The troubled Second Avenue Subway line might be taking forever to complete, but at least we know that when it’s finally done, it’ll be done in style. MTA’s Arts for Transit will be calling in some heavy art world hitters to adorn the line’s stations – Chuck Close will be creating a giant work of mosaics, and sculptor Sarah Sze will build a massive installation of ceramic tiles. Four stations in total will be getting the arty treatment, with a budget of $5 million.
Close’s pieces will pay tribute to the subway commuters that will use the new trains every day. The mosaics will continue Close’s infamous series of distorted portraits that have become indicative of the painter’s signature style over the last 30 years. Ten foot high mosaics will encompass 1,000 square feet around the train station, and depict commuters old and young. The $1 million dollar installation will adorn the East 86th Street station.
Sarah Sze’s massive piece will transform two blocks along 96th Street subway station into a ceramic tiling in the shape of her drawings. The artist, who has shown at the Asia Society, will create a sprawling work in indigo and white. The East 63rd Street station will also be treated with site specific art work by Jean Shin involving archival photos from the New York Historical Society and Transit Museum.
The artist who will adorn the East 72nd Street Station is yet to be named, but will be selected in the coming weeks. The pieces will be installed before the opening of the Second Avenue Subway, which is slated for December of 2016.