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34th Street-Herald Square

Michele Oka Doner

Radiant Site, 1991

Handmade bronze-colored tiles at north end of mezzanine

Michele Oka Doner's Radiant Site, at the busy 34th Street-Herald Square subway station, fills a rectilinear floor-to-ceiling passage with golden light. The midsection of the corridor is the brightest, glazed in copper-toned tiles; the tiles grow darker and reflect less light along the top and bottom of the passageway. The result is a gently glowing surface. The artist made the 11,000 tiles one-by-one by hand on a century-old foot-press at the venerable Pewabic Pottery in Detroit. Their slightly irregular shapes and uneven surfaces were then hand-glazed, varying the recipe in tiny increments so as to achieve the desired luminosity. Doner says that she considers not only the physical and chemical properties of the materials she will use but also "their psychic and cosmic qualities."

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