It’s not graffiti. It’s not a painter’s mistake. It’s a black, plain, lozenge-shaped mark called a BLP (pronounced “blip”), and it’s a singular form of art that is popping up in unexpected places in Santa Monica and even around the world.
The simple, plain but provocative BLP marks are the idea of pop artist Richard Artschwager, who passed away earlier this year. Each black mark, often placed on the walls of buildings, is meant to bring a viewer’s attention to something that easily could have gone unnoticed, said Laura Hyatt, development director for the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), a nonprofit art organization that is partnering with the Hammer Museum on the BLP project.
Artschwager, who produced art over the course of six decades, blended influences of pop, minimalist and conceptual art.
More than 145 of Artschwager’s works — which include everything from sculptures to paintings and drawings — are currently on exhibit at the Hammer Museum in Westwood until Sept. 1.
Chuck Perliter, owner of Santa Monica Radiator on Lincoln Boulevard near Colorado Avenue, has had a BLP on his building for about three weeks. The BLP has baffled many of his customers, and some mistook it for graffiti. Others didn’t notice it at all, but Perliter said he loves the pill-shaped mark.
“(The BLP) feels positive, it feels happy,” Perliter said. “To me, it’s … an uplifting symbol.”
BLPs can be found at the Santa Monica Pier, Annenberg Community Beach House, L.A. County Fire Department Lifeguard Headquarters and eight other locations in Venice and Santa Monica. BLPs can be found throughout Los Angeles and at The Cosmopolitan hotel in Las Vegas.
To learn more about the art project, visit www.blp.la.
Those who snap a photo of a BLP and post it to Instagram or Twitter with #blpla or #blplv will be entered into a contest and could win a two-night stay at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, a one-year membership with LAND, or a Richard Artschwager catalogue and tote. The first winner will be announced Tuesday.