Welcome to CHINATOWNLAND!
Official site dedicated to the history and legend of the CHINATOWNLAND sign.
Located on 935 Hill Street, Chinatown Los Angeles, CHINATOWNLAND is a sculpture by artist Andre Yi. Erected in July 2002, the sign was Andre’s piece for “Landmark Photo Salon”, a site-specific project organized by Annie Shaw from Leefahsalung at the New China Town Barber Shop. Andre welded together raw steel and cut out thirteen letters with 1/8” thin luan, projecting that the sign would last for about three months.
Five years later, CHINATOWNLAND continues to stand tall on the vacant lot formerly occupied by the Grandview Restaurant. Together they have become a part the mythology of Los Angeles, serving as a theatrical backdrop for tourists, artists, and filmmakers. Few know the origin of the sign, yet many have speculated. To celebrate its fifth year anniversary, Andre and Annie present you this website to address the origin of CHINATOWNLAND, and to collect sights and legends of the sign.
Here is the statement Andre wrote to accompany the sign in 2002:
In 1923 the now famous "HOLLYWOOD" sign was erected. Originally, it read "HOLLYWOODLAND", and was an advertisement for a real-estate development project. In 1945, the last four letters were removed and the sign was donated to the City of Los Angeles. It gained official landmark status in 1973 and underwent a facelift in 1978, which cost approximately $27,000 per letter (It cost the original developers $21,000 for the whole sign.)
Los Angeles has become the model for a decentralized megalopolis. In current events, the city of Los Angeles is fighting to keep Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley from secession. (The Valley would be the third largest city in the nation; Los Angeles would be the fifth). The loss of Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley would contribute to the current trend of decentralization. Los Angeles is a conglomeration of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor and community. West Hollywood, Silverlake, Venice, Koreatown, Chinatown; Angelenos visit these parts of the city for different reasons, and few long time residents visit them all on a regular basis. "CHINATOWNLAND" was constructed in hopes of bridging the gap between different parts of Los Angeles, to bring recognition to Chinatown as a place as interesting and vibrant as Hollywood.