California’s most walkable city will be full of walkers on Saturday as part of project by L.A.-based performance artist Richard Kraft.
For Kraft’s “100 Walkers, West Hollywood” 100 people, each wearing a suit and bowler hat, will walk along a pre-determined route carrying sandwich boards with thought-provoking words and images. The walk will begin at 2:30 p.m. at the El Tovar parking structure at the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd., south of Santa Monica. It will end there at 5:30 p.m.
The walkers will be sent on their way by art critic and poetry scholar Marjorie Perloff, the walk’s honorary “starter.” As they move through the city, the walkers will not speak, but will have “calling cards” to pass out to curious observers.
The images and text on the walkers’ sandwich boards have been specifically tailored to be in conversation with West Hollywood’s history and communities. The boards will not feature advertising but, instead, will be detailed with aphorisms, portraits, animals, painted hand gestures, imagery from children’s books, and photographs of war and resistance and dissidents and activists.
Collectively, the walkers form an unusual army of incongruities and juxtapositions intended to inject humor, commentary and distortion, as well as glimpses of parallel moments in space and time. Individually, each walker will hope to capture the attention of most passersby (particularly those who are driving) for just a blink, enough to interrupt daily life and shift the viewer’s awareness of his or her world.
Richard Kraft was born and raised in London, but now lives in Los Angeles. He says “100 Walkers, West Hollywood” was influenced by Stanley Green, a “human billboard” who walked Oxford Street in London for 25 years. It also draws from the tradition of performance art by revolutionaries including Joseph Beuys, Daniel Buren, and other Fluxus “anti-art” creators who brought art out of galleries and onto the streets.
West Hollywood has a strong culture of walking. The City has been voted the “Most Walkable City” in California by Walk Score, which promotes walkable neighborhoods across the country. West Hollywood’s walkability is ranked higher than that of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.
“100 Walkers, West Hollywood” (#100walkersweho) is presented with the support of the City of West Hollywood through its Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission. It is part of WeHo@30, a series of arts and culture projects for West Hollywood’s 30th anniversary of cityhood, and is part of the Art on the Outside program that brings art into the public realm and celebrates the city’s pedestrian-friendly culture.