Michael Davis’ addition to the monumental sculpture collection at CSULB, The Building, the Port, and the Island, was donated to the UAM by the Pacific Towers Associates of Long Beach in 1988 and installed with the participation of Davis in 1988−89.
Through this work, Davis explores the changing complexion of Long Beach. Composed of three physically separate but conceptually unified components, The Building, The Port, and The Island reveals dramatically changing relationships as a viewer approaches the site from different vantage points, exemplifying the concept of a city in transition.
The Building, a vertical bronze form with an overlapping plane of sheet and corrugated steel, is a narration of the construction techniques used in city buildings. The Port, formed by two Cor−ten plates, is inspired by both the massive ship prows at sea and the breakwater which surrounds the Long Beach Harbor. The Island, also built of Cor−ten steel is suggestive of the landforms emerging from the sea. Together these forms allude to the mystery of the port, the lure of the island, and their relationship to the city.
Michael Davis was born in Los Angeles in 1948 and, today, works from his studio in San Pedro, California. A 1971 graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Davis has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts individual artist fellowships (1980 and 1986), the Hand Hollow Fellowship (1984), and the American Institute of Architects Award for Public Art (1995), and has exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. He has completed numerous solo and collaborative public art projects in Southern California and beyond, including works for the Koll Center, Irvine; the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach; the Security Pacific Bank Promenade, Los Angeles; the Justice Center, Seattle; the Sunset/Vermont Metro Red Line Station, Los Angeles; Mission Trails, San Antonio; Arrowhead Arena, Anaheim; Heritage Park, Santa Fe Springs; and the North Hollywood Police Station. Recently, Davis participated in Going Public: Public Projects for NYC, the inaugural exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York, the Season of Sculpture exhibition in Sarasota, and City Space in Seattle.