Historical Background

Gary Lloyd, 1983. 6'4"H x 6'W x 2"D. 814 South Spring Street
Gary Lloyd created this ax-shaped sculpture to cover a battery powered transmitter of a radio station he briefly maintained on the fifth floor of the building. His station broadcast programs produced by local artists at 88.1 FM between noon and midnight. With a range of about 1200 feet, the transmitter created a large and invisible envelope which expanded the scale of the piece beyond its physical measurements. Lloyd named the sculpture "4D-KAXE" because of the four dimensions it operated in and for the call letters of his radio station.

Classified by the city as a sign, "4D-KAXE" has a steel frame wrapped with polyester and wire, and covered with Mexican, Japanese and American coins representing the main racial and ethnic groups in the area at the time. The Mexican and Japanese coins, which have been discarded by immigrants, also symbolize the abandonment of the historic financial district by capitalist institutions. Lloyd began using the ax in 1970 as a symbol for both aggressive power and for useful tools. With "4D-KAXE", Lloyd introduced technology in the form of the transmitter into this thematic contradiction. He positioned the ax as if it was struck into the facade of the building to symbolize an attack on the capitalist means of production, whose financial institutions once occupied this and neighboring buildings. Simultaneously, the sculpture served as a tool, allowing artists to transmit their works directly to the public without the traditional intermediaries of the critic, the museum and the gallery.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, June, 1998.

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