August 19, 2019

Aaron Axelrod’s Barnsdall Art Park takeover

Hollywood’s Barnsdall Art Park is about to get bathed in color.

A pop-up multimedia exhibition this weekend will introduce thousands of art enthusiasts to the work of young Jewish artist Aaron Axelrod. This is the first time the hilltop park has been handed over to one artist, and Axelrod plans to blanket it in swirling video installations, massive neon-lit sculptures and crystal-encrusted art.

The Los Angeles native’s first career retrospective has proven to be both exciting and nerve-racking to the 32-year-old. At Axelrod’s studio in downtown L.A.’s Fashion District as deadlines loomed, he paced the floor in a spray paint-splattered outfit and spoke of the massive amount of preparations needed for such an exhibition.

“It’s pretty crazy that the city is giving me access to take over the entire campus,” he said. “It’s pretty much one entire city block on Hollywood and Vermont. First, I had to start just with the Municipal Art Gallery, a 10,000-square-foot space. There’s like 12 different rooms. Each room is going to be a different body of work.”

Axelrod plans to illuminate the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House at the center of the park using projection mapping. Five movie projectors will cover every corner and facade of the building with looped videos of shifting colors and psychedelic animations.

“I kind of wanted to douse it with paint,” he said, “but they didn’t let me.”