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Beverly Center as art gallery? How some big-name artists are behind those construction barricades

You may have seen it on your way to the Apple store. You likely rushed by.

Stitched into the Macy’s wing of the Beverly Center — now an eyesoreof construction scaffolding and detour signage due to a massive renovation — is recently installed art by Lisa Anne Auerbach to temper the clutter. The temporary, site-specific work, “Strik Strikke, 2017,” is a mural more than 1,000 feet long depicting intricate knitting patterns rendered in candy-colored hues and a pixelated effect.

The work is both a distraction from the construction and a meta commentary on it. The mural is embedded with playful wordplay and symbols addressing the surrounding landscape (think orange construction cones, security cameras and ripe fruit opposite the Apple store). It also has nods to a broader political landscape (think human silhouettes carrying protest signs and a pink 1960s feminist symbol, the Venus sign with a raised fist inside).

Auerbach’s work is part of a Beverly Center art project that’s morphing along with the building’s $500-million renovation. As the mall makes way for a new food hall, parking lot and updated facade, art in the form of construction barricades and scaffolding scrims brightens the space and injects passing shoppers with a bit of culture. Independent curator Jenelle Porter organized the project in association with the Hammer Museum and brought in Barbara Kruger, Catherine Opie, Sharon Lockhart and other big name artists who Porter felt would be provocative.

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