Artist Daniel Knorr turns potholes into art

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Daniel Knorr and his pothole art
Daniel Knorr and his pothole art (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Imagine a man driving the streets of LA, bottles of water in tow, in search of potholes.  Big, juicy potholes. Artist Daniel Knorr says the biggest difference between our holes-in-the-ground and those in Berlin, where he lives, is that we don’t get much rain here.

So, for him to turn the pothole into an art piece, or a “depression elevation,” as he calls them, he pours water into them first to clean them out (like a wound), then takes a mold with a substance called alginate.

Back in the studio he swirls in color, and, voila, you’ve got a beautiful, colorful impression of something that’s otherwise a nuisance.

But beauty isn’t what this is all about, says Knorr (who says when he was making these impressions in Berlin, a cop stopped him and his team and guarded them from traffic.) Potholes are historic documents, which represent a moment in time.  To wit, another of his projects is retrieving garbage from a city and collecting it into a fine-art book.

By the way, Knorr was intrigued by the fact that we have a number here where you can call to report a pothole.  I didn’t tell him that’s not likely to do much good, these days.  It’s so rare we have one over on the Europeans.

Daniel Knorr’s show “Depression Elevations” is currently on display at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery.