Information about this sculpture came from "A Survey of Important Sculptures in Los Angeles County" June 25, 1998, prepared by Sculpture Conservation Studio, Inc., and Glenn Wharton and Associates, Inc. Do not reproduce information from this site without acknowledgement.

Artist: Hord, Donal

Title: "Man and the Wheel" or "Wheel of Industry" or "Man and the Machine"

Location: In county owned maintenance yard, on 30th near Grand, Los Angeles.

Owner: General Services Administration, US Government. Custodian: History Department/The Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Medium: Cast Stone

Date of Manufacture: 1934

Date of Installation: 1934

Foundry or Fabrication: Unknown

Dimensions: Sculpture: H: 6'8" x 5'6" x 4'; Base: H: 4' x W: 5' x D: 4'

Plaque: There is no plaque stored with the sculpture in the yard

Inscriptions: DH PWAP 34

Siting: The sculpture is currently in a County owned storage yard where architectural gragments, cars, film props, and other large objects are stored. The sculpture is placed on a palette in a crowded area near a cement block wall and chain link fence. There is a large fiberglass object stored against the sculpture. Although the yard is relatively secure from vandalism, the sculpture is not designated in any way as a valuable work of art. County employees could mistake it for one of the less valuable artifacts in the yard. During the period that it stays in the yard the sculpture should be isolated from other objects with stanchions or other devices and elevated from the ground on a strong palette. If the current storage is expected to last several years, the sculpture should be carefully crated and labeled.

Description: The sculpture was constructed as part of the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP). It may have been the first, of hundreds of WPA sculpture projects created in Southern California. It was Mr. Hord's first PWAP project. Southern California benefited more than any other region in the U.S. from this federally assisted project. Although the sculpture is owned by the General services administration, it is on permanent loan to its custodian, The Natural History Museum. The museum also owns two smal plaster casts of the sculpture.

The sculpture has been moved twice since its original installation in 1934-35. It was moved ca. 1982 from the East entrance to the South entrance of the museum. It was moved to its current location in a storage yard in 1987, apparently after being vandalized during the Los Angeles Olympics.

The sculpture depicts a barefoot, muscular young man in working clothes in a squatting position. He is holding up a large wheel that rests on the ground in front of him. The interior of the wheel is cast in relief, with wheels, gears, and other symbols of the industrial age.

The figure is cast in a beige pigmented concrete, or "cast stone". He sits on a low pedestal, which is in turn mounted on a large square pedestal. This square pedestal sits on a two-tiered base. It is possible that the base and pedestal were separated when the figure was moved from its original installation.


Back to