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Twelve Chuck Close mosaics will grace the Second Avenue Subway

Howard Halle

If—and it’s a big if—the Second Avenue Subway ever opens, straphangers will come face-to-face with something big: The MTA has commissioned artist Chuck Close to create 12 mosaics for the new line’s stop at 86th Street. Featuring the artist’s inimitable giant portrait heads, the mosaics will be installed at the station’s 83rd and 86th Street entrances, as well as in a concourse running between the two.

The mosaic medium would seem custom made for Close, whose approach involves using pixel-like units that coalesce into images of his subjects. Each of his portraits will measure ten feet in height, and they don’t come cheap: The entire installation, which will be permanent, costs $1 million. As to when you’ll actually get to see them, well, for now, the new subway’s opening is scheduled for December of this year, but there’s already talk that it may be pushed back into next. So what else is new?


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