After last week’s ride through the 1,2, and 3 lines, I have now transferred over to the 4,5, and 6 subway lines to explore another side of New York’s subway art.
Simple, clever, and playful, Hugo Consuegra’s Good Morning and Good Night focuses on the temporal quirks of its subway location. For commuters heading towards Manhattan in the morning, Good Morning decorates the inbound side of the station with various scenes featuring the Sun. As for riders returning to Brooklyn at the end of the day, when they disembark from the train Good Night with its scenes of the moon receives weary travelers.
Intermingled with movie posters along the wall, there is an odd juxtaposition of showy advertisements and artwork that looks like it has been excavated, a relic from a bygone era. Muriel Castanis’s bronze reliefs, Flatbush Floogies, appeared at this station 16 years ago. The empty space between the sprites or nymphs, shrouded in the classical Greek form of wet drapery, recalls urban legends associated with the neighborhood in addition to folklore from the original residents, the native Canarsie tribe.
Haunting and slightly spooky, I thought that this series of reliefs took an original approach to illustrating the history of the neighborhood.
Flowers easily fall prey to banal symbolism, but Robert Kushner’s 4 Seasons Seasoned is a flower mosaic that simply represents flowers.
To be more precise, Kushner’s flowers reflect the abundance of flower shops on the Upper East Side. With a touch of delicate Japanese linear forms, this bright and cheery mosaic makes itself known to commuters who walk underneath it when entering the station.
Lines 4 + 5 + 6
Decorative yet functional, graceful but durable, Mark Gibian’s Cable Crossing extends the motif of the nearby Brooklyn Bridge. According to the artist, his steel works “echo the beauty of the bridge’s cross-hatched cables and the feeling of flight as it springs across the East River.” With its crisscross networking of cables, Gibian’s artwork certainly evokes a sense of dynamic movement via the power of modern transportation.
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