Here’s the Deal with the 30-Foot-Tall Rose Towering Over the Arts District

The work of Isa Genzken gets a prominent place outside Hauser Wirth & Schimmel

As Freddie Mercury once said in an interview, “The bigger the better—in everything,” and that’s objectively true. Monster trucks? Better than normal trucks. Giant Pez dispensers? Better than normal Pez dispensers. The five-pound, $29 “Manuel’s Special” burrito from El Tepeyac Cafe in Boyle Heights? Unequivocally better than normal-sized burritos. And in the case of art, the enlargement of everyday objects as sculpture results in a dramatic finished work. Artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen are perhaps best known for this, creating sculptures of household items blown up to a huge scale (including Giant Pool Balls at LACMA and the binoculars building in Venice). But they’re far from the only ones.

A little over a week ago Arts District gallery Hauser Wirth & Schimmel assembled Rose III—a three-story-tall steel rose sculpture by Isa Genzken—in their courtyard. Genzken, who was described by New York’s Museum of Modern Art as one of the most important female artists of the past 30 years, has produced a wild range of work including paintings, collage, and video. It’s her sculptures, though—and her rose sculptures in particular—that are her most iconic.

Genzken’s first work in this vein was 1993’s silver-leafed Rose, which was installed Leipzig, Germany and is currently on display at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris.

A photo posted by Elle Brooks (@ellebrooks_) on

Her first public installation in the United States was her 2007 work Rose II, a replica of Rose, which was installed on the facade of the New Museum in New York in 2010. An edition of Rose II was recently added to the MoMA sculpture garden.

In March, her work Two Orchids—a monumental sculpture of, yep, two orchids—was unveiled in New York’s Central Park.

Genzken completed Rose III earlier this year. The installation of the sculpture at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel coincides with the gallery’s all-out Isa Genzken exhibition that opens Saturday, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

Thomas Harlander is a staff writer at Los Angeles magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. He recently wrote “This Designer’s Glowing Plastic Cactus Sculptures Are Perfect