Sarah Sze and Jean Shin: Going Your Way

Sze's digital rendering of the proposed 96th Street station design

The MTA’s Second Avenue subway line will not begin functioning before December 2016, but already digital renderings of it’s 36th and 96th Street stations are showing up online. Arts for Transit , an MTA arm which commissions public art for the subway and commuter railways, chose artists Jean Shin and Sarah Sze to adorn the sizable hubs with their engaging site-specific works.


Jean Shin Celadon Remnants, 2008

Jean Shin is not new to the MTA. Her ceramic and glass mosaic, “Celadon Remnants, 2008,” currently engages commuters who use the LIRR’s Broadway Station in Flushing, Queens. Shin’s a good fit for the MTA as her intensely intimate works are all about connections and interactivity, often calling for public donations of vast amounts of ephemera, disposables, and memorabilia. These very involved works, made especially for the people and the places they will keep company with, put the specific in site-specific.

Brooklynophiles may know of Sarah Sze’s “Still Life with Landscape(Model for a Habitat)”, created for the for the Brooklyn Highline. A charming bird, butterfly and wildlife feeder/shelter, it incorporates

Sze's Stillife with Landscape; photo from Sarah Sze's site

Sze’s complex and delicate aesthetic with an ambitious and functional bit of architecture that captivated tourists and locals alike last summer. Repped in New York by keen-eyed Tanya Bonakdar Gallery  Sze is a daring choice for the pinball machine atmosphere of a busy subway station. But her works which are lacy with negative space, lend themselves to the play of our spotty attention spans, as well as our longer more contemplative stares.

Commuters will welcome both artists, I’m sure.

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