Julius Shulman’s 1936 shot of Griffith Observatory — and beyond

Architecture & Design · Visual arts

The other evening, touring the Pacific Standard show at the L.A. Municipal Gallery on Olive Hill, I was caught off guard by a four-inch square print of this precious, heroic Julius Shulman photograph dating from 1936. It almost made me cry: the two caps, shape of building [it was then only years old], hills and the city stretching below ending in luminous light. Shulman’s “Looking over Griffith Observatory and Los Angeles from Mount Hollywood” burns a tiny hole in the wall of this retrospective on the role of the municipal art gallery in our city. If Pacific Standard Time is meant to deepen L.A.’s footprint in art history, with Shulman’s photo it succeeds.

What epic proportion he expresses in this shot. All of the possibility of L.A.

Civic Virtue: The Impact of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and The Watts Towers Arts Center | Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery | thru Feb 12

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