The Four Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo, also known as the Hollywood & La Brea Gateway sits on the western boundary of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It has been the subject of many blog posts and articles. Most of them are jumping on the bandwagon started by an art critic from the LA Times calling it the worst public artwork ever created.
Update June 18, 2019: The statue of Marilyn Monroe was stolen from the top of the Four Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo on June 17th.
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It’s a sad commentary on man that once the negative has been brought up, that seems to be all that is given voice to. Particularly in the arts.
Perhaps it’s not the most beautiful of the vast collection of artworks in the city of Los Angeles, but it is most definitely loved by Angelenos and tourists alike. During the short time I stood there shooting this video footage of the art deco structure most everyone that passed by paused to interact with it. They posed for pictures, raced around the ladies, struck similar poses and more.
The Four Ladies of Hollywood Gazebo was commissioned in 1993 by the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Art Program and created by the architect, production designer, and film director Catherine Hardwicke as a tribute to the multi-ethnic women of Hollywood.
The domed structure is held aloft by the statues of four significant, multi-ethnic actresses in Hollywood that were sculpted by Harl West. They are Brooklyn born multi-ethnic actress Mae West, the African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge, Asian-American actress Anna May Wong and Mexican actress Dolores del Río. The weather vane at the top is Marilyn Monroe in her iconic billowing skirt pose.
When the Gazebo was dedicated in February 1994, Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight called it “the most depressingly awful work of public art in recent years”. Contrary to his opinion the independent film producer Gail Choice called it a fitting tribute to a group of pioneering and courageous women who “carried a tremendous burden on their feminine shoulders. Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I’d ever see women of color immortalized in such a creative and wonderful fashion.” She said that the critics of the work were missing the point and message of the work. My thoughts are that I have yet to meet a critic who can do that which he criticizes in others… hence they became critics instead of artists.
The opinions carried forward have been the negative voiced by Knight. It’s as if no writer can think or observe for himself.
For my two cents, all I can say is this. The ladies have been waiting patiently for over two decades to greet you as you start down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Be sure to nod hello to them when you visit Hollywood. They are deserving of the tribute!
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Background music: Op. 9, No. 1 in B flat minor. Larghetto. Composer: Frederic Chopin Performer: Olga Gurevich
Licence: Public Domain Mark 1.0