Altadena Is a Nod to the L.A. Sky

In a good way.

A series of white paper rectangles is suspended from the ceiling of the Tacoma Art Museum's cafe, forming an abstract skyscape. The piece fills the entire space overhead, row upon row of paper rectangles with thin wooden X's across them. Hundreds of miniature kites hang in parallel rows, staggered, the kites more crowded in some areas, less in others. Entitled Altadena, this work by Jacob Hashimoto is a nod to his home sky, the white kites hung in rolling swells to replicate the piling-up of clouds that occurs along the hilly coastline near Los Angeles—specifically over Altadena, Calif., where the artist was living when he created this work (2002–2004). The kites are made from kozo, a handmade Japanese paper crafted from the strong fibers of the mulberry tree. An American artist (b. 1973) of Japanese descent, Hashimoto often uses silk, bamboo, and Japanese papers in his work, creating installation pieces similar to this one: many simple objects hung to form a crowd of texture and patterning. Inevitably the museum cafe window contains a flat grey Tacoma sky, and one is struck by just how Californian this dramatic installation is. 

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