New lightbox art displays at Union Station show “The Heart of Los Angeles”

lightbox display

Many of you may have noticed already: there’s a new art display in the passageway that connects Union Station East to Union Station West. The display, organized by Metro Art, consists of 30 lightboxes installed along the passageway walls and showcases photographic artwork. The first artworks to be featured come just in time for Union Station’s 75th anniversary and celebrate the station as “The Heart of Los Angeles.”

“The Heart of Los Angeles” series introduces 30 photographic artworks created by five artists: Suzanne Adelman, Sam Comen, Kevin McCollister, Jim McHugh and Catherine Opie. Each artist contributed six photographs that relate to the station’s architectural heritage, transit usage, cultural significance and its physical and social relationship to neighboring communities.

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Keep reading after the jump for more on the artists.

Suzanne Adelman
Suzanne Adelman’s work highlights the beauty of the station’s outdoor spaces and natural assets, recognizing that busy commuters and travelers may overlook them in the hustle to catch a train or bus. She hopes the imagery will coax the traveler outside, to relax and refresh themselves or at least temporarily transport them to a more tranquil state of mind.

Sam Comen
Sam Comen explores the character of historically significant sites by shooting environmental portraits of the people who live and work in these locales. Using an upward gaze and crisp, hyper-real lighting, he casts the everyday people he has encountered at Union Station as heroic, with the goal of elevating daily life and celebrating mundane moments in this public place that might otherwise be overlooked.

Kevin McCollister
Taking as a point of departure Los Angeles’s role as a center of both film and drama, Kevin McCollister presents Union Station and its immediate surroundings as “ready for a close-up.” He treats the iconic building as well as the people and places of its surrounding neighborhood with equal respect—from a solid stone arch in the station to an ephemeral cluster of cotton candy.

Jim McHugh
Inspired by the architectural landmarks of his childhood in Los Angeles that were disappearing, Jim McHugh began making portraits of a certain category of Los Angeles “celebrities”—the buildings around us, some forgotten and silent. Rather than simple documents of architecture, the photographs serve as portraits as they present impressions of both character and personality.

Catherine Opie
Drawing on a long history of documenting iconic places and people in the city of Los Angeles, each grouping of Catherine Opie’s images reflects on the site of Union Station, representing details not only of its physical location, but also time and passage with a metaphoric relationship to light and vision. The work wonders at the romantic notion of traveling, the comings and goings, the greetings that happen over the years.

“The Heart of Los Angeles” will remain on display for approximately one year. New rotations of artworks will follow.

Initiated in 2001, the Metro Art Lightbox Program provides photography exhibits that engage a broad range of Metro riders on their daily commute.

10 replies

  1. I remember the blue-light displays in the Blue Line tunnel when it opened (~20 years ago). Too bad they were removed. Would be nice to see something like that again.

  2. I can just imagine all the commuters stopping to admire the lightbox art displays as then run down the tunnel to catch their next train.

    I truly hope that those recent tunnel renovations were for something more practical than simply artbox light displays… Is this how are taxpaying money and monthly fees are being put to use? Personally, I’d rather see our money and fees go to safety upgrades or rail line improvements which make the commute more pleasant. Anyone disagree?

  3. I agree.

    Usually the whining argument from the pseudo-liberals is that “oh but it’s only 1% of the budget, I’d rather have a station that’s full of art, blah-blah-blah.”

    But seriously, let’s bring back some common sense here. Art does not make any money and there is no urgent need to install artwork today. Those can be added later when Metro is in a far better financial shape.

    Even if the money is 1% of the budget, that’s a lot of money when the total Metro budget is $1 billion dollars. One percent of a billion is $10 million dollars. Ten million would be way better spent on technological upgrades and other investments that actually helps bring long term revenues to Metro. Adding more gates, fixing TAP, adding more retail space, all of these things are higher priority issues than art.

    Make money first, then do art later. Not the other way around.

  4. Marveling at light boxes won’t fix frustration from long delays. Better spend our money in other ways.

  5. Ooh new artwork. Interesting the first day, already old the next day and a month later no one cares. Just sits there eating up electricity at taxpayers’ expense and brings no extra revenue into the system.

    What would’ve a better use of our tax dollars? Hmm, how about instead of art, we could’ve spent the same amount of money to improve signages at Union Station?

    Ooh finally a new sign. Helpful for transit riders everyday and helps out newcomers to transit to find their way. Something helpful, something that actually does something useful for transit riders.

    How about instead of art, we could’ve spent the same amount of money to add in a retail space or kiosk in the hall?

    Ooh a new retail stand. A way for Metro to make more revenues from rent income and for the city to gain new sales tax revenue from goods sold. Always something for people to buy and every single penny earned is one extra penny that helps fund mass transit.

  6. Seriously? You’d rather have another store than artwork? You must be joking. Art enriches your life, gives you perspective and appeals to your senses and emotions. Maybe you don’t like this particular artwork, but please, get a little education and learn to appreciate and accept art. Art, not stores, enhances our culture.