To kick off the second edition of Frieze Los Angeles, NeueHouse and Frieze expose the city of angels to Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Questions), featured on the facade of NeueHouse Hollywood during the week of the art fair. NeueHouse occupies the landmark 1938 CBS Radio Building and Studio, designed by Swiss-born architect William Lescaze. As the world’s first structure built intentionally for broadcast, the building was sited at the center of Hollywood with the hopes of positioning CBS as a progressive and innovative company. As a historic site for mass media, NeueHouse Hollywood makes a meaningful canvas for the work of LA-based artist Barbara Kruger, who has been the international standard bearer for conceptual art engaging the intersection of language, image, and communications since the 1980s. As noted by art historian Miwon Kwon, Chair of the UCLA Department of Art History,
“Kruger doesn’t instruct us on what position to take so much as reveal how positions are made.”
In this sense, the subject and object of the question “WHO BUYS THE CON” are indeterminate and open to subjective interpretation. For many driving down Sunset Boulevard, perhaps “the con” could refer to the make believe of Hollywood, of movie magic and the classic tropes of living and working in the center of the storytelling industry. Placing this work at Columbia Square draws attention to the symbolic history of the site, inviting bypassers in their cars and on foot to consider how their personal positions are formed, what myths influence their lives. It has the potential to be one of the most iconic public murals installed in Los Angeles and beyond.