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A Look at The Future Second Avenue Subway Artwork in NYC

Rendering of the Second Avenue Subway artwork to be done by Sarah Sze on 96th

For residents on the Upper East Side, the Second Avenue Subway can't open soon enough (sure would have been nice during the blizzard this week when the M15 was a disaster, right?), both because the construction will finally be over and, most of all, because it will offer a new public transportation option, as well as ease crowding everywhere else. Although the MTA's sticking with its opening date of December 2016, word came out the other day about the all-star art installations being commissioned for four of the new SAS stations, and they are all potentially excellent. Here's the scoop…

Second Avenue Subway artist Sarah Sze's sculptural artwork called the birdfeeder that was featured outdoors at the High Line in NYC

Second Avenue Subway Artists

Because the new Second Avenue Subway stations are designed to be much more airy and open than we're used to, the artists have a grander stage on which to showcase their work, allowing for some real potential showstoppers. Starting up at 96th Street running to 63rd Street, the MTA has commissioned:

96th Street Artist: Sarah Sze

Sarah Sze for a series of drawings that will evoke "wind, architecture, flora and dramatic energy fields" (rendering pictured at top). Sze is known mostly for her clever sculptures and installations made from ordinary objects–such as her birdfeeder piece that was on the High Line, above–so it'll be interesting to how sculptural she gets here.

Rendering of the Second Avenue Subway artwork to be done by Chuck Close on 86th street in NYC

86th Street Artist: Chuck Close

One stop down at 86th Street, the great Chuck Close will contribute his largest-ever work (rendering above), a series of mosaic portraits, done in his signature "pixelated" style (below), of NYC cultural figures. This one should definitely be fun.

Second Avenue Subway artist Chuck Close's pixelated style mosaic portraits on the wall at an art gallery

72nd Street Artist: Vik Muniz

At 72nd Street we get personal favorite Vik Muniz, whose "Perfect Strangers" will involve photographs of everyday New Yorkers transformed into life-sized mosaics, set into the walls throughout the station and complemented by actual narratives. If you want to learn more about Muniz, I suggest streaming the fascinating documentary Wasteland, about his work with garbage pickers in his native Brazil (see below).

An example of Vik Muniz's artwork for the Second Avenue Subway, which will be photographs of everyday New Yorkers transformed into life-sized mosaics

63rd Street Artist: Jean Shin

Finally, at 63rd Street, Jean Shin (who also has a resume filled with fantastic sculptural pieces made from everyday objects) offers a ceramic and glass installation "populated" with photographs of commuters from days gone by (rendering below). Taken together, it seems like the MTA is working it from all angles to generate excitement, and earn the SAS its "worth the wait" accolades come two years from now.

Arist Jean Shin's ceramic and glass installation "populated" with photographs of commuters, pulled from vintage photos of NYC commuters

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