Los Angeles stops to stare and reALIze
In Downtown Los Angeles, there is a new and massive post-modern work of art to behold nestled in the Nokia Plaza, across the street from the Staples Center. No, it is not a new piece of street art or a large tribute to the Lakers, but rather a jumble of boxing bags, aluminum tubing, and stainless steel. Dennis Ponce, who has come to observe the monument, walks his 10-year-old son Chris up to a mat on the ground that provides the perfect point of view to reveal the inspiration that is reALIze. The view from the spot reveals the face of boxing legend and cultural icon Muhammad Ali. When asked by his son who the man is, Ponce responds, "That is Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer to ever live. There won't be another like him."
The reALIze exhibit, a monument dedicated to arguably the single greatest boxer to float around a boxing ring, is on display until only April 9, and is free to the public. The creative force behind the tribute of Ali is Michael Kalish, known for his portraits that use license plates as his unique medium. Kalish also employed the help of Los Angeles based architectural firm Oyler Wu Collaborative to help with his daunting three-year project.
Kalish used five miles of stainless steel, two miles of aluminum tubing, and 1,300 silver and black boxing speed bags.
While sports fans surely admire the monument, it has also attracted others who find no interested in sports involving boxing gloves or any other type of equipment. Megan Hillis and Erika Freedman didn't know it was a monument of Muhammad Ali. "Oh it's Muhammad Ali? I didn't even know that," Hillis said as she laughed. Freedman adds, "Of course we've heard of him. We just didn't realize that it's supposed to be him." Despite the lack of knowledge, both Hillis and Freedman still admitted that they found the monument a piece of art.
"The thing that to me stands out the most is that is sums up Muhammad Ali's legacy perfectly. I can't imagine anyone else having something like this built for them," said Stanley Bonds, a self-proclaimed boxing enthusiast. "Not only is Muhammad Ali known in the sporting world, he has transcended that realm and has become a cultural and global icon. He is known throughout the world."