City Council Will Choose Designer for West Hollywood Park AIDS Monument

Illustration of Daniel Tobin's proposal for an AIDS memorial for West Hollywood Park
Illustration of Daniel Tobin’s proposal for an AIDS memorial for West Hollywood Park

The West Hollywood City Council will be asked to choose one of two artists to design the AIDS monument planned for West Hollywood Park.

The artists — Daniel Tobin and Susan Narduli — were among four finalists considered by the Foundation for AIDS Monument (FAM), a non-profit organization that is raising $5 million to build and maintain the memorial. It will be installed on a part of the eight-acre park just north of the West Hollywood Library and bordering San Vicente Boulevard.

The FAR choice for the project was Tobin. However several members of the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission pushed back against the selection of Tobin, some suggesting that his concept was too reminiscent of other memorials such as the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. Tobin’s design incorporates panels that represent those who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS.

“This is so referential—this is so reflective of other things” Commissioner Peter Mays said of Tobin’s design. Mays argued instead for Narduli. Commissioner Beverly Denenbert said of Narduli’s design: “I just think it’s so elegant. I just see it as a contemplative space.”

Commission Chair Candice Illoulian-Beroukhim joined Todd Williamson, an arts commission member who also is a member of the FAM board, in supporting Tobin. However the four other members voted to nominate Narduli. Both the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission and FAM recommendations will be presented to the Council.

FAM considered 20 proposals for the project before narrowing the field to four finalists. The four FAM finalists were:

Susan Narduli. Narduli is a Los Angeles architect and artist. Narduli began her career as a sculptor and then studied architecture. She has a BFA in sculpture and received a Masters degree in architecture form UCLA and worked as a project designer with Frank Gehry. In 1991 she opened Narduli Studio. Her awards have included a 2010 Public Art Year in Review award for weaving at California State University, Fresno, and a 2008 American Institute of Architects Award in urban design and planning for the Metlox Public Plazas in Manhattan Beach. Narduli caused a stir among officials at Los Angeles International Airport in 2001 with an art installation that included figures of nude men etched into a granite floor. LAX managers covered the installation until the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission ruled that sketches of Narduli’s work had been approved previously by the city.

Daniel Tobin. Tobin is a graduate of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia with a degree in visual arts.  He  studied design at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and worked with the Sydney Theatre Company and then  co-founded with his brother Matthew Urban Art Projects. Tobin has worked on projects such as Sahl Hasheesh in Egypt and Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai. He also directed the International Art Program for King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and has also designed the university’s iconic Beacon. His most notable Australian projects include Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Commercial Precinct Art Program, Sydney’s Redfern Park and the Queensland State Library’s Black Opium with artist Fiona Foley.

Meeson Pae Yang. Pae Yang lives in Los Angeles and in 2002 received a BFA from UCLA. Yang has done a number of public art projects. They include work at the Phoenix Biomedical University Campus, the Urban Oasis project in Pasadena and theMobile Exhibits project in Long Beach. Her work has been exhibited at galleries in Madrid, Singapore Hong Kong, Zurich and Istanbul. Yang’s work also has also been exhibited at the San Francisco Exploratorium Museum, the Torrance Art Museum, and the Japanese American National Museum. She is a recipient of numerous awards, including the James Irvine Foundation’s California New Visions Award, the Durfee Foundation’s ARC award and the Beverly G. Alpay Award.

Ursula von Rydingsvard. Von Rydinsvard, who was born in Nazi Germany in 1942, now lives in Brooklyn, NY. In 1975 she received an MFA from Columbia University. Since then her work has concentrated on cedar, which she has used to build monumental sculptures. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York City as well as museums in Atlanta, Minneapolis and Kansas City. In 2008, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Illustrations of the works proposed by the four finalists are on the pages that follow.

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TyGeltmaker
TyGeltmaker
5 years ago

Tobin and anyone else are free to work for whomever they want, but a West Hollywood AIDS Memorial should not have in any way even the slightest connection to Saudi Arabia (via Tobin or anyone else) where gays face capital punishment by hanging, beheading, or stoning. And a local person who knows our history should be given this commission.

Harold
Harold
6 years ago

Susan Narduli’s design seems to be the only one that has any connection to where it is. The other ones look like they were designed to go just anywhere. That Tobin one really reminds me of a terrorism monument I saw in England, for instance.

santiago
santiago
6 years ago

Susan’s is much better, it looks more natural and more alive. the other thing looks like a torture chamber

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

Does
not Susan Mardulli’s design very strongly echo Washington, DC’s Viet Nam Memorial?

jonathan
jonathan
6 years ago

Why don’t any of these options work within the plans submitted by the chosen park architect ?
Also where is the proposal for the memorial that is designed into the underside of the stairs by the center entrance ?

Is this part of the park budget as proposed by the architect ?

90069
90069
6 years ago

I just … cannot with these.

luca d
luca d
6 years ago

just out of curiosity, what the heck happened to the plaques with names of those who died from aids, that were dedicated to trees planted along the boulevard?
wasn’t money raised to pay for the creation and installation of those dedications?