Metro construction crews began installing Santa Monica’s newest sculpture at the intersection of 4th and Colorado this week.
The “Santa Monica Tears” project has been in the works since 2017 when artist Walter Hood was selected to be one of eight artists who was commissioned to create a new artwork for the final phase of the Expo line, which connects Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica.
After months of anticipation, the art installation is now being placed just outside of the Expo Line’s final stop in Santa Monica, which is fitting because the work is influenced by Santa Monica’s history and geography, according to Metro officials.
“Saint Monica is known as the ‘weeping saint,’ as she was said to have shed tears every night over her son Augustine’s hedonistic lifestyle,” the project description states. “Father Juan Crespi thought of her eyes when he first saw a pair of sacred springs, named Kuruvungna by the local Tongva tribe, at what is now the border of Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. Water has shaped the geology of Santa Monica, eroding the sandstone at the coastline.”
In his statement about the work, Hood said most locals don’t engage with the geology of the area so his work aims to combine the physical and cultural history of Santa Monica. This project specifically looks to use trapezoidal blocks of sandstone and hand-formed glass, which weigh up to 10,000 pounds each and look to recall Saint Monica, Kuruvungna and the Palisades.
As a former chair of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department at UC Berkeley and a Goldman Sachs Design Fellow for the Smithsonian, Hood is known for his work in public spaces and has worked extensively in urban environments. His award-winning work has also been displayed at numerous museums.
In October of 2017, Hood led a community walk, above the cliffs through Santa Monica’s Palisades Park, which culminated at the Camera Obscura with a talk about his social art and design practice and the Metro artwork.