May 13, 2003

Art Underground

As part of the renovation of the Times Square subway station (Goodbye eclectic record store), capital "A" Art is being installed therein. Roy Lichtenstein and Jacob Lawrence are prominent.

The Lawrence terrazzo piece is spectacular, though partly hidden by columns. The Lichtenstein enamelled panel suffers from a) poor positioning (overhead) and b) banal familiarity. Commissioned 12 years ago and finally installed — I feel as though I've seen it or its like too many times over the past 40 years.

By far my favorite Subway "artwork" is nearby in the newly-widened connecting tunnel from the 1/2/3 line to the Shuttle. It's a wonderful — accidental — 100 foot expanse of wall twice as long as the Lichtenstein and three times the Lawrence.

Raw concrete streaked with salt stains and dotted by construction workers with cryptic green, red and orange markings, it has a subtlety well set off by the perfect lighting.

Click on the image for a larger (300K+) version.

I fear this work will soon be covered, whether by tile or another piece of institutionally-correct public art. I have been meaning to photograph it for months and finally managed to get there and assemble this panorama of about half the length.

As they say in the Michelin guide, worth the detour (and the $2 admission).

Posted by campbell at 01:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack