Private Stories into Public Art

1965

A FEW weeks back, I spent a good part of the day roaming around inside the memory (and studio) of Inglewood-based artist Michael Massenburg — for a piece I was putting together for KCET. He works with found pieces, discards — newspaper, fabric remnants, cast-off pieces of wood — and refashions them into art.

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He does the same with the stories of neighborhoods — the faces and voices of those who came before us. Since so much in Los Angeles is quickly jettisoned, discarded, Massenburg has set himself on a path to find value in what has been tossed away and in so doing he carefully creates lost layers and contexts.

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His most recent installation at the Farmdale Station on the Expo Line — “Life in A Day” — tells the story of the neighborhoods fanning out around the tracks — not just coordinates and intersections — but the very details and nuances that distinguish one place from another. His work doesn’t just resurrect ghosts but re-assembles history.

My full piece is up here at Artbound|KCET

images: by Michael Massenburg

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