John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Vik Muniz, Chuck Close, and others have made the soon-to-be-opened line into something like an underground museum.
On Monday, New York debuted the biggest permanent public-art exhibit in state history inside the soon-to-be-opened Second Avenue subway. Though officials didn’t mention it, this is probably also New York’s first permanent exhibit to feature a tiger furry, executed in colorful mosaics by acclaimed Brazilian artist Vik Muniz.
The artworks sprawl along walls and ceilings in three new Second Avenue stops at 96th Street, 86th Street, and 72nd Street, as well as a new entrance at 63rd Street. Along with Muniz, other heavy-hitters involved are Chuck Close—whose gridded portraits seem custom-tailored for subway-mosaic translations—New York’s Jean Shin, and MacArthur Fellow Sarah Sze.
“The Second Avenue subway provides New Yorkers with a museum underground and honors our legacy of building engineering marvels that elevate the human experience,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press statement. Here’s what commuters can gawk at on January 1 when the subway line is supposed to open, carrying an estimated 200,000 people a day.