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MTA Subway Art
December 17, 2009 8:01 AM   Subscribe

It may be a joke to some people (previously), but there’s a good deal of art underneath the streets of NYC. All cataloged here in the Arts for Transit portion of the MTA’s website. Clicking the permanent art tab lets you take a ride on any line and view the art in any station as well as providing background information on the artists and pieces. So if you've ever wondered what that rock tiled mosaic in Bryant Park was about, or those little brass dudes at 14th and 8th, or how exactly those busts at Eastern Parkway ended up in the walls, here's your chance to find out.
posted by edbles (12 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love those little brass dudes. They are so cute.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:33 AM on December 17, 2009


Very keen! At first, I thought this was a post about MTA embracing graffiti, which also would have made me happy.

I was thinking of a similar sort of thing for my little community, because there are some nice statues and sculptures around town, but not much more than a small placard by each. Also, I was thinking of extending this to all the "in memory of" placards on public benches and the like. Who were those people, beyond someone that is missed?
posted by filthy light thief at 8:42 AM on December 17, 2009



I love those little brass dudes. They are so cute.

I always thought of them as the bronzed bodies of the gremlins that cause delays. They're there as a warning.
posted by The Whelk at 8:43 AM on December 17, 2009


I like the little brass guys, too. But sometimes when I am tired (read: drunk), I am mad that they are stealing my bench seat.
posted by edbles at 8:47 AM on December 17, 2009


"I love those little brass dudes."

Exact wording of the comment I was going to make. Pretty much no matter the foulness of my mood, seeing them always cheers me up. I guess I'm easy that way.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:00 AM on December 17, 2009


The art in the subways is one of my favorite favorite things about living in New York. I've got the book about MTA Arts for Transit, Along The Way, which I love. It's like having all of that great public art in my living room.

There's another really great book, Public Art New York, which covers other, non-MTA public art in New York, from the turn of the century sculpture of Augustus Saint-Gaudens to the murals of Keith Haring and beyond.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:01 AM on December 17, 2009


I hate those little brass dudes, but I couldn't tell you why.
posted by greenland at 9:03 AM on December 17, 2009


(Er, this is a great post, edbles, is what I meant to say!) I'm looking through the MTA site now and am astounded at how ubiquitous the art in the subway is. It's become such a part of the background that I don't even consider a lot of these pieces anymore.
posted by greenland at 9:07 AM on December 17, 2009


There's even more art in the subways than you think! (be sure to watch the video)
posted by hippybear at 9:08 AM on December 17, 2009


For those in New York - next time you are on a B or Q train leaving DeKalb Ave going into Manhattan, look out of the right side of the cars to see one of my favorite pieces of permanent subway art. 'Masstransiscope', installed by Bill Brand in 1980 on the platform of the abandoned Myrtle Ave stop, is a zoetrope which creates an animation viewable if the car is moving at a decent speed.

It fell into disrepair for many years but was recently restored. The MTA site linked above has a section on it, including a neat video showing what it looks like.

There's also a website here showing some of the original creation and later restoration work.
posted by pziemba at 9:30 AM on December 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


pziemba:

Yes! I was looking for that one and I couldn't find it, I've never seen it function because the Q always decides it's tired and sits down there. But little kids always notice it first and try to show their parents, it's awesome.
posted by edbles at 9:49 AM on December 17, 2009


'Masstransiscope', installed by Bill Brand in 1980 on the platform of the abandoned Myrtle Ave stop, is a zoetrope which creates an animation viewable if the car is moving at a decent speed.

This is amazing. I remember seeing it for the first time and wondering how such a bulky installation fit into the subway. Digging a tunnel parallel to the train's tunnel just to put this up seemed like a lot of work. Turns out it's a platform of an abandoned station.
posted by wet-raspberry at 4:25 PM on December 17, 2009


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