Traveling uptown to reach the now, not so free Museums, the MTA has, over the years, installed its own museum for the people, as it cleans up and paints Manna-hata's aging subway system. ENLARGE ALL FOR EXQUISITE DETAIL!
Whimsical mosaic images now adorn many subway walls, sometimes replacing the more sober designs of borders and signs of yesteryear. One of my favourites is Nancy Spero's ARTEMIS, ACROBATS, DIVAS AND DANCERS to be found at the 66th Street/Lincoln Center stop.
It all begins (who can say where it begins and ends) at the 42nd Street cross roads of tunnels, and fans out to the nether regions in various expressive formats that can now also include projected images, from ceiling to wall. Whatever is the latest PR gimmick it is down here somewhere.
Using ancient, modern and contemporary styles, someone decided to liven-up the subway experience in surprising ways that, for the most part is indistructible, unless the graffiti 'artist' brigade, who dominated the scene in the first place, decides that this 'epitome of classic NYC graffiti' is the pits. For spray-can recognition they really have to go to Paris to be respected nowadays!
Of course, this is all in addition to live performances by intrepid musicians, singers and dancers, who compete with noise of trains, and are rewarded by appreciative travelers who recognise a good act when they see it.
Your favourite artist is probably here, somewhere. To find out, go to a useful gallery listing, the SUBWAY ART GUIDE. And for more information about the MTA project, click here where you will find a CALL FOR ARTISTS among other things.
Artemis is a stunning figure in gold mosaic, greeting travelers exiting the platform at 66th Street for Lincoln Center. Take a look at how the mosaic is arranged to be so effective.
NANCY SPERO is known for her angry social and political barbs in her work, about War and Peace, about Women Artists in Revolution, an activist in both theme and innovative use of the artist's tools. I first saw her work at A.I.R, the all women's cooperative gallery in Soho which she helped to found in 1972. Go to Wikipedia for information, then explore other Spero activist takes on the re-imaging of women, to be found on the web via artnet. Her hand-printing and collage techniques are of great interest to the graphic eye.