Reaction shots: Ground-level perspective on Bruce Nauman’s skywriting art piece

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Even more than the other photos we’ve seen so far of Saturday’s skywriting work over the Arroyo, we love this action shot by Keith Birmingham of people in a Rose Bowl parking lot experiencing the overhead display from the ground. Looks like a message written in the heavens is still out-of-the-ordinary enough to stop people in their tracks.

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If you missed it, the image below is of what they were looking at. The skywriting piece was part of the Armory Center for the Arts‘ ongoing 20th anniversary celebration.

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And in case the message has left you scratching your head, it helps to read up on the context behind the larger-than-life installation. (Artist Bruce Nauman first proposed the work in 1969.) Petrea Burchard over at Pasadena Daily Photo has a good explainer for that a-ha! moment.

No meteors here: A message in the heavens for Pasadena

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In exactly one month, you should look up into the skies above Pasadena. (Don’t worry, we’ll remind you.)

In conjunction with the Armory Center for the Arts 20th anniversary exhibition — “Installations Inside/Out” — the Armory will carry out an exhibition that was proposed in 1969 but never made it into production.

Maybe the 40 year delay was because this piece, titled “1969/2009,” requires a very large canvas — the sky.

Conceived of by contemporary American artist Bruce Nauman, noted by Armory staff for his “mischievous humor,” the skywriting display will contain a special message pertaining to land use and art.

If you want to read the exact message that will be spelled out across the sky above the Arroyo, feel free to do so here (you’ll need to scroll down through the calendar), but we think the display will carry more gravity (and poignant laughs) if you ignore the spoilers. (We wish we had.)

The part-visual, part-performance art will take place on Sept. 12 over the Arroyo Seco, with the best viewing lasting from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on La Loma Bridge, the Colorado Street Bridge and in Brookside Park.

And, lest your eyes deceive you, the exhibition is free and open to the public. That’s right folks: Use of your eyeballs = still priceless.

(Photo, not the work of Nauman but playful nonetheless, courtesy Kayla Campana)