Opening Saturday, July 16, 2015

On Saturday, July 16 to August 14, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural affairs will launch an inaugural, citywide public art biennial titled CURRENT: LA Water, which will feature 15 multidisciplinary public art installations in public spaces, including sites along the Los Angeles River, as well as outdoor public programs.

This temporary initiative aims to establish a new paradigm for public art in Los Angeles and will call attention to water conservation and serve as a cultural experience for visitors.

LA River

Current: LA Water is part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge competition in which Los Angeles was selected out of more than 230 cities.

Each city applied for funding of up to $1 million and technical support to mount a major temporary public art project designed to catalyze local economic development and address a pressing civic issue.


CURRENT:LA Water kicks off with a combination of public art and family-friendly programming throughout the city along the Los Angeles River and LA’s other waterways. All projects will be installed in open public spaces, and all events are free to attend from July 16 through August 14, 2016.

CURRENT:LA Water, will establish the first Public Art Biennial for the City of Los Angeles.

“We created the Public Art Challenge to support innovative temporary public art projects that enhance the vibrancy of cities,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Department of Cultural Affairs are demonstrating how public art can strengthen neighborhoods, inspire residents, and fuel local economies with the work of talented artists through CURRENT:LA Water.”

The artists and artist teams selected to participate in this inaugural biennial from among 130 considered include: Refik Anadol + Peggy Weil (team); Edgar Arceneaux; Josh Callaghan + Daveed Kapoor (team); Mel Chin; Chris Kallmyer; Candice Lin; Lucky Dragons (Luke Fischbeck + Sarah Rara); Teresa Margolles; Kori Newkirk; Michael Parker; Gala Porras-Kim; Rirkrit Tiravanija; and Kerry Tribe

Initial curatorial oversight and selection of the artists were provided by artist and curatorial advisor Marc Pally and a committee of esteemed LA-based curators with experience in issue-based public art and biennial presentations. Ongoing curatorial support is provided by the following curators: Ruth Estévez (REDCAT, Roy and Edna Disney / CalArts Theater), Rita Gonzalez (LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Karen Moss (Otis College of Art and Design and USC Roski School of Fine Arts and Design), and Irene Tsatsos (Armory Center for the Arts).

The CURRENT:LA Water Public Art Biennial 2016 Artists’ Projects include:

Refik Anadol and Peggy Weil

UnderLA: 1st Street Bridge – East 1st Street between Santa Fe Avenue and Mission Road, Downtown LA, 9003 – 14th Council District

UnderLA uses scientific data generated from LA’s aquifers—layers of porous rock capable of holding and transmitting water—to create a site-specific projection for the 1st Street Bridge. (#underlawater /

Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17, and August 13 and 14, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Refik Anadol and Peggy Weil

UnderLA: Origin of the LA River –6883 Owensmouth Avenue, Canoga Park, 91303 – 3rd Council District

UnderLA uses scientific data generated from LA’s aquifers—a layer of porous rock capable of holding and transmitting water—to create a site-specific projection for the Origin of the LA River. (#underlawater /

Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31, from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Edgar Arceneaux

The CENTER of the EARTH – Cheviot Hills Recreation Center, 2657 Motor Avenue, West LA, 90064 – 5th Council District

Edgar Arceneaux appropriates minimal forms often seen in drinking fountains found in public spaces to create a different fountain of sorts. The CENTER of the EARTH draws parallels between the use of altars and water in religious and everyday contexts. As an extension, Arceneaux’s work considers the below-ground transit of water and the above-ground ideologies of the people that regulate it.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Artist Q&A on Saturday, July 16, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Josh Callaghan and Daveed Kapoor

Mast – South Los Angeles Wetlands Park, 5413 South Avalon Boulevard, South Los Angeles, 90011 – 9th Council District

Collaborators Josh Callaghan and Daveed Kapoor’s Mothership is a large-scale sculpture comprising a mast, sail, and rigging that rises out of the South LA Wetlands Park’s landscape. The work addresses California’s colonial history and the vestiges of its destructive legacy; in doing so, Mothership occupies a position as both a cultural marker and an architectural feature that provides shade for park visitors.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Mel Chin

The TIE that BINDS: the MIRROR of the FUTURE – The Bowtie, 2780 West Casitas Avenue, Glassell Park, 90039 – 1st Council District

Mel Chin reimagines the 18.6 acres that make up the Bowtie—an area adjacent to the LA River, near where the 5 and 2 freeways meet—with a new landscape of native, drought-tolerant plants. Visitors can take home a newly mapped “parcel” and plant it in their yards or community gardens.

Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 a.m. to Sunset (gates close at 9:00 p.m.).

See Event Calendar for details and visit for related programs and events.

Chris Kallmyer

New Weather Station – Norman O. Houston Park, 4918 South La Brea Avenue, Baldwin Hills, 90008 – 8th Council District

The Los Angeles Department of Weather Modification is a performing group that collaborates with Southern California communities to address weather, water, and the evolution of the arid city. During CURRENT:LA, the group is headquartered at New Weather Station, a 20-foot open-air geodesic dome hosting a series of events featuring LA-based artists, designers, historians, urbanists, chefs, and thinkers exploring the intersection of water and weather modification.

