MTA Arts & Design Nationally Honored for 3 New Subway Station Artworks, 1 Digital Artwork Created in 2017

“Untitled” by Mickalene Thomas at 53 St (R)
“Untitled” by Mickalene Thomas at 53 St (R)

MTA Arts & Design continues its streak of award-winning public artwork commissions with honors from Americans for the Arts, which named three new permanent station artworks in Brooklyn and a digital art piece displayed at Fulton Center as among 49 outstanding public art projects created in 2017.

The Public Art Network’s Year in Review program recognizes the most compelling public art created every year nationwide after a review process by public art experts. Hundreds of submissions were eligible for recognition as the most exemplary, innovative permanent or temporary public art works created or debuted in 2017.

MTA Arts & Design was honored on Friday, June 15, by the Americans for the Arts for the commissions at three Brooklyn subway stations and the digital artwork at Fulton Center. The artworks were Katy Fischer for “Strata” (2017) at Bay Ridge Av R Subway; Monika Bravo for “Duration” (2017) at Prospect Av R Subway; Mickalene Thomas for “Untitled” (2017) at 53 St R Subway; and to Chris Doyle for the digital artwork “The Fluid” (2017) at the Fulton Center transit hub in lower Manhattan.

"Strata" by Katy Fischer
For “Strata, Fischer created abstract shapes that convey an expansive sense of time. She referenced local history using imagined artifacts inspired by objects that could have been unearthed during the Bay Ridge Av station’s excavation in the early 20th century. The hand-glazed ceramic forms evoke items such as bone fish hooks used by the Lenape, Delft pottery shards of early Dutch settlers, and Colonial era tools and shoe buckles. Tiffany vases and railroad spikes mark the transition from farmland to residential community with the arrival of the subway. To aid in wayfinding, the contrasting background colors refer to the cyclical rhythms of the daily commute.

"Duration" by Monika Bravo
For “Duration,” Bravo wove together data and materials to create a new code that connects technology, process, and illusion. The Colombian-born, Brooklyn-based artist used composition layers of pixelated satellite images and presented them in mosaic tesserae, adding historical maps and photos of the nearby waterfront, and forms drawn from modern abstraction.

"Untitled" by Mickalene Thomas
In Thomas’s “Untitled” mosaic art installation at 53 St R Subway, the internationally renowned Brooklyn artist juxtaposed collage-like design and textile patterns with the imagery of plants found in New York, pulling nature and domestic interiors into the station. A repeating geometric pattern of emanating concentric rings carries throughout the piece like a photo flash or solar flare.

"The Fluid" by Chris Doyle
Chris Doyle’s digital animation, “The Fluid,” was installed on screens throughout Fulton Center and its Dey Street corridor from September to December 2017. The Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist’s piece was the most recent iteration of his digital animations based on Hudson River painter Thomas Cole’s cycle of paintings “The Course of Empire.” Like the earlier animations in the series, “The Fluid” explored the way landscape is viewed through a culturally constructed frame. The piece weaved together references to contemporaneous Hudson River and Japanese Edo painting, 20th century abstraction, as well as the humanity’s complex relationship with water through stylized depictions of landscape. “The Fluid” focused on the rhythmic aspects of water at every scale, from phase change to the global water cycle, and the fragility of that cycle. Presented as a constant flow, the piece drifted between forms of representation and abstraction to echo the tidal motion of daily commuters passing throughout Fulton Center. The work was presented by MTA Arts & Design with technical support from Westfield Properties and ANC Sports.

MTA Arts & Design’s projects were also honored by Public Art Network’s Year in Review in 2016, 2015 and 2014. MTA Arts & Design, formerly known as MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design, encourages the use of mass transit in the metropolitan New York area by providing visual and performing arts in the transit environment. In November 2014, Arts & Design launched the Digital Arts program that feature works of contemporary new media artists throughout MTA’s digital media network. The MTA's Percent for Art program is one of the largest and most diverse collections of site-specific public art in the world, with more than 300 works by world-famous, mid-career and emerging artists. Arts & Design produces photography installations as well as graphic arts and live musical performances in stations, and the Poetry in Motion program in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America. It serves more than 8 million people who ride MTA subways and commuter trains daily and strives to create meaningful connections between sites, neighborhoods, and people.