Mulholland, by Karen Halverson, 2021

Photographer Karen Halverson fell in love with Mulholland in the late 1980s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she saw David Hockney’s exuberant painting, Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio. Once she  moved to Los Angeles, she cruised the real-life Mulholland, taking it all in: rugged mountains rising from the sea, mansions perched on hilltops, giant succulents like saxophones, and the vast grid of the city below. She drove the voluptuous curves of Mulholland countless times, marveling at both the dramatic natural landscape near the coast and the built landscape of the Hollywood Hills. William Mulholland was a controversial water baron who diverted so much water to Los Angeles in 1913 that the immense future growth of the city was inevitable. The road bearing his name was built in 1924 and is still the narrow, two-lane road it was then. While driving the road is thrilling, it may also invite you to ponder the delicate balance between a metropolis of twelve million people and the semi-arid environment it occupies. Mulholland is at the juncture where human will and ingenuity meet the forces of nature. It’s been tough to be tethered to home this past year. Finally, we are now able to move about more freely, but we remain circumspect about travel. Take heart, Angelenos. Mulholland beckons.  

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