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Lawndale Library
Artist: Anne Marie Karlsen
Title: Subdivisions
Date: 2008
District: Second Supervisorial District
Locations: 14715 Burin Avenue
Lawndale, California  90260
Architects: Gruen Associates
Department: Public Library
Images: Courtesy of Anne Marie Karlsen

Subdivisions is a 20-foot high by 15-foot wide floor to ceiling glass artwork designed by Anne Marie Karlsen and fabricated by Franz Mayer of Munich, Germany.  Initially the artist was inspired by the building and its reference to mid-century modern design, especially related to wall paper and tile patterns.  Karlsen also found inspiration from the painter Piet Mondrian and his geometric division of spaces into rhythmic squares and rectangles.  The combination of these geometric patterns and grids reminded Karlsen of the maps of Lawndale when it was being subdivided for residential lots. 

The artwork is the focal point of the library’s glass corridor and also welcomes visitors entering the new 17,000 square foot space.  Karlsen’s wall is a dominating presence indoors as well as out.  During the day the panels are lit by sunlight and can be read from both outside and inside.  They are illuminated by interior artificial light at night.

The artwork is made up of eight repeated geometric patterned panels of cool blues, greens and yellows.  The patterns are intricate reconfigurations of historical photographs significant to the City of Lawndale.  Karlsen worked closely with the Lawndale Historical Society to research the historic photographs used in the artwork.  The artist notes, “From a distance the images become vibrant abstract patterns that reconfigure integral parts of the neighborhood history.  The artwork acknowledges the past, yet envisions a new, bold design for the future.  Up close the images are readable, like a history book.”  The large-scale, multi-colored art glass is part of the building’s façade facing Burin Avenue.

About the Artist:  Anne Marie Karlsen earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin, and has been teaching art in southern California since 1979.  She is currently Professor of Art at Santa Monica College. Since 1990 she has been commissioned for numerous public projects throughout the country, including the FBI Headquarters in Chicago; Paseo Colorado Development, Pasadena; North Hollywood Red Line station; and Trailside Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska. Her work is represented in many museums throughout California and the U.S., and internationally in the Kulturverwaltung Stadt Salzburg, Austria.

High Resolution Downloadable Images
Subdivisions 1
Subdivisions 2
Subdivisions 3