Personal Archeology

Submitted by KATHY TASLITZ

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Client: Los Angeles County Arts Commission/Manhattan Beach Public Library

Location: Manhattan Beach, CA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $281,000

Overview

One of two of my public scupltures installed at the Manhattan Beach Public Library in Manhattan Beach, CA, Personal Archeology is a 22′ cast aluminum sculpture suspended from a library wall with ceiling attachments. The individual is part of a collective whole. Seven pod heads on a branch with thoughts and words concealed, swirling through textured and undulating kelp leaves, speak of discovery and learning. The site’s local history, natural environment and community are encompassed in their discussion.

Goals

Inspired by universal themes, my work is relevant to the community milieu. My process includes a thorough discovery phase, key to the meaningful development of both narrative and form. Prior to designing this wall relief sculpture, I conducted research on the City of Manhattan Beach, exploring the library home, the Manhattan Beach Strand, interviewing stakeholders, local residents and visitors, and meeting with the town's historian. The City of Manhattan Beach, with its beautiful ocean and beach landscapes, provides a place for peaceful contemplation. This community is also a place of warmth and interaction. The setting, much like the library itself, provides an opportunity for people to both connect and disconnect. I could see that the new state-of-the-art public library was inspired by the California light and space artists of the mid-century - a beautiful partnership with my aesthetic. The transparency of the library is a perfect backdrop for the positive and negative space I play with in my sculptures, which is why I made the undulating kelp leaves using an open texture.

Process

As the artist and project manager, I thrived worked closely with key personnel and stakeholders including Los Angeles County representatives, local public officials and library staff. Ongoing communication was critical to understanding the culture of the library and its surrounding community, establishing clear goals, managing expectations, and ensuring that the installation was well integrated into the space. To execute my vision, I coordinated with teams of experts including engineers, fabricators, electricians, lighting specialists, conservators, movers, foundries and others.

Additional Information

I was given a budget and a timeline for project installation and delivered on both.