Metro Artworks

The Metro D Line (Purple) shares the Metro B Line (Red) track until Wilshire/Vermont where it forks and ends with two stops in Koreatown. Within the next decade, service will expand west to reach LACMA (by 2023), Beverly Hills (2025) and UCLA (2027). Possible destinations include: Wiltern Theater, MacArthur Park, Staples Center, LA Convention Center, Grand Central Market, the Music Center, Grand Park.

May Sun, Richard Wyatt, City of Dreams/River of History

City of Dreams/River of History

Project Description Today, the Los Angeles River is encased in concrete and artificially diverted from its natural path; but it originally flowed near the Metro Headquarters Gateway site. On its banks grew willow trees, cattails, curtains of grapevines, sycamore and cottonwood trees. In the river there lived minnows, trout and lampreys. The west bank of the river chosen as a natural settling site because of the fertility of the soil and the abundance of water for irrigation. Acutely aware of the overlays of natural and cultural histories on the Union Station site (which was once the crossing of several trails used by local indigenous tribes, the later  settling place of the pobladores as well as Los Angeles’s original Chinatown), this artist team’s multifaceted work seeks to create a sense of place resonant of the history and pre-history of the site. The artwork is a unique collaboration between two artists, May Sun and Richard Wyatt, who worked together to develop all elements of the artwork’s multiple interlinking elements including the 80 foot long mural, aquarium, floor …

Civic Center Benches

Artist(s):

Project Description Peter Reiquam specializes in the design and fabrication of public furnishings that are both fun and utilitarian. Reiquam has created a sleek series of four subway ‘sofas’ for the Civic Center Station platform. The benches have been constructed from a carefully considered system of durable granite slabs that relate to the station’s formal geometry. The composition of each bench provides an air of comfortable domesticity with a configuration that encourages commuters to converse with one another. The highly polished granite surface provides a pleasurable smoothness that reflects a sophisticated palette of carnelian red, sage green and jet black arranged in colorful juxtaposition. Artist Statement “I have designed the benches in a modular style that relates to the formal grid of the paving tiles and the overall symmetry of the station. The pieces are sculptural and contemporary and suggest a stylized version of domestic furniture. The polished surface exposes the intricacy of the stone’s interior.” About the Artist PETER REIQUAM is a Seattle based artist who obtained his Master of Fine Arts from the Yale …

Divining Los Angeles Landscapes: Woodlands to Watersheds

Project Description Divining Los Angeles Landscapes: Woodlands to Watersheds On display in Union Station Passageway Art Gallery July 2015-July 2016 Photo based artworks by three artists invite visitors to Union Station to explore the histories, paradoxes, ironies and majesties of Los Angeles landscapes. The thirty-six illuminated color and black-and-white photographs on display in this passageway meander from ethereal botanical specimens at large scale to vistas of the wild urban edges, and the connective unnatural nature in between. Joyce Campbell – In the Ether Ken Gonzales-Day – Oak and Thistle: Views of the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains John Humble – Natura Urbanus About the Artist JOYCE CAMPBELL (b. 1971, New Zealand) earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Canterbury University and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in creative practice. She has lectured at a number of universities, including California State University, Northridge, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, the University of Auckland Elam School of the Arts and the University of California, Irvine. Her interdisciplinary work has been …

Francisco Letelier, El Sol / La Luna

El Sol / La Luna

Echoing the vibrant color scheme which dominates the Westlake/MacArthur Station, intense blues, reds, and yellows are woven together in two ceramic tile murals which enrich the mezzanine end walls.

Festival of Masks Parade

Artist(s):

Project Description Romero’s Festival of Masks Parade is a sixty-foot curved mural located at the west end of the Wilshire/Normandie Station. This colorful and festive mural depicts the annual parade of masks held along Wilshire Boulevard each fall. Many characters in full regalia stroll along the Boulevard including a Chinese dragon, people in African masks, a Native American eagle dancer, a Korean traditional dancer, a group from a Brazilian carnival, a giant calavera puppet, a marching band and bagpipe player, and the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. A bright red convertible leads the parade. In the mural’s background one can see a sampling of local architecture: the Craft and Folk Art Museum, an art deco camera store, the Brown Derby, the El Rey Theatre, Bullock’s Wilshire and the May Co. Building. The whole scene is framed by a sky that goes from night to day, with a bright moon and tall slender palm trees. Artist Statement “I selected this theme because the parade is a popular event which celebrates the rich multi-ethnic cultural traditions of Southern California …

Michele Asselin, Forward Motion

Forward Motion

Artist(s):

Project Description Michele Asselin is best known for her photographic portraiture focusing on individual identities within larger social constructs. Her past work includes a series of portraits of domestic workers and a series of photographs about the loss of Hollywood Park Race Track. For this artwork, Asselin has created luminous portraits of an urban planner, mechanic, bus operator, rail security officer and other professions. The artist found inspiration in the personal and professional stories that drew her subjects to Metro. Forward Motion was installed on the occasion of Womens’ History Month 2019 and celebrates women working in a range of professions at Metro. It also features members of the inaugural Women and Girls Governing Council created by Metro CEO Phil Washington. The Council is tasked with exploring ways Metro can achieve a more gender-balanced workforce, accelerate career advancement for women and improve mobility for female ridership. Visit the expanded page on Forward Motion here. Artist Statement “With Forward Motion, I want to highlight the women of Metro as well as the environments in which they work. My hope is that the Metro patrons who …

