Chuch Close-MTA-2nd Avenue Subway-NYCRendering from MTA Arts & Design

July 5th was Chuck Close’s birthday and in celebration MTA Arts & Design tweeted an announcement: “Happy Birthday #ChuckClose! #MTAArts is preparing to install 12 large mosaic & tile portraits by Close @2ndAve/86St.” We previously announced the commission of Chuck Close and other artists like Vik Muniz and Jean Shin, who will decorate the new stations of the Second Avenue subway.

There will be a total of twelve portraits which will be ten feet high each and cover more than 1,000 square feet. The permanent art installation will cost $1 million. Instead of using his signature painting method, Close will use tiles to create the mosaic effect. As he told the New York Times:

The idea is to reflect the riding population: old people, young people, people of color, Asians. I’m going to do as many as 12 separate mosaics, mainly from pictures of artists I’ve taken over the years…The richness of the city is all the various cultures coming together, and the richness of my art will be to simultaneously let people in on how many ways there are to build an image.

Rendering from MTA Arts & Design

You’ll find the mosaics at the entrances of the station at both 86th Street and 83rd Street, as well as in the long concourse, pictured below under construction. The biggest question of the day year is of course, will the Second Avenue Subway line open on time in December 2016? Probably not, says the New York Post.

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-001

Second Av Subway_NYC_Mashable_bhushan mondkar-009Escalator tunnel under construction at the 86th Street subway station

Next, check out the new NYC subway map that includes the Second Avenue Subway line. See more photographs of the Second Avenue Subway under construction.