Bronx icons radiate light in Rico Gatson’s murals at reopened 167th Street station

Posted On Tue, January 22, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, January 22, 2019 By In Art, Bronx, Features, Transportation

Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Audre Lorde portrait derived from a photo by Jack Mitchell

A series of bright mosaic murals created by artist Rico Gatson was revealed last week at the 167th Street B, D station in the Bronx, which recently reopened after months of repair work. The artwork, “Beacons,” features eight portraits of figures who have contributed to culture and society and who also have a special connection to the broader New York City community. Figures honored include Gil Scott-Heron, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Reggie Jackson, and Sonia Sotomayor.


Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Gil Scott-Heron photograph derived from a photograph by Paul Natkin.


Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Maya Angelou portrait derived from a photograph by Brian Lanker.

Gatson sourced photographs of the eight figures and then translated it into glass mosaic by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios. Surrounding the black-and-white portraits are bright red, orange, yellow, green, and gray light beams radiating from behind them.


Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. James Baldwin portrait derived from a photograph by Steve Schapiro. 

The murals are an extension of Gatson’s “Icons” series, which the MTA describes as “showing new ways to present biography and photography in a contemporary, bold, and graphic way.” The series was previously on display in 2017 at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

“It was an honor working with MTA Arts & Design on ‘Beacons’ to have my artwork now become a permanent part of the subway system that I have been using for the past 30 years since I first moved to New York,” Gatson told Gothamist. “Beacons is my way of thanking the Bronx for the inspiration it has given to me, to these eight giants of their respective fields, and to the city in general.”


Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Tito Puente portrait derived from a photograph by Martin Cohen.


Beacons (2018) © Rico Gaston, NYCT 167th Street Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Celia Cruz portrait derived from a photograph owned by Celia Cruz Entertainment LLC. 

In a press release, the MTA said these portraits “invite travelers to reflect on the past as well as find inspiration for the future.”

Gatson’s artwork joins new mosaics from William Wegman at 23rd Street, Yoko Ono at 72nd Street and from Joyce Kozloff at 86th Street.

RELATED: 

Tags : , , , ,

Neighborhoods : Bronx

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.
Archtober