New York View: new exhibition showcases NYC transport art

A new exhibition at New York’s Society of Illustrators showcases three decades of artwork commissioned by the city’s Metropolitan Transport Authority, from posters and prints to mosaics and collage.

A new exhibition at New York’s Society of Illustrators showcases three decades of artwork commissioned by the city’s Metropolitan Transport Authority, from posters and prints to mosaics and collage.

MTA’s Arts & Design arm was founded in 1985. Since 1991, it has commissioned 300 permanent installations for New York stations through its Percent for Art programme, which sees 1% of the money for public construction projects donated to public art.

Commissions include porcelain montages for Carnegie Hall depicting musicians that have performed there, mosaic installations inspired by astronomy in Grand Central Station and some beautiful stained glass displays on various subway platforms. In 2013, artist Shinique Smith created a 6,000 foot mosaic and glass artwork for the Mother Clara Hale bus depot in Harlem, which pays homage to Hale, a humanitarian who founded a centre for orphans and at risk children in the area in the 1970s.

New York View (2014) © Olimpia Zagnoli. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design


MTA also runs several schemes to showcase work by graphic artists and illustrators: each year, it commissions five to six artists to create transport-related images for posters and art cards, which are placed in stations, subway cars and buses; and displays work by New York-based photographers on large-scale light boxes at four sites including Grand Central. In November last year, it launched a digital arts programme with New York Minute, an installation by video artist Gabe Barcia-Colombo which featured 52 slow motion portraits of New Yorkers, displayed on screens at the Fulton Center & Dey Street Concourse.


 

Greeting the Dawn (2007) © William Low. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 

 


Embrace (2008) © Carlo Stanga. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design


 

The Society of Illustrators’ exhibition showcases work from the late 80s to the present day, with original prints by Olimpia Zagnoli, Peter Sis and Sophie Blackall on show alongside light boxes, miniature mosaics and works on glass and steel.

The Society is also hosting a series of events to accompany the accompany the show, featuring artists who have worked with MTA: Amy Hausmann, deputy director at MTA Arts & Design, will be talking with George Bates, Beatrice Coron and Susan Farrington on June 6 and on June 16, a panel including Arts & Design founder William Ayres and director Ronay Menschel will discuss the organisation’s work and history. Tickets cost $10 for members, $15 for non-members and $7 for students and graduates.

The exhibition represents just a fraction of the hundreds of projects commissioned by MTA, but it’s a beautiful collection of work by a diverse range of artists, and an inspiring reminder of the vast amount of visual art on New York’s transport network.

New York View is on show at 128 East 63rd Street until August 15, and you can find visiting details at societyillustrators.orgSee details of MTA’s art projects and Percent for Art commissions at web.mta.info.



Botanical (2011) © Jennifer Judd-McGee. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


Community Garden (2006) © Andrea Dezsö. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


Missed Connections (2011) © Sophie Blackall. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


Robots (2013) © Susan Farrington. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


Habitat for the Yellow Bird (2007)(c)Takayo Noda. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


An Underground Movement: Designers, Builders Riders (1998) © Owen Smith

 


Whale (2001) © Peter Sís. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

 


Catch A Ride (2010) © Greg Ruth. Commissioned by Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design

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