I Dreamed I Could Fly

Project Description In a reflection of the universal motif of flight as spiritual journey, Jonathan Borofsky’s I Dreamed I Could Fly is an interpretation of the artist’s dreams of soaring above ground. The six fiberglass figures, all resembling the artist, hover and cast large shadows in the high bay area of Civic Center Station. The work has an audio element as well—the figures are accompanied by an occasional trill of a bird. The numbers on the sculptures are a particular characteristic of Borofsky’s work: the artist consecutively numbers all of his work—from working notes and sketches to finished artworks. Artist Statement “I’ve had quite a few flying dreams in my lifetime. Many other people I’ve spoken to have had similar dreams. Sometimes I fly above it all, serene and rather enlightened…other times my flying dreams seem more like an escape from earthly concerns.” About the Artist JONATHAN BOROFSKY grew up in Boston and was educated at Carnegie-Mellon, Yale, and the Ecole de Fountainbleau in France. Borofsky’s work has been exhibited at galleries and museums around the world. In …

In the Living Rock

Artist(s):

Project Description Artist Samm Kunce’s artwork explores ideas gathered from science and literature. The celebration of inherent beauty of natural materials is a recurrent theme in her work. Kunce’s tile mural at the 1st and Hill St. entrance to the Civic Center station runs the length of the curved planter bed wall. The artist has used a classical composition to reflect the tonal shift of the landscape to the subterranean, and has depicted 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 a passage praising the beauty of organic forms from the poet Ovid runs through the center of the piece. Artist Statement “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 …

Journeys: LA Communities Through the Eyes of Artists

Project Description Journeys: LA Communities Through the Eyes of Artists On display in Union Station Passageway Art Gallery, June 2017-August 2018 Each artwork on display in this passageway focuses on a particular neighborhood or city within Los Angeles County “through the eyes of artists.” The artists capture the look and feel of each place from a personal perspective, highlighting special, surprising, unexpected or lesser-known facets of those communities. Lush urban gardens, backyard barbecues, street parades, cemeteries and even a fantastical underwater world are among the subjects for these idiosyncratic works of art. Following in the tradition of colorful travel destination posters, the artworks are part of a series—typically presented on posters inside buses and trains—that encourages riders to explore communities throughout the expanding Metro transit system. Featuring the original artworks by  twelve artists who created posters for the Through The Eyes of Artists series: Jonathan Anderson (Gardena), Walter Askin (Pasadena), Sarajo Frieden (Venice), Wakana Kimura (Inglewood), Christine Nguyen (Long Beach), Mary Ann Ohmit (Azusa), Sam Pace (Leimert Park), Jane Gillespie Pryor (Whittier), Aaron Rivera (Lakewood), Artemio Rodríguez …

LA: City of Angels

Artist(s):

Project Description  This large painting on aluminum panels is located above the escalators at the west entrance to the Metro B Line (Red) subway station.  It conceptually combines the history of the founding of Los Angeles by eleven Mexican, Native American and African American families, with angels from different religions. The artist constructed eleven wings, each representing one of the founding families and named for an angel, which hover over the blue and green California coastline. The metaphorical references of each wing are: Ram’khastra: Angel of Rarified Air Sui’el: Angel of Earthquakes Mika’il: Angel of Insomnia Gabriel: Angel of Mercy Janax: Angel of Monday Sut: Angel of Lies Zahun: Angel of Scandal Dagiel: Angel of Fish Sofiel: Angel of Vegetables Rohab: Angel of the Sea Nogah: Cools the Earth in Summer Artist Statement “Increasingly, artists are responding to the particular history of a place and its people as a source of both ideas and raw materials. It is an area that has interested me for at least fifteen years. LA: City of Angels is intended …

Neons for Pershing Square

Project Description In 1924 the first neon sign in the United States was posted around the corner from Pershing Square. Commemorating this art form, neon artist Antonakos created Neons for Pershing Square, a series of neon sculptures suspended from the station’s high ceiling. The twelve sculptures, with their imaginative shapes and bright colors, create an exciting, lively atmosphere in this modern station. This project received a Best of Downtown award from the Downtown News in 1994. Artist Statement “The neons are meant to be seen each for themselves, in combinations and as a total group. The forms are open, allowing architectural elements to be seen through them. This means that not only the columns, the ceiling and the walls, but the space all around them is brought into the experience of the art.” About the Artist STEPHEN ANTONAKOS was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States as a small child. Antonakos began exhibiting his work in the late 1950s and began working with neon ten years later. His work is included in the permanent …

No Title

Artist(s):

