Walk in any direction in Echo Park and you are likely to soon come upon a couch. All kinds of couches, tossed out on the curb and sidewalk. Puffy vinyl corner groups. Sofa sleepers. Love seats scrawled with graffiti. And the occasional orphaned ottoman. Along with taco trucks and hipsters, the abandoned couch is one of the symbols of Echo Park. (In fact, it was once suggested The Eastsider be named “Bulky Item Pick-Up,” the city service that hauls away sofas and other “bulky items.”). Now, the neighborhood’s most popular form of street furniture is being celebrated in a photo exhibit: “The Couches of Echo Park.”
The show, which opens today at Fix Coffee, features 10 pairs of photos taken by Echo Park resident Angela Wood, who started taking photos of the abandoned furniture – or “stylish trash, as she refers to them – in 2011. “I started shooting them, initially just ‘collecting’ them, because they come and go,” said Wood. “I also had a the idea of doing a spoof poster on ‘The Doors of Dublin,’ a kind of travelogue of Echo Park.”
Many residents view abandoned sofas as upholstered blight and are quick to call the city sanitation department at the sight of newly abandoned sofa. But Wood sees them differently.
“I see them as part of a beautiful chaotic landscape in Los Angeles, not as something disparaging – just a part of our neighborhood.”
An opening reception for The Couches of Echo Park will be held tonight, Saturday, Dec. 1 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Fix Coffee, 2100 Echo Park Avenue.