Australian designer Daniel Tobin has been chosen to design and install the AIDS monument planned for West Hollywood Park.
The decision was made last night by the West Hollywood City Council. In its recommendation of Tobin, the Foundation for an AIDS Monument, the non-profit group working to create the monument, said his proposed design “functions as a destination piece — recognizable as an AIDS monument, leaving no question about the work when you leave the space.” It also noted that Tobin has “reiterated his personal dedication to the project as an openly HIV positive man.”
Tobin’s design is a field of 341 vertical strands on a raised platform between the park and San Vicente Boulevard through which people can walk.
“Some areas are designed for passive interactions, allowing for quiet reflection,” says a report to the Council from city staff members recommending Tobin. “Others are active, demanding participation. Each trace represents 5,000 Americans who have died of AIDS-related causes or who are living with HIV. There are three permanent rooms inviting visitors differing ways to the site to engage with the monument.”
The Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission argued that Tobin’s design included “too many referential aspects to other monuments and public art works in the greater Los Angeles area and throughout the world.” By contrast, it said Narduli’s design was “a far more powerful, poetic and contemplative/reflective tribute to lives touched by AIDS in West Hollywood.”
The foundation describes the AIDS monument as a destination that “will pay tribute to the legacy of those we’ve lost, honor those who survived and the organizations of change that were born, and provide links and access to existing programs around HIV/AIDS education.”
Tobin is a graduate of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia with a degree in visual arts. He studied design at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts and worked with the Sydney Theatre Company and then co-founded with his brother Matthew Urban Art Projects. Tobin has worked on projects such as Sahl Hasheesh in Egypt and Palm Jebel Ali in Dubai. He also directed the International Art Program for King Abdullah University of Science & Technology in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and has also designed the university’s iconic Beacon. His most notable Australian projects include Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Commercial Precinct Art Program, Sydney’s Redfern Park and the Queensland State Library’s Black Opium with artist Fiona Foley.
Narduli is a Los Angeles architect and artist. Narduli began her career as a sculptor and then studied architecture. She has a BFA in sculpture and received a Masters degree in architecture form UCLA and worked as a project designer with Frank Gehry. In 1991 she opened Narduli Studio. Her awards have included a 2010 Public Art Year in Review award for weaving at California State University, Fresno, and a 2008 American Institute of Architects Award in urban design and planning for the Metlox Public Plazas in Manhattan Beach. Narduli caused a stir among officials at Los Angeles International Airport in 2001 with an art installation that included figures of nude men etched into a granite floor. LAX managers covered the installation until the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Commission ruled that sketches of Narduli’s work had been approved previously by the city.