7. The Second Avenue Subway Stations Feature Art from Four Renowned Artists

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The new Second Avenue stations are some of the most modern and spacious stations in the system, with two block-long concourses and higher ceilings than the older stations. Along those lines, the art incorporated into the stations certainly lives up to the station’s standards as well. The MTA Arts and Design department, led by artist and curator Sandra Bloodworth chose four renowned artists to work on the Second Avenue Subway line, with each artist having their own campus to work on.

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On the 63rd Street Station Jean Shin has displayed archival photographs from the New York Historical Society and New York Transit Museum that depict the Second Avenue elevated line being taken down. Shin’s vision is of a coexistence between contemporary urban life and images from the past–a reminder of how the city is incessantly changing.

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The 96th Street station art was done by artist Sarah Sze, who’s previous work includes a sculpture for the High Line. Sze, who’s artwork is entitled “Blueprint for a Landscape,” consists of blue images of blowing paper and other artifacts swirling around visitors, as they pass through approximately 14,000 square feet of porcelain wall tiles.

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The 86th Street subway station features twelve large-scale mosaic portraits created by artist Chuck Close. Named “Subway Portraits,” the artwork includes mosaics of some of New York’s most prominent residences, such as Philip Glass, Cindy Sherman, Lou Reed, and more. There are also self-portraits of the artist himself.


“Perfect Strangers” is a series of thirty-six life-size portraits that depict New Yorkers–and tourists–waiting for a train. Created by Brazilian artist Vic Muniz, the artwork depicts the lives of various individuals through vivid, evocative images that conjure up notions of the people’s lives. The piece is a celebration of diversity, with the portraits illustrating individuals from all walks of life, including a single-mom, a Sikh businessman, and a gay couple holding hands.