SILVER LAKE –– The long-vacant Sunset Pacific Motel — aka Bates Motel – went from eyesore to conceputal art project this week after being coated with a whitewash. Not only was the exterior of the motel coated with limewash, so was the property’s chainlink fence and barbed wire as well as neighboring palm trees and a billboard. “It’s art,” one of the workers said today as he tried to explain Projection, as the temporary artwork is known, to a man pushing a shopping cart past the Sunset Boulevard building.
Projection, which is described as a “temporal intervention into an iconic piece of LA’s architectural history and urban lore,” will last only two weeks, with an opening date scheduled for April 26. The project was conceived by Vincent Lamouroux, who used a similar concept in a Paris park, where several large clumps of trees were turned snow white.
What’s the point of Projection? Says the press release:
Just as the Silver Lake neighborhood itself has transformed radically in recent years, an continues to evolve, so to will the artist’s iteration of the motel embody a transformation, surrendering and passage; the white surface of its facade will be a symbolic invitation to project our ideas about both its mythic past and its indeterminate future.
Workers began spraying the limewash on Monday the interior of the courtyard but it was not until this morning that the work began to attract attention. The limewash is described as an “ecologically safe” material that will eventually erode and fade away.
Lamouroux, who was dressed in white pants and shirt as he smoked a cigarette outside the Sunset-Pacific this morning, said he first saw the abandoned motel 14 years ago while driving by. More recently, Lamouroux said he thought about using the property as a way to explore how the urban landscape, in this case Sunset Boulevard, is viewed and used.
“Instead of putting, lets say, a sculpture in the middle of the courtyard, I thought I had to capture and to take the entire space,” Lamouroux said.
The owners of the three-story motel at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Bates Street plan to eventually demolish the structure to make way for one of three large apartment buildings.