Will Silver Lake’s “Bates Motel” go from eyesore to artwork?

The Sunset Pacific Motel

The Sunset Pacific Motel

SILVER LAKE — After being boarded up for about two decades, the owners of the Sunset Pacific Motel – aka Bates Motel – plan to demolish the Sunset Boulevard structure to construct apartments, part of a trio of controversial apartment building. But before the bulldozers arrive, a French artist has proposed turning the Sunset Pacific into a temporary art installation called Projection.

What does Vincent Lamouroux have in mind?  A letter from the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council, which has endorsed the project, to Mayor Eric Garcetti describes the “site specific and ephemeral art installation” this way:

This abandoned environment will be transfigured with a blanket of ecologically safe, white powder covering the entire building and its close surroundings.

Workshops and conferences related to Projection would be held at locations near the Sunset Pacific. “This will be an important farewell to its past as it [the Sunset Pacific] transitions to its future,” according to the letter written on behalf of the neighborhood council by Co-Chair Amy Clarke.

It’s not clear what this will look like but Lamouroux used a similar concept in a Paris park, where several large clumps of trees were turned snow white during a temporary art show.  Perhaps this is like flocking a Christmas tree?

Whether or not Lamouroux can go ahead with flocking the Sunset Pacific depends on property owner and developer Frost/Chaddock.  The developer, through a representative, said its been working with  Lamouroux for over a year on his idea but he still needs to get proper permits and community backing.

“He sees this project as an exciting transformation for this long dilapidated building, and we are excited to be part of that as the site transitions to our proposed project,” the company said in a statement.  “As we have discussed with the artist, we are supportive assuming he and his team obtain all proper permitting, and the community continues to support the project.”


  1. “This abandoned environment will be transfigured with a blanket of ecologically safe, white powder covering the entire building and its close surroundings.”

    That building is no stranger to white powder. [rim shot]

  2. Really?! I’m so happy to know that instead of building housing here we’re just flocking the existing rat- and cockroach-infested eyesore with white powder. What a perfect metaphor for Silver Lake in 2014.

    • Actually the article clearly states that the project will be temporary – until the hotel is torn down to make way for the Frost-Chaddock development.

      • Yes, I know. Just tired of waiting for this hideous building to come down. I know that the art installation is temporary though. Just frustrated.

        • It’s perplexing and sad what qualifies as “art” in Los Angeles today. Especially in Silver Lake. It seems as though any person with a dysfunctional presentation gets away with calling himself an artist. I respect art too much to elevate this man’s idea to the category of “art”. I’m not sure it even qualifies as “craft”. There are few artists in the world. There are millions calling themselves artists. Many of these fake artists reside within a mile of Bates and Sunset.

  3. Environmentally friendly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe breathe for extended periods. What happens when the Santa Anas kick up & blow the dry powder into nearby homes?

    How long will it be before it’s torn down? We’ve been waiting 20 years for that!

    • Never mind nearby homes. There’s a preschool across the street. Let’s cover the kids in white powder. Art.

      • My previous comment was snide and dumb. I’d like to see that building turned into something useful. In the meantime, it might be nice to see it all covered in white. I looked at the pictures of trees this artist did in Paris, and they’re pretty. As long as no one tries to landmark the damn temporary installation so the developer can’t build there (I don’t put it past antis), let’s see what it looks like. The powder probably isn’t any worse for the kids next door than the cat excrement currently pouring out of the place.

  4. Just tear it down already…even over priced apartments would be better than that run down eyesore.

    • Wait… he proposes to make these buildings pure white on the eastside?

      Can we please start a betting pool as to how many minutes after it becomes a blank white canvas, it becomes a canvas for street artists (aka Taggers)

      I’d like to start the over under at 30 minutes

  5. Susannah Tantemsapya

    I’m working closely with artist Vincent Lamouroux on this public art installation (produced by DTLA gallery Please Do Not Enter). The “white powder” is actually a limewash, more commonly referred to as “whitewash.” This is an adhesive mixture of lime powder, flour, sugar and water. It is non-toxic, non-permanent and easy to remove – free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), biocides and fungicides, and allows the material being painted to breathe. Limewashing is a method commonly used by tree farmers and dairy farmers. It has been used for centuries: from the white houses of Greece to earth tones in Santa Fe to the lighthouses on the East Coast. Lime is a common ingredient in cosmetics and also used to treat drinking water.

    I’m discussing this project at the following Silver Lake Neighborhood Council meetings next week. I’m happy to meet anyone in-person that has questions and/or concerns – please join us:
    Mon, Oct 20, 7-9pm: Arts & Culture Committee at The Living Room – 3531 Sunset Blvd.
    Tues, Oct 21, 7-9pm: Green Committee at Multi-Purpose Room, The Salvation Army Alegria-Zahn – 2737 W. Sunset Blvd.

  6. I looked at the photos and theirs one were it was in a park. Anything is better then how it looks now.

  7. I’m sorry but if the white powder is a lime wash that contains FLOUR then it is indeed toxic as it contains gluten which many many people in the community have sensitivities to.

    • guy from 20 years ago

      Oh please. Next you are going to tell me people are allergic to peanuts too.

    • Wow could you be a bigger Silver Lake stereotype? Anyhow nobody is asking those with “sensitivities” to ingest the stuff, so unless folks are going to start licking the Bates Motel, I don’t see a problem.

  8. Eye-candy…I have a sweet-toothe. Sorry can’t agree with the haters.

  9. It looks cool. why not having sth fun and fresh sometimes? better than the previous shape anyway

  10. This actually sounds like a pretty cool idea, that motel has been an eyesore for so long. Will be interesting to see how it’s going to look, especially after checking out the Paris installation pics.

  11. I used to work at Cobalt across the street. There were two bullet holes by the host stand that came from that hotel.

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