New Yorkers throw away countless used MetroCards everyday without giving it a second thought. Curators/artists Jean-Pierre Roy and Michael Kagan seized this opportunity to upcycle the discarded pieces into miniature works of art. The second string of the project, “Single Fare 2: Please Swipe Again” closed last week at Sloan Fine Art gallery on the Lower East Side.
Around 1,300 MetroCards were given new life as art for the show, created by almost as many artists. The artists’ identities were kept anonymous to art buyers until they forked over the set price of $100 a piece. A portion of the proceeds went to Alliance for the Arts’ NYC ARTS and Transportation Alternatives, which supports and promotes the usage public and alternative transportation in New York City, reclaiming the streets from the automobile.
The MetroCard art works ranged from serene painted landscapes, pet portraiture and erotic pin ups to mini realist paintings and abstract and three-dimensional works, all on the 2 1/8 x 3 ¼ inch cards.
With less frequent trains and rising subway fares — not to mention the oddity of having five cents left on one’s card — “Single Fare” takes a light-hearted approach to our love/hate relationship with the MetroCard. The show will upcycle even more cards for next year, which makes us think — what ever happened to all those retired Metro tokens?
Lead image by Carson Fox