Monday, December 9, 2013

Dream of Simultaneous Connection Mosaic

Well, it's got mosaic elements like this astronaut, but it might be more properly called a sculpture.

However, Ned Smyth, the artist and creator, refers to it as a mosaic of steel, stucco, stone, and glass, so who am I to argue?

Smyth created this work, titled "The Dream of Simultaneous Connection,"  in 1996. It stands in Victory Park in Long Beach, which is in the downtown area, just off Ocean Blvd.

For the record, it's 26 feet tall, and 288 by 100 feet wide and long. Or long and wide.

RDA funds were used for this, and it cost $300,000 back in the 1990s.

There's a picture of the "Victory Park, Established 1899" sign on this blog, which is interesting in that it's the blog of someone who was--at least in 2010--homeless. And it has many links to blogs of other homeless people, resources, and more. Which probably shouldn't be surprising to me--who says a homeless person can't blog on a phone or an iPad, after all?--but it is.

We don't have much more of Ned Smyth's work out here because he teaches and works in the New York area. And he does not confine himself to mosaics. But here is a photo of a mosaic he did for the entrance of a Firehouse in Queens, just off the Long Island Expressway. It's from the I'm Just Walkin' blog.

Back to Victory Park in Long Beach.

The park itself was named to honor the veterans of World War I, back in 1919, but the original land was deeded to the city in 1899 by the Long Beach Land & Water Company to settle a lawsuit.  The land was actually part of a bluff back then. Today, it's a long, 4-acre stretch along Ocean Blvd, intesected by several cross streets, and it looks more like stretches of lawn than a park, and it sits in front of towers,condos, and office suites. Any vestige of a natural bluff is long gone.

The art pictured here is between Linden and Atlantic on Ocean--in front of the Harbor Place Towers with the helipad on top.

You can see just how large and spread-out an installation this is in this picture from the artist's own website. The pillars with the big gold ball--which is also a mosaic, as it's covered in gold tile--are part of it as well. As is another element out of sight, to the right of those pillars. There are a couple of lines of cedar (I think) that outline a slab, and on that slab is more white mosaic pictures.

In the model at right, also from the artist's website, the slab and trees are the topmost feature.

Here is what the Arts Council of Long Beach says about the artwork on its site:

"Smyth's sculptures remind us of the sometimes confusing daydreams that we all experience. Steel, stucco, stone, concrete, glass, and gold-leaf mosaic have been used to create a fantasy environment Three independent facades suggest the silhouette of a dismantled house with white outlines of various images decorating each wall. At first glance, one is greeted by a profile of a woman's face, resting her head on the grass. Her expression is calm expression, as if daydreaming. Adjacent is a figure back flipping into space, an astronaut, an owl in flight, a man in a suit lifting an enormous hoop and a girl in a bathing suit balancing on a ball. Four black columns stand to the right pointing towards a rotunda containing a large mystical sphere brilliantly covered in gold tile."

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