Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Central Library at 90: Public Art Abounds



"Light of Learning"
(1926) by Lee Lawrie
As the beloved Los Angeles Central Library reaches 90 years young, it's a fascinating time to enjoy the Library's two distinct eras of public art and architecture.  For the original 1926 Goodhue building, the exterior limestone bas relief sculptures were artistically fused into the architectural facades.  The interior murals, stencil painting and sculptural lighting were designed in tandem with the architectural structure of walls, arches and ceilings.

With the Library's renovation in 1993, new sculptures and murals were integrated into the restored Goodhue building, the new Bradley Wing and Atrium, and the Maguire Gardens.

The Library Chandeliers

Compare the different approaches to integrating public art and architecture with the Library's famous chandeliers.  In the Goodhue Building Rotunda, the bronze and glass "Zodiac Chandelier" draws the view upward to the painted sunburst ceiling.  In the Bradley Wing Atrium, skylights flood the hall with light, illuminating the chandeliers and lamp sculptures as well as the glass-fronted reading rooms. 

Bradley Wing Atrium
"Natural, Technological, Ethereal"
(1993) by Therman Statom
"Illuminations"
(1993) by Ann Preston
Goodhue Building Rotunda
"Zodiac Chandelier"
(1926) by Lee Lawrie
"Americanization of California" mural
(1932) by Dean Cornwell
untitled rotunda ceiling stenciling
(1926) by Julian Garnsey