Project Description Bob Zoell has abstracted the appearance and arrangement of typographic design symbols to create a bold and graphic series of ceramic tile murals. The artwork covers four columns at station platforms: two on the upper level and two in the lower. Each column is approached as a four-sided painting. Zoell favored a palette of citrus yellow, velvety black, crisp white and vivid pea green to deliberately frame his composition of stenciled syllables and symbols. The artist worked carefully to establish an animated and playful dynamic between his characters. Text appears to dance at it’s own happy pace, while other figures run off kilter as if ready to jump off the columns to greet commuters. Both pairs of columns also serve as symbolic gateways announcing the arrival and departure of passengers. Clown-like faces composed of punctuation marks grin at commuters on the platform entrance sides, while the sides facing the tracks feature a circus of letters “go”-“ing” “by”-by”. Artist Statement “To be in love with language is to love not only collectively what letters …

People Coming / People Going

Artist(s):

Project Description Wyatt has designed two 52-feet long ceramic tile murals for the end walls of the Wilshire/Western Station. People Coming presents portraits of members of the community as they approach the viewer; People Going shows some members of that group walking away. Portions of the famous Wiltern Theater, located just across from the station entrance, can be seen in the back-ground. Painted in Wyatt’s realistic and dramatic style, the mural’s theme is at once the diversity of Los Angeles, its possible future, and a metaphor for a city always in transition. Artist Statement “I am interested in connecting with people through my art. In today’s corporate world the human element seems often to get lost—I try to bring back the human connection by monumentalizing people rather than buildings and objects. Hopefully, people will connect to the idea of how important they are to making the city, and mass transit, work. It was a challenge trying to translate the sensitivity of painting into tile. I spent over six months just experimenting with this new medium. Most of the finished …

Pae White, The Beppins

The Beppins

Artist(s):

Project Description An arrangement of organic sculptural benches with circular paving medallions provides seating for this busy Metro Rapid stop; a collaboration with Tom Marble. About the Artist PAE WHITE is a highly acclaimed artist who has exhibited extensively in the United States and abroad and worked in a wide variety of mediums and materials. She is well known for her design-referencing artwork. Recent projects include public art commissions for Selfridges in London, Watershed at Bear Mountain State Park in New York, State of California East End Complex in Sacramento, as well as solo museum shows at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand and at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Westwood. Display year: 2003 – Locations: Wilshire/Western Station

Person with bike passing Installation of portraits of Metro Artists

The Makers: Portraits of Metro Artists by Todd Gray

Artist(s):

Project Description The Makers: Portraits of Metro Artists by Todd Gray On display in Union Station Passageway Art Gallery, August 2016 – June 2017 This series of photographic portraits present the artists behind the artworks in the Metro system. The illuminated photographs on display in this passageway depict the artists in their homes and studios, providing a glimpse into their distinct personalities and cultural influences. Portraits were created by Todd Gray, a professional photographer and internationally exhibited artist born and raised in Los Angeles. He works in multiple genres including photo-based works as well as sculpture, paintings, performance and public art. Portraits of  Carmen Argote, Judith Baca, Bill Bell, East Los Streetscapers (David Botello & Wayne Healy), Charles Dickson, Roy Dowell, Martin Durazo, June Edmonds, Cheri Gaulke, Ken Gonzales-Day, Phyllis Green, Clement Hanami, Phung Huynh, Joe Lewis, Ronald Llanos, Jessica Polzin McCoy, Man One, Michael Massenburg, Christine Nguyen, Noni Olabisi, John Outterbridge, Sam Pace, Sonia Romero, Sandra Rowe, Alison Saar, Shizu Saldamando, Peter Shire, May Sun, Cha-Rie Tang, and Richard Wyatt. About the Artist TODD GRAY (b. 1954, Los Angeles, California) works in multiple genres, including photo-based works, as well as sculpture, painting, performance, and public art. He began his career as a rock …

Terry Schoonhoven, Traveler

Traveler

Traveler, a tile mural located at the bottom of the escalator at the east entrance of the subway station, depicts travelers from different eras in a Los Angeles “timescape” that features historical references such as Spanish galleons, the Pico House, Olvera Street and actress Carol Lombard.

Christopher Sproat, Union Chairs

Union Chairs

Project Description Bold, sculptural chairs take their influence from the elegant, wood and leather seating located above the platform, in historic Union Station. The granite benches echo the form of the lobby chairs installed in the 1930’s, and provide spacious seating with wide armrests, which adds a sense of grandeur to the experience of commuting. Artist Statement “In the old station each traveler is treated as a dignified being at an almost royal event. Following the architect’s example, I decided for this project to use the concept of ‘union’ as my theme. This is a union of the old and the new stations and symbolizes a union of person and building as well.” About the Artist CHRISTOPER SPROAT was born in Boston and studied art at Boston University, the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts, and Skohegan School of Fine Arts. Sproat has created public sculptures for a number of transit systems and government buildings. He has received many awards and grants from entities that include the National Endowment for the Arts, Humanities Council, and the …