A/C/E Lines

42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal

A splash of color takes up the walls near the passageway between the Times Square hub and Port Authority Bus Terminal.   Lisa Dinhofer’s Losing my Marbles captures the motions of toy marbles while in mid-flight, breaking free from its constraints as a two-dimensional piece of work.   According to Dinhofer, “Every object I paint actually exists; I work from life. The space I create is believable – but not real. Because I design my own space, I call myself an ‘illusionist’ painter rather than a ‘realist’. The space in my work is invented. It’s flattened – like the space we see on a television or a computer screen.”

34th Street-Penn Station

I wouldn’t guess that this mural, The Garden of Circus Delights, is partly a symbol for Dante’s Inferno, but artist Eric Fischl explains “I thought it would be amusing to do a contemporary Dante’s Inferno, to turn commuting into a spiritual quest.”   The mosaic, with its fire-breathers, clowns, and other performers, accompanies travelers through this fantastical circus world.   Moreover, the various shades of gold, red, and brown work together to create a contrast between the mysterious life of the circus and the plain, florescent-lit world of subway traveling.

14th Street/Eighth Avenue

I have found that out of all the subway artworks, publications and other media outlets predominately feature Tom Otterness’s Life Underground.   With figures that sit alongside commuters, scale the walls, and crawl under railings, I believe that their popularity lies in the fact that while travelers find these figures in abundance, some of them are placed in unexpected, out-of-sight places that when found.   It’s like discovering buried treasure.

Canal Street

181 grackles, blackbirds, and crows have permanently perched themselves on the railings, beams, and token booth at this station.   Designed by Walter Martin and Paloma Muà ±oz, A Gathering highlights the thought that beyond the clear differences, humans and birds are both incredibly social creatures .

When examining these bronze sculptures, some birds look downwards at the anticipated incoming train, some look directly at the bird next to itself while that bird then looks upward at the group of birds settled above on the mezzanine beams.   These glances among themselves and between riders crafts an intricate series of interactions that some commuters may catch while walking though this passageway.

Our previous coverage of art along other subway lines looks at the 1/2/3, 4/5/6 and N/Q/R lines. Get in touch with the author  @iyisak