'Hello Girls' returning to Wilshire Boulevard
Just in time for jacaranda season, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has completed initial repairs on Alexander Calder's 1964 standing-mobile fountain "Hello Girls."
Commissioned by a women's museum-support group when LACMA first opened on Wilshire Boulevard 44 years ago, the Calder was one bit of proof that digging a fountain into the La Brea tar pits could be a problem. Oily black ooze kept gumming up the works, and the reflecting pools that surrounded the new museum complex were eventually drained. The sculpture was moved into storage and then onto dry land, where the revolving paddles regularly got stuck in surrounding evergreens. For a while in the 1980s it was lent to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Finally it went back to LACMA and into a new pool. Still, the wind-and-water-sensitive sculpture didn't work quite right.
-- Christopher Knight