Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The long ride home

Whitney and I were coming home from the Puck Building, where the Wagner school has its home. As usual we were waiting for the downtown R train at spring street which has one of our favorite MTA public art pieces. Along the platform, there are several silhouettes of New Yorkers walking about, done in stainless steal, black granite and some red flagstone. The silhouettes are done with such remarkable precision that Whitney remarked how one can easily imagine what the face and clothing could or should be. So tonight, we just missed the train and decided to walk down the other end of the platform to look at the other figures. As we returned to our usual place on the platform, a W train stalled.

Another passenger was checking out the figures too, and commented to us how one can easily imagine what the face and clothing could or should be! She said she lived down the street from the artist. We then learned that the project took about a year. The artist took thousands of pictures of people, chose a large sample, which had to be vetted by the MTA for appropriateness and representative diversity. Then she cut the figures and their accoutrements with water cuts, allowing for the incredibly detailed assembly between the three elements, which are then embedded into the tiles of the station. The MTA has a site of all its public artworks, but this piece doesn’t have its site yet.

The stalled train ended up forcing a reroute of trains around the station, so we walked to Spring, mistakenly took an uptown train to West 4th, and finally got on an A train to our beloved Brooklyn. The trip was long, but totally worth it to learn more about this artwork we enjoy so much.

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