The never ending Second Avenue Subway project has announced that famous local artist Chuck Close is going to be making a massive series of permanent mosaics for the subway line's 86th Street station. All in all the mosaics will bring about 1,000 square feet of art to the subway—at a cost of roughly $1 million, according to the MTA's Arts for Transit program. Luckily, the station is supposed to have an elevator—so the famously wheelchair-bound artist can see his work in action.
And Close, whose downtown studio would be off the Second Avenue Subway if it ever made it that far, seems genuinely excited about the prospect. He told the Times, "My work has always had a mosaiclike quality to it, so it’s not such a stretch. 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." Each of Close's mosaics will be 10 feet high and will be distributed around the station.
Meanwhile, as DNAinfo points out, Close isn't the only one closing in on the new line. Arts For Transit has a $5 million budget to dress up the Second Avenue stations, and has already announced two other artists working on the project. Sculptor Sarah Sze is set to to install "an intricate work of drawings on ceramic tiles spanning nearly two blocks long at East 96th Street" and artist Jean Shin is making a site-specific work for the station at East 63rd Street that uses archival photos from the NY Historical society and the Transit Museum to reference the old Second Avenue Elevated lines. Still to be announced? An artist for the East 72nd Street station.
Can't wait? Instead of holding your breath we'd recommend playing around on the Arts for Transit permanent art website—because the Second Avenue Subway isn't expected to be open until December 2016. At the earliest.