Monday, October 24, 2016

Do you fear or welcome Lincoln Heights’ “Coming Soon” sign?


Photo by @thekevingreene

LINCOLN HEIGHTS — The appearance of a “Coming Soon” sign can either get your hopes up – “Finally, a Trader Joe’s!” – or send you into a tailspin – “Oh, no,  more new homes on block.” Now, some Lincoln Heights residents might be experiencing the same mixed emotions after an illuminated “Coming Soon” sign was installed on top of an empty hill rising above the neighborhood.

“Development on the way?” asked Timothy Wager, who noticed the sign a couple of days ago high on the hill off of Thomas Street. Nope. In this case, the “Opening Soon” sign with its cursive script is about an art project, not a real estate project.

The solar-powered, LED-backlit “Coming Soon” billboard is the work of two artists collectively known as Earl Gravy, whose sign is part of a temporary art project called The Arroyo Seco Garden Golf Classic. Curated by Katie Bode, the temporary exhibit includes eighteen artworks spread across eight sites “spanning the rough geographic region of the lower Arroyo Seco watershed,” according to information provided by Earl Gravy.

The “Coming Soon” sign was placed near “Flat Top Hill,” a chunk of undeveloped space laced with trails between Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights. A large part of the hill was purchased last year to be preserved as open space and parkland.

What’s “Coming Soon” about? Here’s an explanation from the artists:

Both celebratory and foreboding, the ambiguity of this phrase accommodates contrasting reactions; “Coming Soon” is spacious enough to harbor both desire and fear about the future of this land. “Coming Soon” can anticipate the potentiality of a shared recreational space. Conversely, “Coming Soon” can foreshadow the threat of urban development, or more broadly, the internalized fear of an external unknown. It preempts the influx of artists descending on the hill during the exhibition, and implicates its makers in the process.

The artists recommend against trekking up the hill to view the sign. Instead, they suggest viewing it from Avenue 28 and surrounding streets


Photo by @thekevingreene


Photo by Timothy Wager

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  1. Uggh this long worded art speak sickens me to my stomach, why dont they just say “we are fucking with you”?
    Just because you read the “Artist Way” and read Art News doesn’t give you the right to fuck with people in a neighborhood ripe with fears of gentrification. Using a subject that is an easy target and ambiguous in it’s interpretation means the artist can claim solidarity with
    the neighborhood.even if they originally didn’tintend too.

  2. It’s a cool sign, and obviously it should go without saying artists have the right to freedom of expression. Are the residents of this neighborhood really so fragile and terrified of gentrification that this innocuous sign is scaring them? Please.

  3. Please neighborino. You’re frightened by “ugly kids” in a mural, you big WUSS.

  4. The image of a labor organize and “ugly kids” got neighborino feeling all “unwelcome” in a previous post. “Please” indeed.

    • First of all, I didn’t say those crappy amateurish murals with their drawings of hideous children were frightening, I said they were ugly and bad art. Which is true. Second off, you haven’t been around this blog enough, you don’t get the “unwelcome” reference. It refers to the Northeast Los Angeles Alliance’s complaints that new coffee shops in Highland Park aren”t “culturally welcoming” – meaning they cater to clientelle who have a few extra bucks to spare for good coffee instead of for destitute poor people who have never heard of a latte. Some of us on the correct side of the gentrification debate (that is is a good thing) sometimes ironically use the “culturally unwelcoming” phrase as a joke.

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