LA’s Historic Bates Motel Transformed Into Ghostly Public Art Installation

Installation view, Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015). Photo via: Curbed LA

Installation view, Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015).
Photo via:  Curbed LA

A French installation artist, Vincent Lamouroux, is drawing unprecedented attention to the Bates Motel, a forgotten Los Angeles landmark. The artist has created an eye-catching public art project, Projection, a surreal bastion of white in the middle of the Sunset Strip that you may have already spotted on your Instagram feed.

You might know that the motel is nicknamed for its resemblance to Hitchcock’s uber-creepy motel from the legendary thriller Psycho. Los Angeles residents know that the motel has remained in a state of disrepair for years.

It was set to be demolished by the city in 2009, but was rescued by a team of developers who purchased the property with the intention of turning it into a mixed-use space. The building will finally be demolished this summer to make way for apartments, retail shops, restaurants, and a multi-level parking lot.

In the meantime, it is a piece of very white art that will officially open to the public for two weeks on April 26.

What did Lamouroux do to transform this decaying structure? He employed a team of spray painters wielding giant hoses to cover the motel (and surrounding palm trees) with “ecologically safe” limewash white paint.

Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015). Installation view. Photo: via Curbed LA

Installation view, Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015).
Photo via: Curbed LA

The limewash paint will slowly wear away—perhaps a nod to the building’s slow glide into decrepitude over the course of decades. But for now, it glows with a ghost-like glory that celebrates its seedy local landmark status.

Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015). Installation view.

Installation view, Vincent Lamouroux, Projection (2015).
Photo via: Curbed LA

“Lamouroux’s Projection immediately touched us,” said Nicolas Libert of Please Do Not Enter, which assisted in producing the project, in a press release. “It interrogates the American dream and the mythical qualities of Los Angeles while at the same time revealing the city’s undeniable appeal and potential. Lamouroux’s celebration of this mythic and storied architecture is the greatest and most beautiful gift we could offer the city of Los Angeles.”

If you’re not on the West Coast to check out Projection, never fear! There’s plenty of public art to see this spring in New York (see New York’s 10 Most Beautiful Public Art Shows for Spring).

Projection at the Bates Motel is on view from April 26–May 10, 2015.

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