Neon & The Downtown LA Art Scene

Glad to hear that the downtown LA art scene hasn’t been impacted severely by the recession. But one other trend might be troubling: the Museum of Neon Art is moving out of its cozy enclave (yet crowded space), and into the burbs. Will the artsy neighborhood that it used to cozy up to now have a gaping hole? Will this sense of loss affect the whole arts atmosphere? Will now others start to leave, leaving art admirers bereft? Or will the art admirers be the first to sense the loss and stop attending the art walks and such? Physical location is key in attracting and maintaining a following.

But I’d attend anywhere, just on the concept alone!

At its current location on 4th Street in the Old Bank district, visitors to the museum have a tendency to look befuddled after viewing the 20 pieces of neon and wonder where some of the more iconic pieces are located. The Grauman’s Chinese Theatre dragon? The old Union 76 ball? “People ask, ‘Where’s the Brown Derby?’ ” said Kim Koga, the museum’s director, referring to the neon sign that once stood atop one of the city’s most famous dining establishments and is now in the museum’s permanent collection. “We couldn’t get it in the door here.”

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