July 31 to August 14, 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Weekend events on July 31, and August 11, 13, and 14.

Candice Lin

A Hard White Body – Westside Neighborhood Park, 2999 Clyde Avenue, West Adams, 90016 – 10th Council District

Candice Lin’s sculpture appropriates water filtration and microbe growth to consider how the power of small beings disrupts social hierarchies. By using bacteria found in kombucha as an active collaborator, the sculpture highlights the presence of bacteria in our environment as well as our continued vulnerability and dependence on it in order to live.

Daily from 3:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Artist event on Thursday, August 11.

Lucky Dragons

Δ (Delta) – Bee Canyon Park, 17307 Sesnon Boulevard, Granada Hills, 91344 – 12th Council District

Mimicking the unstable nature of water, Lucky Dragons creates a series of unique performances at Bee Canyon Park in which characters uncover a new set of instructions and resources each weekday afternoon to engage visitors and respond to LA’s water infrastructure.

Monday through Friday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Lucky Dragons

The Spreading Ground – Hansen Dam, 12272 Osborne Street, Pacoima, 91342 – 7th Council District

The Spreading Ground is a month-long series of workshops designed for public participation?with the understanding that the denizens of LA are dynamically bound together by water. These workshops culminate in a musical score derived and performed by Lucky Dragons and The Spreading Ground participants.

Saturday, July 23 and 30 evening open rehearsals. Saturday, August 6 and 13 evening performances.

Teresa Margolles

La Sombra (The Shade) – Echo Park Lake, 1698 Park Avenue, Echo Park, 90026 – 13th Council District

With the assistance of volunteers from all over the city, Teresa Margolles washed over 100 public spaces where lives were taken over the course of the past year in LA. Collecting and using the water from each cleaning, Margolles erects a memorial to the victims of that violence. The work also offers an area of respite for visitors to rest, meditate, and reflect at Echo Park.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Kori Newkirk

Prime – South Weddington Park, 10798 Bluffside Drive, Studio City, 91604 – 2nd Council District

Working with an American vernacular used in fountains and parks, Kori Newkirk presents a sculpture of horses installed in a trench. The work responds to the drought via exaggerating the concavity of fountains and addresses cultural boundaries present in parks and public places.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Artist’s Talk on Monday, July 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Michael Parker

The Ides – Point Fermin Park, 739 West Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro, 90731 – 15th Council District

Michael Parker builds an arch that frames the ocean views of the San Pedro bluff to showcase the drama of Point Fermin, a site engulfed by water, sun, and the Port of LA. The arch, a collaboration with peers and developed through a dialogue between digital and analog processes, reflects the intersection of human engineering as seen in the Port of LA and the natural setting of Point Fermin.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Point Fermin Lighthouse Tours Tuesday through Sunday at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00 p.m.

Gala Porras-Kim

Supplement to Ballona Discovery Park Informative Signs – Del Rey Lagoon Park, 6840 Esplanade Street, Playa Del Rey, 90293 – 11th Council District

Gala Porras-Kim creates signage that tells the story of the Tongva burial ground that is located at the Del Rey Lagoon Park. The work draws attention to the beginnings of the wetlands and the controversial handling of the burial ground, giving viewers an opportunity to learn about a history that has been removed.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Rirkrit Tiravanija

Untitled 2016 (LA Water, Water Pavilion) – Sepulveda Basin, 6300 Lake Balboa Hiking Trail, Encino, 91411 – 6th Council District

An intimate timber-frame structure houses weekly events centered on public interaction with the LA River, its users, and the surrounding urban fabric. In this project, Tiravanija employs architecture to create a juncture between people and place, creating situations that bring us closer to the river.

Daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Special weekend events on July 16, 17, 24, and 25 and August 6.

Kerry Tribe

Exquisite Corpse – Sunnynook River Park, LA River Bike Path, Atwater Village, 90039 – 4th Council District

Exquisite Corpse is an open-air nightly screening of a 51-minute film that traces the 51-mile Los Angeles River from its origins in the San Fernando Valley to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, Tribe’s camera captures its varied landscapes, neighborhoods, creatures, and communities through a string of meditative encounters that collectively describe the river at this juncture in its history.

Daily at 8:30 p.m. Pre-screening talks with the Theodore Payne Foundation every Friday at 7:00 p.m.

CURRENT:LA Water Public Programming

The following CURRENT:LA Water public program providers were selected by the CURRENT:LA curatorial team from submissions received in response to a Request for Qualifications:

  • Barcid Foundation Native Current Multimedia Workshop
  • Bob Dornberger, Misa Lund, Emily Han, Pascal Baduar, and Erica Wohldmann
  • Clockshop
  • Community Services Unlimited
  • Devon Tsuno
  • Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR)
  • Los Angeles Urban Rangers
  • Self Help Graphics and Art
  • Teatro Jornalero Sin Fronteras
  • UCLA ArtSci
  • Women’s Center for Creative Work

Selected presentations from the public programming partners will accompany the temporary art works as presented by the CURRENT:LA artists. Events include: pre-screening conversations; guided wetland and nature tours; printmaking workshops; audio, visual, and cooking performances; foraging adventures; and more. All events take place at CURRENT:LA Water sites and will be free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Photos provided by Current: LA Press Rep