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Beverly Hills City Hall - Artwork by Tom Otterness
Beverly Hill City Hall, 450 N. Crescent Dr., Beverly Hills, CA
"See No Evil" Bronze Sculpture by Tom Otterness previously on loan and display

Art & artists
 
Beverly Hills City Hall is a fanciful Spanish Renaissance building known for its pale blue exterior paint accents, its blue, green and gold tile dome, gilded cupola and architectural elements representing government and commerce. Designed in 1932 by architect William Gage, interior terrazzo floors, marble walls and intricate ceilings are beloved by Beverly Hills residents. One the best known Beverly Hills icons could easily have vanished. It was not structurally earthquake-safe and also not big enough. Thanks to a $110 million renovation and design work by architect Charles Moore, a 10-year effort to save this landmark came to fruition when the Beverly Hills City Hall reopened in 1992 with an additional 18,000 square feet for a total 67,000 square feet. Linked to a new public library, fire and police department, the historic City Hall is surrounded by lush palm  gardens and includes a series of elliptical courtyards connecting the city's buildings across Rexford Drive. This connection was described by Charles Moore as similar to beads on a string.

Charles Moore sadly passed away just one year after his great tribute to Beverly Hills was unveiled. But millions will continue to enjoy his contributions as a humanist who attempted to create what a place that is distinguishable in mind and memory from other places. Moore's work can be seen at Sea Ranch Condominiums in Sonoma County, Kresge College at UC Santa Cruz and Burns House in Santa Monica Canyon, and in the works of thousands of students who learned from him in his distinguished career teaching architecture Yale University,  UC Berkeley and UCLA. Born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Charles Moore lived 68 years from 1925 to 1993.

What the process of choosing this great architect shows about Beverly Hills is the attention to detail, desire to maintain architecture of historic value and love of art residents embrace. An active city art commission panel dedicates its time to putting its best foot forward and rightfully so. Just down the the street is the lovely Rodeo Drive shopping promenade with some of the finest designers and couture boutiques in the world.

This love of art is also visible in special exhibits featured on the grounds of City Hall. With great delight, we happened by the Beverly Hills City Hall on a Starline Tour when the works of renowned Sculptor Tom Otterness were on display. Three bronze pieces in a group, See No Evil, shown in the photo above, were part of an exhibit of outdoor placements. Created in 2002, See No Evil contains three larger-than-life cubed figures that stand on one base. One has its hands over its eyes, the next covers its ears representing Hear No Evil and the third covers its mouth to represent Speak No Evil. First shown in a One Person Exhibit,  See No Evil premiered in  Marlborough Gallery, New York, in 2002.

Included in the traveling exhibit that contains one piece called Large Covered Wagon, Tom Otterness's work was selected by the Beverly Hills Fine Art Commission, charged with the duty of enhancing the beauty of the City through the installation of public art. (City of Beverly Hills Art & Cultural Events division at (310) 550-4796). The humorous and irreverent Otterness exhibit provides a social commentary on modern society's love of money, turning iconic symbols into caricatures. See No Evil, 2002; Large Covered Wagon, 2004; Big Big Penny, 1993; Free Money, 2001; Mad Mom, 2001; King, 1997; Queen, 1997; and Tree of Knowledge stood on the Beverly Hills lawns of City Hall for several nearly half a year, entertaining thousands who passed by in their cars daily and those who wandered the grounds to enjoy the displays.

Based in New York City, Otterness has enjoyed commercial success around the globe. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Federal Courthouse, General Services Administration, Sacramento (bronze called Gold Rush) are but a few of the locations where you can view his works. Otterness has created hundreds of pieces that have been installed and exhibited internationally. Even now as we write this story, he most likely is busy creating a new piece. His energy does not seem to cease.