Airplane Tree

airplane sculpture

So last weekend I went over to the MOCA Grand. It’s on Bunker Hill, though the dramatically redeveloped area would seem pretty foreign to Bandini’s version of the place. After trekking up to the museum’s entrance, one of the first things that really caught my eye was the massive sculpture of tangled up airplane pieces outside. Its name is even more massive: Chas’ Stainless Steel, Mark Thompson’s Airplane Parts, About 1,000 Pounds of Stainless Steel Wire, and Gagosian’s Beverly Hills Space at MOCA.

American sculptor Nancy Rubins, who has many large-scale outdoor sculptures on permanent display around the world, created the piece. The sculpture is rooted to a single column in the ground as its mass of airplane parts branch out and seem to defy gravity. The piece, originally installed in 2001, is about 25 feet high and 65 feet across. You can walk right up underneath it as tons of steel tower over you. To me, this piece feels like some sort of urban tree. Its jumbled arrangement seems wild, dynamic, and organic, while its distinctly industrial markings shows that this was a creation fashioned not from nature but from people.

A city like Los Angeles is constantly growing, changing, living, and breathing. The very area MOCA stands on would be unrecognizable if one were to travel back a few decades in time. L.A. is this wild, haphazard, urban jungle, and this airplane tree feels like it grew right out of that environment. The sculpture, like the city it stands in, is chaotic, disorganized, and seems like it has survived against all odds of falling apart. Anything goes in Los Angeles, what with the city constantly evolving and reinventing itself over the years, so the sculpture fits right in. It’s really quite a wonder to behold.

One Comment

  1. Elizabeth Boron-Trotter

    I recently saw this not too long ago myself. It really is an interesting piece. I also enjoyed reading your take on it. I feel as if even though we are not physically walking around in the same time and world as Bandini, the placement of this modern art gives us an opportunity to see the beauty in the old as well as the new.

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