individual   relationship   matrix


SF Hall of Justice Glass Design

These slides show my first stained glass design as a hippie as part the Love Generation in SF in 1967. I didn't take drugs and I was older than most drop-outs. But I shared a longing for what it could be like that drew me far out from my dissatisfaction with how it was. It meaning our life, our culture, our world relationships, our work, our creations. But specifically I was at odds with my employers and the art world.

I had quit one glass designing job in NY because my creativity was stifled. I was fired from another one for undervalued creativity. What to do? A competition was announced for an art work for the SF Hall of Justice. What a wonderful place for art, I thought. The facade faced south with gigantic plate glass windows opening to a cavernous interior, a shiny marble-lined hall. Light and sound bounced and ricocheted off the the hard reflective stone floors, walls, and pillars. I envisioned colors in the windows streaming in with the sunlight, warming and healing all within.

My design would not shut out the light, it would rim and enhance it. I made a scale model of the space with marbelized paper and placed it in my windows to study. In Buena Vista park, by swings, amid stoned hippies, stoning juveniles, and joyous playing children, my design blew in with the afternoon fog. On the right hand would be the Matrix, specifically the law. On the left hand would be the Freedom of the Individual. In the middle would be the Relationship, the rainbow bridge, the reconciliation of duality. See the windows. The light fixtures would also be light conditioners. See the light fixtures.

In the Medieval tradition, glass has an art meaning or story in and of itself. When placed in architectural space, that art is not as important as it's light conditioning features. And in people's lives, it is mostly subliminal, affecting their mood, when their consciousness is elsewhere. My design functions on all these levels.

I was tremendously inspired. I felt it was the greatest work I had ever done. While I waited for the judging, I did paintings and a private commission. When I learned that the winner was a famous artist, Peter Voulkos, my depression was unfathomable. His sculpture was outside, beside the door. In it, a form writhed within bars. To me it looked like a terrible message for those entering the hall. It represents the caging Matrix confining the Freedom of the Individual. We had the same theme. Ironically, recently I read that there is a suggestion to relocate the sculpture because it is not a good place for it. I still believe mine might have changed history and made the spirit sing, not cower.

In any case, the failure changed my history profoundly. It led to Stained Glass Lib and Wholeo Dome, which dominated the next 14 years of my life. After an interim, in 2004, the stained glass story continues. I lost the original Hall of Justice designs in Staten Island, NY, unfortunately. All I have are 35mm slide transparencies and a sketchbook of design ideas.

Windows. Fixtures. See also Ideas, environment, roots, and surround for Wholeo Dome. Back to Art in San Francisco.

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© 1967, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2011 Caroling All rights reserved. Last modified: 2011-07-27