Brett-Livingstone Strong, the sculptor who wanted to turn a downtown Los Angeles hilltop into a huge business complex dominated by a sky-scraping winged angel pointing a sword to the heavens, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Among the creditors listed in the petition filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Woodland Hills is Gensler, the architecture firm whose involvement brought credibility to Strong's City of Angels Monument plan when he introduced it in 1999.
At a cost of $3.55 billion, Strong aimed to acquire nearly 100 acres and build a Gothic-tinged development reminiscent of Gotham City from the "Batman" movies, with three hotels, office buildings, movie theaters and an 8,000-seat underground concert hall. Soaring above it all in Strong's vision was a landmark 750-foot tower topped by the 350-foot bronze angel statue.
Times art critic Christopher Knight attacked the statue design as "hideous." After initial publicity, the plan sank as key financers pulled out.
Working from a Culver City studio, Strong made his mark in the early '80s by sculpting a life-size bronze statue of John Lennon that was displayed at L.A. City Hall and by carving the face of John Wayne into a boulder that had fallen onto Pacific Coast Highway.