.
    Photographer James Welling's billboard, at La Brea Avenue south of the 10, suggests a fractured grid, canted city streets, and a fraying urban fabric. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.
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  Text and towers dominate Kira Lynn Harris's billboard at La Cienega and Cadillac Avenue. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Text and towers dominate Kira Lynn Harris's billboard at La Cienega and Cadillac Avenue. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Jennifer Bornstein's billboard at Sunset and Martell suggests ominous things. For billboards themselves, for the film industry? Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Jennifer Bornstein's billboard at Sunset and Martell suggests ominous things. For billboards themselves, for the film industry? Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  The image on Renée Green's billboard is from her 2009 film, Endless Dreams and Water Between . You can see it at the corner of La Brea and Lexington.
    The image on Renée Green's billboard is from her 2009 film, Endless Dreams and Water Between . You can see it at the corner of La Brea and Lexington.
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  Argentinian artist David Lamelas casts himself as a rock star, encouraging others to "Think of Good" on his billboard at Pico and Fairfax. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.
    Argentinian artist David Lamelas casts himself as a rock star, encouraging others to "Think of Good" on his billboard at Pico and Fairfax. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.
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  Artist Kori Newkirk stars in his own work here, a startling image that hovers high over Wilshire, near Hoover Street. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Artist Kori Newkirk stars in his own work here, a startling image that hovers high over Wilshire, near Hoover Street. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Yvonne Rainer's work here is type-focused, and seeming mute and blind. How one is sure of looking good while not being able to see is unclear. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Yvonne Rainer's work here is type-focused, and seeming mute and blind. How one is sure of looking good while not being able to see is unclear. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Daniel Joseph Martinez is an art professor at UC Irvine and his billboard marries photography with text. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Daniel Joseph Martinez is an art professor at UC Irvine and his billboard marries photography with text. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  John Knight's billboard makes a political plea for good, clean water. Gucci and Kirstie Alley look on. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    John Knight's billboard makes a political plea for good, clean water. Gucci and Kirstie Alley look on. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Lauren Woods's simple composition is rendered in Urdu. The text means "As long as the earth and the sky last/Smile like a flower in the garden of the world." Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Lauren Woods's simple composition is rendered in Urdu. The text means "As long as the earth and the sky last/Smile like a flower in the garden of the world." Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Artist Kenneth Anger's billboard suggests something that billboards rarely do. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
    Artist Kenneth Anger's billboard suggests something that billboards rarely do. Photo by Gerard Smulevich.
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  Artist Brandon Lattu used his billboard to actually make a sales pitch, albeit one in the form of a classified ad. Find it at Fairfax, south of Pico.
    Artist Brandon Lattu used his billboard to actually make a sales pitch, albeit one in the form of a classified ad. Find it at Fairfax, south of Pico.
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  Conceptual art pioneer Michael Asher's billboard was tagged by graffiti artists and had to be moved. You can see it now at Sunset Boulevard, east of Micheltorena. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.
    Conceptual art pioneer Michael Asher's billboard was tagged by graffiti artists and had to be moved. You can see it now at Sunset Boulevard, east of Micheltorena. Photo by Patricia Parinejad.

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