A Brief History Of L.A.'s Billboard Art

Dec 6 08:37 2012 Ramyasadasivam Print This Article

Photographer Robert Landau inherited artiness from his father, who ran a fine-art gallery in Los Angeles and favored German and Austrian expressionism in particular.

As a teenager in the 1970s,Guest Posting though, Landau favored something else. Oil Portrait

The Sunset Strip was his playground, and in his eyes, art was all around. Oil Portraits

"When I went out to explore the world," he says on the phone, "I felt the Strip was like a gallery; there were these hand-painted works of art on the street." 

What he's referring to, though, are billboards: Not necessarily what most would consider "art" — at least not by contemporary standards.

"They looked like giant art pieces that kind of represented my generation and the music I listened to," he says.

Landau was 16 when he started pointing a Kodachrome-loaded camera at larger-than-life icons hanging over L.A.'s streets — the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, Linda Ronstadt in roller skates. At the time, he explains, music billboards were relatively new to L.A.

Read More: npr.org/blogs/

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