Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Chromatic Gate

Art in Public Places

My friends and family have been pushing me to post more pictures of myself.  Although Mimi is the ham in the family, even she has suggested I join my cyber-space sisters on Visible Monday.  Thank you, Patti of Not Dead Yet Style for giving me the courage to do so!

I am standing in front of the Chromatic Gate, a fabulous outdoor sculpture in Santa Barbara, located on the corner of Cabrillo Blvd. and Calle Puerto Vallarta.  Freshly painted, it is once again a vibrant and welcoming gateway to our beautiful city.  The artist, the late great Herbert Bayer, designed the piece when he retired here in the 80's.  Sadly, he died before he saw it installed.  Bayer had lived in Morocco for a period of time and was inspired by the Islamic gates which led into the Sahara.
I get very angry when I hear complaints about this incredible sculpture, but that is the nature of public art.  It stirs up controversy (which is a good thing in my book).  For some people, it is too jarring, too bright, too colorful; it disturbs the natural tranquility of the beach.  I think these people might change their minds if they knew a little bit more about the artist.

Herbert Bayer is often referred to as the last living member of the Bauhaus movement.  He was born in Austria in 1900 and studied under Wassily Kandinsky.  As a young man he moved to Berlin and became a well-known graphic artist.  In 1938, he emigrated to the United States.  While continuing to work in the commercial field, he also arranged the exhibition "Bauhaus 1919-1928" for the New York Museum of Modern Art and worked on public art commissions.  In the 1950's he began to experiment with using landscape as sculpture.  His more famous works of art include:    Double Ascension in Los Angeles, Kaleidoscreen in Aspen and the Articulated Wall in Denver--all pieces I hope to eventually see.

I am honored to have the Chromatic Gate frame my beloved city.


  1. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday! I didn't know about your gate, and it's so beautiful and welcoming. Please come back!

  2. Hi, Marea and Mimi! I popped over from Visible Monday. Your gate is certainly visible! I don't think it was there last time I was in Santa Barbara, at least 20 years ago. You must lead a charmed life - you live in Santa Barbara (it is gorgeous!) and you travel where and when you want? Lucky you! I'll try to come back and visit again.

    1. Thanks for popping by. I couldn't help but laugh at your Amber Alert comment. We got it, too, and nearly jumped out of bed with fright. Guess it worked, though.

  3. Wonderful!! First ... you look great in your dress-over-pants combination. Neutrals are lovely, and your sandals pull it together from the ground up. I've been thinking about this idea of late, and you inspire!
    Thank you, too, for the Gate photos. I'm a SoCal girl from Escondido, dreadfully misplaced here in Arkansas, and I'm so glad to see these. We were most recently a decade in Seattle where they had a close-to-perfect public arts program ... one percent of the tax base went to public arts. There was always something wonderful going on. We often remember a HUGE James Turrell show in an old-town warehouse. The setting for your Gate reminds me of the Sand-Point park on Lake Union in Seattle. There are miles of walkways, placed there just to admire the water on one side with lots of well-placed public art on the other.
    Hope to see you often at Visible Monday ... your friends are right about showing out just a bit. So nice to meet you.

    1. Thanks, Jan. I've just put Seattle on my "Must See"