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California’s Coolest New Artwork Is This Giant Underwater Sculpture

California’s Coolest New Artwork Is This Giant Underwater Sculpture

When we think about exploring the world, we often forget the majority of the earth is underwater. Artist Doug Aitken hasn’t forgotten though, as his new artwork proves.

Located near Catalina Island in Southern California, the kaleidoscopic piece entitled Underwater Pavilions, is set to remain in the ocean for months – meaning there’s plenty of time to book your trip so SoCal.

The geometric sculptures have been constructed out of mirror and rock, and Aitken is calling them “pavilions,” as the three structures, set with the help of moorings, will exist in a cave-like formation at depths of five, ten and 50 feet.

Those interested in viewing the piece are allowed to swim through the sculptures, and the artist hopes this will serve to remind art-lovers about the importance of marine conservation.


“Over 70 percent of the surface of the Earth is ocean, and the seascape offers unique opportunities to create works that constantly shift, change, [and] evolve with the tide and the sun,” Aitken told the L.A. Times. “A project like this asks us to reconsider our perception of something that may, on the surface, seem mundane, but reveals its complexity when you dive deeper.

For those of us who aren’t avid divers, the shimmering artwork can also be viewed from land. Aitken also plans to use the sculptures as guiding points for a 24-hour music- and performance-centric “happening” the weekend of November 5 at the nearby Catalina Casino.

The artist is no stranger to large scale artworks, having dug a 700-foot hole in Brazil some years ago, although he’s most famous for his large-scale, fragmented video installations.

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Viewing the sculpture is free, and it’s reachable via a short ferry trip to Catalina, not far from Los Angeles.

(h/t Conde Naste Traveller)

Lead Photo: Doug Aitken Workshop/Parley for the Oceans/MOCA

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