Montefiore Medical Center (Bronx, NY) was so taken with artist Laurel Porcari’s 2015 free-standing artwork, We Are Stardust, that in 2016 they requested a second work, Our Celestial Bodies; effectively turning the commissions into a two-part series. Both artworks were made for Einstein Hospital’s Weiler Lobby located on the Montefiore campus.
While the fabrication methods and materials for both projects are largely the same, Our Celestial Bodies consists of five discs hung on a wall, while We Are Stardust is a free-standing structure with decorative, steel armature. Our Celestial Bodies’ discs are made of fused art glass, set into circular, monolithic style frames that float just above reception seating, visually anchoring the waiting area just inside the entrance to the hospital. Dimensions: (1) 48″ diam, (1) 38″ diam, (3) 26″ diam.
One of the goals of Our Celestial Bodies was to create a dialog between itself and We Are Stardust, linking each thematically and visually. According to the artist, We Are Stardust is based on our mutual humanity and our place in the universe, while its sister piece, Our Celestial Bodies is based on our individual and unique souls that form that universe. Further, the glass discs are reminiscent of portholes that look through the wall to something greater. The patterns, complex and captivating, encourage people to study them and their optic qualities, achieving moments of contemplation and calm in an otherwise busy, stressful setting.
Multiple material techniques came together to realize both projects. The artist’s full scale glass design drawings, which detailed the exact color and location of thousands of pieces of glass, were used by our fabrication team to create the works. For example, two layers of our colored sheet glasses, in specific color styles, were cut down into small strips, laid out, dusted with black glass powder, fused to a clear glass base and then laminated to mirror. This achieved the desired light reflection, color richness, and depth.
Our Celestial Bodies is part of The Fine Art Program and Collection at Montefiore Einstein. For more information visit: https://montefiorefineartprogram.squarespace.com
And for more information about kilnformed glass in healthcare settings, see our article and short video on the subject.