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A bench in Los Angeles featuring the photography of Dulce Pinzón (all photographs by the author for Hyperallergic)

LOS ANGELES — The Do ArT Foundation of L.A. teamed up with Montreal’s Mouvement Art Public (Make Art Public) this summer to … do make art public. By recuperating unsold advertising space on bus benches around downtown L.A., the organizations brought the work of two photographers to the streets. Or, in the case of artist Jon Rafman, back to the streets. In his 9-Eyes series, Rafman finds and exhibits compelling images from Google Street View, while Mexican artist Dulce Pinzón’s Real Stories of Superheroes gives unsung heroes their due by turning them into caped crusaders.

Both photographers push the medium to explore the extraordinary in the otherwise unnoticed, and that is why their work is so fitting for this project. Can an artist capture the beauty of an elk running down a deserted highway without being present? Is the superhuman strength of a single mother only visible through the imagination of another? And if a non-commercial image is pasted onto a bus bench and no one notices, is it art or just a backrest?

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Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Dulce Pinzón

Dulce Pinzón

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Jon Rafman

Dulce Pinzón

Dulce Pinzón

Dulce Pinzón and Jon Rafman’s photography has been on view in benches owned by Martin Outdoor Media throughout Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles since July 5.

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Michael Gabel

Michael Gabel is a photographer and writer based in Los Angeles. When not covering or contributing to the visual art scene, you'll find him high on a mountain...

2 replies on “At Los Angeles Bus Stops, a Seat for Public Art”

  1. This is so inspirational! It would be nice to replace/take over ads with beautiful and wonderful images for people to admire- not just in galleries. Besides me (and hopefully other people, too) supporting this both talented photographers, and I’m pretty sure other people may have the same question too, but ummm, is there a way to contribute and have our own beautiful and wonderful photography work displayed on city bus benches as well???

    It would be nice to hear a response from you guys:)

    keep up this amazing work, Jon Rafman and Dulce Pinzón.

Comments are closed.