Temple Emanu-El

Medellín first began working in mosaic in 1955 and quickly began to use the medium for public commissions, often with highly innovative results. In 1956 he collaborated with the artist György Kepes on the monumental mosaic "Menorah" for Temple Emanu-El. Rather than embed the gold and silver “tiles” into a uniform surface, as is typically done with mosaic, Medellín and Kepes inserted them in the grout lines of the sanctuary wall. The result is a glowing and ethereal composition, its metallic colors cascading down the backdrop of the sanctuary wall from above.  A few years after he retired from teaching in 1979, Medellín completed his last public art commission, "The Promised Land," for Temple Emanu-El. The jagged array of welded copper sheets represents the people of Israel escaping through the Red Sea—shown as two sets of brass-coated copper tubes.