“Dandelions”

Art, Installation Free
Recommended
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
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Photograph: Michael Juliano

Time Out says

Walk around an otherworldly dandelion factory at the latest installation from the Art Department, the anonymous artists behind the Griffith Park Teahouse.

We can sum up “Dandelions” pretty succinctly: You should go visit (6700 Garfield Ave, Bell Gardens) now, while you still can. It’s a singular, mesmerizing experience unlike any other ephemeral installation to hit L.A., and the less you know before you enter, the better. But if you really want a peek at what sort of Willy Wonka-like magic awaits inside the doors of this industrial plant…

This surreal dandelion factory is popping up in L.A.

This surreal dandelion factory has popped up just south of L.A.—and you can visit it for free this weekend. http://bit.ly/2JCMukz

Posted by Time Out Los Angeles on Thursday, May 9, 2019

 

“Dandelions” is staged under the guise of a dreamy wish fulfillment center: You formulate your desire, blow on a stalk of dandelion seeds and hope for the best. To start, you’ll climb up the set of rusty exterior stairs and into the bright warehouse, where you’re greeted with a path lined in leafy dandelions. Most installations would settle with this single photogenic scene. But round the corner into “the Division of Small Things that Float on the Wind” and you’re met with a full-blown fever dream of whimsical bureaucracy. A help desk greeter juggles a fast-talking phone call with big-picture queries about your wish. An old-school computer prompts some questions about your wish—some straightforward and others like whether it’s in the visible dimension or if it would land on its head or its feet—and ultimately assigns your wish into a category. Whirl past a ticket-stamping desk, underneath of shower of fluttering tickets, past a printer discharging an unbroken sheet of paper and a pinboard of local wishes, and you’ll be handed a single dandelion. Blow it into one of the three categorized chutes (slam dunks, long shots or coin tosses) and then your wish will come true… maybe?

Many of the seeds dump out into the next room, where a caretaker tidies up mounds of dandelions, which pile up onto the walls and float through the air. If you can pull yourself away from the space, you’ll pass a chain-smoking security guard ushering you out, down into a decontamination room where any seeds that’ve clung onto your clothes will be dusted off. There’s no song-and-dance routine to process your wish, just bouncing from one bureaucrat to another. “I often think of it as a DMV in a world where you maybe want to live in,” says one of the anonymous organizers about the intentional, playful frustrations. But ultimately, “Dandelions” is an installation of beauty. “The idea of floating seeds in one of these abandoned power facilities came after we toured one of these buildings,” one of the other artists involved says. “They have a spectacular quality that you don’t find in most factories these days: tons of windows and lots of natural light.”

To visit the free installation, park at 6700 Garfield Avenue in Bell Gardens. You can visit on May 9 from 12:30 to 6:30pm, May 11 from 9am to 6:30pm and May 12 from 1 to 6:30pm.

Since it’s staged on a working industrial site, long pants, long sleeves and sneakers are a must (visitors must also be over the age of 14), and visitors will also need to be able to climb two flights of stairs. Also, allergy suffers beware: These are in fact real dandelion seeds, about 100,000 of them. “We asked cities to not mow their medians,” remarks one of the artists about the tedious process of collecting so many dandelions in L.A.

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