Tyler Green
Art-focused Journalism by Tyler Green

Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

‘Urban Light’ burns old school — for now

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It’s been something of a newsy month for everyone’s favorite illuminated public artwork, Chris Burden’s Urban Light. The Burden, which is part of LACMA’s collection, is sited in between the museum’s main-ish entrance and Wilshire Boulevard. Anyone with the Friday blahs is encouraged to check out Urban Light’s Flickr stream, which is mighty impressive. [Image at left: Flickr user Kevin Stanchfield.]

First, earlier this month the state of California beat the rest of America to the punch by phasing out standard 100-watt incandescent light bulbs beginning on Jan. 1. (The California and federal laws are a little more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.) In short order, California will ban the sale of other standard incandescents too. Urban Light uses three kinds of incandescent light bulbs, all of which are greater than 100 watts (325, 205 and 105 watts). So what to do?

A LACMA spokesperson told me that for now the museum can continue to purchase standard incandescents through commercial suppliers outside California. When the no-standard-incandescents law is fully adopted, it could force LACMA to find international suppliers — at likely increased expense.

LACMA is also working to obtain funding to retrofit Urban Light and to switch the bulbs to LED or QL induction lamps, which are more efficient and less costly to operate and maintain. The museum estimates that retrofitting Urban Light would cost $200,000, but expects it that lower operating costs would mean that LACMA would reach an equivalent cost savings over about 30 months. [Image at right: Flickr user Chris Connolly.]

The museum plans to work with Burden to make sure that the color quality and lumens “meet his approval and the original specs of the piece,” the spokesperson said.

Look for another Urban Light post later today!

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  1. […] Urban Light could be in for some high-wattage changes. « ‘Urban Light’ burns old school — for now Blog Home Collections […]

  2. I say leave the incandescents, LEDs or QLs won’t create the same quality of light. Also, the lights are actually solar-powered, which you’d think would give them some kind of pass on state regulations.

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