I recently had the chance to visit downtown Los Angeles (DTLA)—which is certainly one of the most fascinating places on the planet—and stay at the Ace Hotel. The Ace opened this year in an epic renovation of the 1927 United Artists Building (which has also been used by Texaco and was then a church).
The Ace is rivaled in downtown architectural coolness only by the 1930 Eastern Columbia Building (now condos), which I also visited. It is one of the masterpieces of the art deco era and seems to have no parallel anywhere in the universe.
These buildings are remnants of a previous era on South Broadway, as well as anchors for the neighborhood’s current resurgence.
I was recently moved by the sight of Jim Hodges’ glass sculpture, ghost (2008), currently on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston in the exhibition, Give More Than You Take. The wall text explains that the sculpture had been inspired by an early 16th century Albrecht Dürer watercolor and the work certainly projects, from within its vitrine, ethereal concepts of the natural world.
ghost also reminded me of this “miscellaneous” 19th century stereo view by an anonymous maker. It reflects a Victorian tradition of preserving flowers and arraigning them in ways that would communicate sentiments about loved ones, as well as religious beliefs. This image is brought closer when viewed in 3D.
Like Hodges’ work it is a poignant expression of the material desire to capture fleeting emotions.