Monday, November 26, 2012

Mosaic: Entrance to Civic Center Metro Station

"In the Living Rock" is the title of a mosaic that lines the wall of the planter at the entrance of the Civic Center/Tom Bradley Metro --1st and Hill, Los Angeles. (Wasn't that the last line of a radio jingle?)

Outside the station, not inside. The station serves the Red, Purple, and Silver lines.

The artist is Samm Kunce, and the mosaic was installed in 2004--eight years ago.

According to an MTA press release, "Kunce used a classical composition to depict a hanging garden exquisitely executed in Venetian cake glass mosaic and supported by an expanse of striated sand colored granite. A contrasting black granite ribbon etched with poetry runs through the center of the work." 

The poet is Ovid, who lived in the first century BC--as you can see in this second picture, from the PublicArtinLA site.

Now, Venetian glass is also Murano glass--Murano is an island of Venice. I found a definition of wedding cake glass that says it is lampworked glass (meaning, glass handmade from  rods held over flame) decorated with colorful glass overlays.

I could not find a website for Samm Kunce, just a Facebook and Linkedin page and many short bios on art sites--here's one from the Metro website.  She's based in Brooklyn, manages a NY art gallery, and so most of her work is there, but we've got  "In the Living Rock." Here's the artist's statement, again from a Metro website (as is the picture above):

Organic variation and movement in the glass are suggested in this ancient material when the smalti are left in larger pieces. The mosaic has been set according to the character of key segments allowing a more natural rather than illustrative representation of plant form while the striated granite in its layering refers to geologic time”.

I am adding this picture of the Bryant Park underground station--not in LA--just to show another aspect of her work that complements ours. It comes from the MosaicOfArt blog and is credited to Franz Mayer of Munich.

Given that this is in underground NY, and thinking of Sandy, how eerie is that quote?


Art in LA said...

My son and I took an MTA station art tour recently and surprisingly, we didn't make it to this station. We started at Union Station taking the Red Line to the Hollywood & Highland station, stopping at 4-5 other stations. Really fun docent-led tour. It would have nice to stop at this one too. I'll have to do my own self-directed tour one day ...

Vix said...

It's actually dizzying, the amount of art that MTA has incorporated into its stations.
I'd love to know more about the tours--are they regular events, and where would we hear about them?
Thanks for stopping by--

Art in LA said...

The MTA offers free, regularly scheduled tours. I learned that 0.5% of construction costs were allocated to artwork for each station during my trip. More information here -

I went with a local alumni group starting out of Union Station one Saturday. Here are some pictures from that July tour -


Vix said...

I did enjoy them, and everyone else should too--the pictures are gorgeous shots of the ceilings and artwork at Union Station in Los Angeles, and of a couple of Metro stations nearby.