A new sculpture for Pershing Square?
Broadway and 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles is officially known as Ezat Delijani Square, in honor of the Beverly Hills real estate developer who ended up on the front page of Monday's Times over the issue of a questionable criminal investigation launched by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — outside his agency's jurisdiction — on behalf of Delijani, a well-connected supporter. Both men have denied anything untoward in the rather unusual investigation.
Meanwhile, last month the L.A. City Council moved forward on a proposal by Delijani to erect a Pershing Square sculpture of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire some 2,600 years ago, two blocks away from from the donor's eponymous intersection. According to a report in blogdowntown.com, Delijani would pay for the design, fabrication, installation and maintenance of the statue. No artist was identified for the project.
Pershing Square is home to a few memorial sculptures, the most artistically notable being Arnold Foerster's life-size 1932 bronze of composer Ludwig van Beethoven. (The city's Philharmonic Auditorium, long since razed, was across the street.) About 2,500 people attended the dedication of the composer's likeness that year, which came just five days after Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros shocked the city's elite at the unveiling of his controversial Olvera Street mural "America Tropical."
Today, as "America Tropical" inches toward restoration to public view, the Foerster sculpture stands largely forgotten. As always, the significance of the artist rather than the subject plays the larger role in civic memory. Approvals for a Cyrus the Great statue at the site are pending with the Parks and Recreation Departmen and the Municipal Arts Commission.
— Christopher Knight
Photo: Pershing Square. Credit: Genaro Molina /Los Angeles Times.