The Cypher of Sunset Boulevard

Christine Haroutounian


“I wanted to learn the sign language of L.A. It’s a city where signs are very powerful, where the Hollywood sign came before what we think of as Hollywood," says Naples born, LA based artist and co-founder of The Mountain School of Arts, Piero Golia, of his inspiration behind his most recent creation. Known for his eccentric pieces, such as melting down his Saab, after crashing it into a BMW, into the shape of a unicorn in order to pay off the resulting debt of the crash, (Untitled (Y3AT35SIE1029489), and borrowing one million dollars from a bank for a few hours to photograph the sum twice (Two Million Dollars) , Golia has infiltrated the public sphere with his latest, Luminous Sphere, perhaps less dramatically than expected at first glance. But that doesn't mean it lacks the cheekiness that often defines his work.

The large orb that he created, through LA><ART’s Public Art Initiatives with support from ForYourArt, is now displayed on top of The Standard, Hollywood, and blends very well with the famous hotel's streamlined architecture and Sunset Boulevard's chain of high beaming lights. Its quirkiness however, lies in the fact that it is designed to illuminate when the artist is in Los Angeles and turn off when he is out of town. It is also a form that can be considered as urban legend according to Golia, who said to the New York Times, "Maybe a commuter who drives past it every day will decide that it lights up on sunny days, or on rainy days." Whether as a secret code among friends or an obscure, erratically lit sphere, it will surely get passerbys on Sunset Boulevard rubbernecking art rather than the inescapable gridlock for a change.