The Metro in Los Angeles is great but also super weird. First, no one works there so it’s kind of a free for all when you go underground. Secondly, it’s kind of an honor system in terms of tickets (which they are very slowly changing). Lastly, some stations have these weird art exhibits that are actually not bad but they are not explained at all. Case in point: Todd Hido‘s A Road Divided at the Metro’s Hollywood & Highland station.
The pieces went up last week and showcase Hido’s very ominous and slightly dark photography work that meditates on foggy, decaying lands that are beautiful in their bareness and ugliness (well, they aren’t ugly: they’re just “different.”). There are about seven or eight of them, which sit at the base of the escalators between where you land and the turnstiles down to the trains. There is a modest “show poster” of sorts put up by the Metro that has Hido’s information along with a statement: “Taken by the artist while on the road, these images conjure a passenger’s associations to another time, or place, during their travels.” We wonder what that can mean other than the Metro is trying to tell us that “we hope you feel like you are on a luxury cruise right now because you are actually on the opposite.”
The LA Metro has his work listed on their website as being at the Vermont/Beverly station and in 2010, which must be where it came from. What’s even more curious is that the Metro has an entire art wing dedicated to beautifying their complexes (and you can check out their work and updates here). Although it is a little weird to see art being pushed in a place where people commute and by the government, it’s a job well done. Of course, the presentation can be a little better and it may stay up for over a year–but it’s a very good effort: they’ve picked very contemporary artists who are still working and making work that is quite good and new to 90% of passersby, while being incredibly easy to consume by any viewer. Kudos to the LA Metro for that!
And, more on Hido: he is a photographer based in San Francisco who focuses on this fucked up, almost drugged, gaze which he sets on barren landscapes, women, foreclosed homes, motels, and “occupied” homes, and buildings at night (who are basically being sucked into these landscapes he shares). Hido is repped locally by Santa Monica’s Rose Gallery and, if you like what you see underground, buy the book associated with his work.