Courtesy: Bryan Foto
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Lawndale, California

Anne Marie Karlsen (

Lawndale Public Library, 14715 Burin Avenue, Lawndale, California, 90260
Date:  2008
Placement:  libraries (buildings)
Artwork Type:  windows
Material:  glass (material)
Description:  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 cools 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.

In 2008, Subdivisions was among forty works cited as "the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2008" by the Americans for the Arts. It was selected from more than 300 entries nationwide as a Public Art Network Year-in-Review award recipient.

See Anne Marie Karlsen, Acton/Agua Dulce Library

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.

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