Crenshaw | I-105 Station (Hawthorne)
One of the busiest Green Line stations, Crenshaw, features an art piece worthy of an hour’s visit. On the ground level of the station, where passengers catch Metro and inter-community buses, is the mosaic marvel, Crenshaw Stories (1995) by Buzz Spector.
Weary travelers at Crenshaw find their minds and souls awakened after taking a moment to read hand-painted passages on the colorful tiled mural. Stories are displayed high and low on the wall like fabric squares on a quilt. Some of the writings on the wall are banal monologues, others comical blurbs, heartbreaking verses, uplifting quotations and stirring poems. Nearby benches that resemble open books add to the visual appreciation.
Spector’s intention to be culturally inclusive in his piece shines through. The stories are presented from several ethnic points of views – and in 72 of L.A.’s frequently spoken languages. Aesthetically pleasing the eye, at least from a westerner’s perspective, are passages etched from non-Roman based alphabet languages, including Cambodian and Russian.
Crenshaw Station, 11901 S. Crenshaw Blvd, Hawthorne, CA, USA , +1 323-466-3876
Aviation | LAX Station (Westchester)
About 3 miles from the bustle of LAX airport is Aviation Station. At this stop, travelers can reflect on famous, enthralling words from two of the most important literary figures in 20th century America: Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. On the station’s upper deck, artist Richard Turner presents their words in separate red-framed glass parallelograms, which resemble ‘50s era television boxes. Hughes’ renowned poem ‘A Dream Deferred’ is written in its entirety, while the simple yet powerful line from Ellison’s novel, ‘I am the invisible man’, is capsuled.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Turner showcased ‘A Dream Deferred’ and ‘Invisible Man’ for the Aviation Station project, ‘Untitled’ (1995) – the Metro project pays homage to the ‘50s, and both Hughes and Ellison’s premier works were published early in that decade.
Douglas Station (El Segundo)
Logophiles rejoice – industrial-inspired Douglas Station in greater Los Angeles’ South Bay will have you in rapture. Renée Petropoulos’ ‘Untitled’ (1995) is a showcase of words – arguably at their most galvanizing – along the Green Line. Huge ‘mirror image’ white letters painted on black spell out conjugations of the verb ‘to be’ in various languages. For example, ‘Nosotros estamos’ (‘We are’ in Spanish).
The other principal word-centric feature at Douglas is the set of stairways. Each gray cement step, engraved with words or sentences, are improbably fascinating. When the words are taken together, each stairway tells a kind of fragmented story — or is it just a stream of consciousness? Station viewers can decide for themselves.
Douglas Station, 700 S. Douglas St, El Segundo, CA, USA, +1 800-366-6883