Top ten: MTA subway art

See great art with a swipe of your MetroCard

0

Comments

Add +

The MTA Arts for Transit program has been commissioning public art for more than 25 years, recruiting big names (Roy Lichtenstein, Nancy Spero) as well as emerging artists. Currently, there are artworks in more than 225 subway stations around the city, with another 70 pieces in progress. Here are ten of our favorites to look out for. If you want more, download the free Arts for Transit app for your iOS or Android phone, which has a searchable directory of artworks along with directions, photos and podcasts.

  • Photograph: Rob Wilson

    “Masstransiscope” (1980; Restored 2008), ©Bill Brand, DeKalb Avenue Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    Bill Brand’s trippy “Masstransciscope” was installed in 1980 in the now-abandoned Myrtle Ave station on the B and Q lines. It was restored in 2008, and is now visible from Manhattan–bound express trains as they leave the DeKalb Ave platform. Based on a zoetrope (a 19th-century optical toy), the piece consists of 228 panels that create a moving picture visible from the passing train. B, Q to DeKalb Ave

  • Photograph: David Lubarsky

    “Signs of Life” (2000), Jackie Chang, Metropolitan Avenue–Lorimer Street Subway Stations. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    Jackie Chang’s self-described “urban poetry” can be affirming or depressing, depending on your interpretation. Discover if you’re an optimist or a pessimist by pondering vignettes like “Faith/Fate” and “Use/Less.” L to Lorimer St, G to Metropolitan Ave

  • Photograph: Cathy Carver

    “Carrying On” (2004), Janet Zweig and Edward del Rosario, Prince Street Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    This quirky artwork consists of nearly 200 scenes of New Yorkers hauling stuff of various shapes and sizes. Artists Janet Zweig and Edward del Rosario used photographs of real people as their inspiration. N, R to Prince St

  • Photograph: Rob Wilson

    “A Gathering” (2001), Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, Canal Street Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    In “A Gathering,” more than 180 bronze crows, grackles and blackbirds lean on railings and perch in groups around Canal Street station—a little like the commuters on the platforms beneath. A, C, E to Canal St

  • Photograph: Etienne Frossard

    “West Wall, East Light, Morning” (2011), Mary Temple, Neck Road Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    Look closely as you ascend the west stairs leading to the southbound platform, and you’ll notice that the rectangular wall tiles give way to irregularly shaped ceramic shards, overlaid with subtle hand-painted tree silhouettes. Q to Neck Road

  • Photograph: James and Karla Murray

    “Artemis, Acrobats, Divas and Dancers” (2001), Nancy Spero, 66th Street–Lincoln Center Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    In “Artemis, Acrobats, Divas and Dancers,” Nancy Spero tips her hat to nearby Lincoln Center by depicting various performers, as well as divas both real and mythological. 1 to 66th St–Lincoln Ctr

  • Photograph: Rob Wilson

    “My Coney Island Baby” (2004), Robert Wilson, Coney Island–Stillwell Avenue Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    Artist Robert Wilson silk-screened glass bricks to create this high-impact wall, which depicts large-scale scenes of Coney Island, including the amusement park, beach and even hot dogs. D, F, N, Q to Coney Island–Stillwell Ave

  • Photograph: Rob Wilson

    “Times Square Mural” (2002), Estate of Roy Lichtenstein, 42nd Street-Times Square Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    While the usual Arts for Transit ratio is one artist per station, Times Square got the lion’s share with permanent works by five different artists—Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, Jack Beal, Toby Buonagurio and Jane Dickson. Look for Lichtenstein’s bright, comic-strip “Times Square Mural” inside the main entrance at 42nd Street and Broadway, on the mezzanine level. N, Q, R 42nd St S, 1, 2, 3, 7 to 42nd St–Times Sq

  • Photograph: Rob Wilson

    “Life Underground” (2001), Tom Otterness, 14 Street–8th Avenue Subway Stations. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    Tom Otterness has filled this station with small, cartoonish figures that manage to make even hardened NY commuters smile. The “Life Underground” sculptures depict humorous subterranean scenes like a giant alligator coming out of the sewer and a guard catching someone sneaking under a gate. A, C, E to 14th St, L to Eighth Ave

  • Photograph: Jonathan Wallen

    “Wavewall” (2005), Vito Acconci, West 8th Street–New York Aquarium Subway Station. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

    As a shout-out to its surroundings, the architecture of this station is full of movement; the station is on the approximate site of a former roller coaster and is close to the ocean and the New York Aquarium. F, Q to W 8th St–NY Aquarium

Photograph: Rob Wilson

“Masstransiscope” (1980; Restored 2008), ©Bill Brand, DeKalb Avenue Subway Station. Commissioned and owned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit.

Bill Brand’s trippy “Masstransciscope” was installed in 1980 in the now-abandoned Myrtle Ave station on the B and Q lines. It was restored in 2008, and is now visible from Manhattan–bound express trains as they leave the DeKalb Ave platform. Based on a zoetrope (a 19th-century optical toy), the piece consists of 228 panels that create a moving picture visible from the passing train. B, Q to DeKalb Ave


Users say

1 comments