Steve Lopez is a hard-bitten city reporter for the LA Times, the kind who likes to hang around cops and politicians looking for ways to mix it up with them:
Which brings me to the $500,000 worth of public art that’s just been installed on the west side of the building. I wasn’t sure what to make of them, so I went straight to the top: It looks like “some kind of cow splat,” said Police Chief William J. Bratton, who sounded as if he were personally insulted by the installation. Bratton said he first drove past the work and later walked back to see whether “it’s as ugly up close as it is when you’re driving by.” […]
Lopez went in search of an explanation where he found Felicia Filer of the Public Art Division:
Filer told me that two artists were selected from roughly two dozen under consideration, and they split $1 million for separate projects at the police headquarters. The other work was a wall of etchings in the new auditorium representing an orange grove. A live orange tree was proposed as well, but police rejected the idea, fearing that citizens would pelt the building with low-hanging fruit.
Despite the city budget crunch and police staffing challenges, more art projects are in store for the new police headquarters because of a city requirement that 1% of any major project’s cost be spent on art. Artists for the rest of the works will be chosen the same way the first two were — by a panel of city officials, artists, neighbors and a civilian member of the LAPD.