Monday, August 03, 2015

The Creatures of Legg Lake: Concrete Sculptures of Benjamin Dominguez

"In 1950, the Army Corps began construction of the Whittier Narrows with the caveat that the region would remain a recreational area. The lakes were intended as public fishing lakes, and were created as a joint project of the Department of Fish and Game, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. This unique partnership resulted in an overlapping of jurisdictions between local, county, state and federal agencies.

As part of the construction, Los Angeles County Supervisor Frank G. Bonelli looked for examples of play equipment that implemented new thinking in playground design, with the hopes that something unique would draw together the diverse communities surrounding the Narrows. He became very interested in a new 'fantasy-land"' park in Las Vegas that was generating a considerable amount of media coverage. In the newspapers, he saw intriguing photographs of sculptures of a mother dragon surrounded by mushrooms, and two unique fish slides that were accessed through their open mouths and whose slide followed the curve of the fish's body.

The sculptures, Bonelli learned, were the creations of Benjamin Dominguez. He was a seasoned artist with earlier works in Las Vegas and El Paso, Texas, as well as a fruitful career in Mexico City. Supervisor Bonelli saw in Dominguez and his playful cement creatures the perfect opportunity to make the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area a destination, and soon commissioned him to transform Legg Lake."

(More Dominguez creations here)

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