Mosaic art in public spaces has become a steady source of innovative artwork. Recently, a variety of large-scale glass mosaic art pieces were unveiled in New York City – each different, each inspiring for mosaic artists everywhere.
Here’s a preview of the must-visit installations, each showcasing the glow, shine, and luster that can be achieved with glass mosaic tiles.
Day Into Night into Day
Amy Pryor’s series of mosaic murals glows in the hallways of the Mott Haven/138th and Grand Concourse subway station in the Bronx. This artwork consists of five panels depicting the shifting hours of daylight and darkness across the four seasons.
Viewers can trace the movement of the constellations, stars, and planets from one panel to the next – things that are seldom seen in the ever-awake city. Pryor is known for her works that incorporate aerial and astral maps, photos, and imagery. Day Into Night Into Day is inspired by a 24-hour clock. The cycles of seasonal sunrises, sunsets, night, and daylight hours are each shown in different colors of glass.
Ascending the Mountain
In Harlem, Susan Stair’s multi-faceted glass mosaic art installations tell a big story of the landscape and nature that still exists in the big city. Located along the staired pathway to the Harlem Watchtower, the artwork draws attention to the trees that fill Marcus Garvey Park. As seen above, the journey begins with roots and bedrock. The Roots n Rocks segment is built atop an outcropping of the Manhattan Schist stone.
In the next panel, Growing Powerhouse, shimmering glass tiles illustrate how trees move energy up and out into their environment. On the left and right, it shows gallons of water and minerals as they are carried upward through their trunks. In the center is a representation of photosynthesis, transpiration, and respiration. Here, energy is transformed from light into food for the forest – and moisture is released back into the air.
The last stop, Tree Canopy, is shining away at the top of the staircase. The glass mosaic interpretation of the tree canopy invites walkers to look at it – and then beyond to the actual treetops. The golden overhead is represented beautifully by flowing glass tesserae in a variety of shapes, sizes, and swirling shapes.
No Less Than Everything Comes Together
Large in scale and bright as the sun, Marcel Dzama’s new glass mosaic wall art installations are simply dazzling. The vibrancy and movement of ballet dancers infuse the piece with whimsy and joy.
Nods to NYC are sprinkled liberally throughout – the black-and-white costumes typically worn by NYC Ballet dancers, and appearances by famous Brooklyn residents like Bugsy Siegel and Captain Jonathan Williams — the founder of Williamsburg.
The magic of glass mosaic tiles is clearly evident, as these large panels light up even underground areas, such as their Bedford Avenue station location.
Every One, Each One, Equal All
The newest mosaic installation on the NYC Subway System is also the largest. Measuring in at 3200 sf, Every One, Each One, Equal All is a masterpiece of glass mosaic art. The artist is Nick Cave – who is not usually associated with this art form.
Cave is normally known for his soundsuits – which you may have encountered in person. Designed to camouflage the shape of the wearer, Cave’s costumes derive inspiration from African art traditions, ceremonial dresses, and haute-couture fashion. They swish, tinkle, and jingle as the wearer performs. Normally, they’re constructed with everyday objects and found materials such as colored hair, crocheted doilies, buttons, beads, fabric, raffia, twigs, toys, and trinkets. Here, they are reproduced in glass tiles that stretch for 360 feet along the passage linking Times Square and 42nd Street.
“Times Square is one of the busiest, most diverse and fabulously kinetic places on the planet,” Cave said in an official statement. “For this project I took the above ground color, movement and cross-pollination of humanity, bundled it into a powerful and compact energy mass that is taken underground.”
With the sheer numbers of glass mosaic wall art popping up in public installations, one might wonder why artists gravitate to the medium for outdoor art projects. At Mozaico, we’re happy to say that we know the answer! We offer an exclusive lifetime warranty on our pieces, which can handle all weather conditions, including severe heat, moisture, temperatures below zero degrees, and chemicals. They’re suitable for even swimming pools!
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