Ship In A Bottle

Mark Dion's "Ship in a bottle". Photo courtesy Port of Los Angeles

The Port of Los Angeles unveiled a new public art sculpture this week as part of the Los Angeles Waterfront Redevelopment Project.

Created by internationally-acclaimed artist Mark Dion, “Ship in a Bottle” is permanently installed at the south end of Cabrillo Way, a short walk south from the 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, CA.

“The L.A. waterfront public art program focuses on creating a unique experience, destination and sense of place to the waterfront, and making a connection between art, the region and residents here,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.

Putting a contemporary twist on an historic and romantic seafaring craft, Dion’s larger-than-life “Ship in a Bottle” art work incorporates an eight foot scale model of a container ship inside a 12-foot clear glass bottle.  Sitting on a grassy mound in the midst of the Marina, the ship rests on a bed of crushed glass, and both the bottle and container ship appear to be floating out over the waters of the Port’s outer harbor.

“The art of crafting miniature ships in bottles was a favorite pastime of sailors, who have been important participants in the Port’s long history and culture,” said artist Mark Dion. “My ‘Ship in a Bottle’  is a contemporary concept to unify the aesthetic of contemporary public art with that of vernacular, nautical craft-work and to respectfully acknowledge the central role played by the Port of Los Angeles and the city of San Pedro as the gateway of international commerce in the United States.’’

The public art program at the port engages local, regional, national and internationally known artists to create public works of art that reflect the interests, character and cultures of the local port community, while also bringing a fresh and diverse range of cultural and artistic perspectives to the process.

Artist Mark Dion, whose previous works have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in London, among other venues, was selected by the Arts Selection Panel to create a public art work for the new Cabrillo Way Marina.  Dion was chosen for his sensitivity to creating work that reflects an international and community sensibility. The “Ship in a Bottle project” was presented at a public meeting of the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Commission.

Recent public art installations at the Port of Los Angeles have included artist Doug Hollis’ “Telltales”, a wind and sound-activated installation and sea wall tile benches by various local artists at the Cruise Ship Promenade as well as the “Millennium Man” at the Port’s Gateway Fountain.  The Port has additional public art installations planned over the next two years for the Wilmington Waterfront Park, the San Pedro Slip, the Downtown Harbor project, the Port Police building and Cabrillo Beach.

The Cabrillo Way Marina is the second phase of improvements within the West Channel/Cabrillo Beach Recreational Complex, due to be completed by the end of summer. Development of the new $130 million, 700-slip Cabrillo Way Marina began in 2009, and encompasses more than 80 acres of land and water in the West Channel area of the outer harbor. The project updates a decades-old marina facility and adds about a mile of public waterfront promenade.

Artist Mark Dion’s work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. He lives and works in New York.

Special thanks to the Port of Los Angeles.


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