Just as New Yorkers were eagerly anticipating the city's Phase 3 reopening, the coronavirus has come roaring back in places like Texas, Florida and California—threatening to undo all the work involved in flattening the Covid curve in New York. The pandemic, it seems, hasn't gone anywhere—and, neither for that matter, has its larger impact on society.
It's against this backdrop that the Public Art Fund is mounting its latest project, "Art on the Grid." The rather abstract-sounding title belies the timely nature of the show, which presents works by 50 emerging artist on bus shelters and LinkNYC kiosks throughout the Five Boroughs. Each installation will offer a different take on just how much everything has changed in four short months.
According to the Public Art Fund (which recently unveiled a major public art initiative for the new Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport), "Art on the Grid" is conceived as a "direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic," as well as to the "parallel epidemic of systemic racism." The artists are touching on themes such as "healing and loss; community and isolation; intimacy and solitude; and the creation of a future that is more just, inclusive and equitable."
This isn't the first time the Public Art Fund has used bus shelters, and "Art on the Grid" employs 500 of them, plus an additional 1,700 LinkNYC kiosks. Works by ten artists are already on view at 100 sites, while an additional 40 artworks on 400 bus shelters will be unveiled on July 27. The project will be up through September 20, and you can find specific locations on an interactive map here. In the meantime, check out some examples of the work below.
Update: Works by the additional 40 artists included in "Art on the Grid" are now installed in various locations around the city. You can see some examples from the new offerings below.