When I was in California at Christmastime, a friend and I spent an afternoon visiting a few locations in Pasadena when you can see the Rose Parade floats in the process of being built. That was really fun and totally recommended! At one location, they also had booths set up where you could buy overpriced Rose Parade and Rose Bowl swag, and that’s where I saw this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Van!
This forest of city street lights, called Urban Light, was created by artist Chris Burden. Despite initial appearances, the arrangement is not a perfect grid. Depending on where the viewer stands, the lamps arrange themselves in different angles and arrays.
These 202 cast iron lamps once lit the streets of Los Angeles. Burden bought one at the Rose Bowl flea market, and soon collecting and restoring street lights became an obsession. He painted them all the same neutral gray, in order to draw the eye to all the different varieties of cast iron decoration.
Burden says that street lamps like these were symbols of a civilized and sophisticated city; safe after dark and beautiful to behold. The lights all still work, and they are now powered by solar energy. They are switched on every night from dusk until dawn. At night, Burden says his sculpture becomes transformed into “a building with a roof of light.”