MTA unveils stunning mosaics by Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith inside the new Grand Central Madison

Posted On Wed, December 7, 2022 By

Posted On Wed, December 7, 2022 By In Art, Transportation

Yayoi Kusama, “A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe, 2022.” Photo by Kerry McFate ©YAYOI KUSAMA Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week unveiled new permanent floor-to-ceiling mosaics at the soon-to-open Grand Central Madison terminal, adding to the impressive and expansive public art portfolio found across New York City’s transit system. The glass mosaics designed by renowned contemporary artists Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith animate the new terminal, which when it opens later this month, will bring Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal.


Yayoi Kusama, “A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe, 2022.” Photo by Kerry McFate ©YAYOI KUSAMA Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner


Yayoi Kusama, “A Message of Love, Directly from My Heart unto the Universe, 2022.” Photo by Kerry McFate ©YAYOI KUSAMA Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, David Zwirner

“Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith are quintessential artists for the new Grand Central Madison terminal,” Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts & Design, said. “Both artists have created works in their own notable styles that celebrate this greatly anticipated public space. The mosaics are certain to become a destination in their own right, a ‘not-to-be-missed’ on everyone’s list!”

Kusama’s artwork, which measures about 875 square feet of glass mosaic fabricated by Miotto Design Studio, expands upon the artist’s My Eternal Soul series, with the use of bright colors and bold lines. Titled A Message of Love Directly from My Heart unto the Universe, the mosaic features a variety of motifs for visitors to discover as they pass through the new Madison Concourse. artist. An accompanying poem written by Kusama reads as follows:

This is Yayoi Kusama.
I offer you a message of love, directly from my heart unto the universe.
May you all experience the true beauty of loving humanity.
Human life is beautiful.
My wish is to deliver this vision, with all that is my life, to the people of New York.

The colorful mosaic can be found at the north end of the concourse, between 46th and 47th Streets.

River Light (2022) © Kiki Smith, Grand Central Madison. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: Anthony Verde


The Water’s Way (2022) © Kiki Smith, Grand Central Madison. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: Anthony Verde.

Smith’s commissioned work includes five individual mosaics across two levels of the new terminal. Fabricated by Mayer of Munich, the artwork depicts several Long Island landscape scenes.

River Light was inspired by the way the sunlight hits the East River. Find The Water’s Way at 45th Street and The Presence, which shows a deer among reeds rendered with gold foil mosaicat 46th Street. The Spring at 47th Street features fowl surrounded by forest during the springtime. growth. At 48th Street, The Sound showcases Long Island’s waterway in a 28-foot wide mural.


The Presence (2022) © Kiki Smith, Grand Central Madison. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: Anthony Verde.


The Spring (2022) © Kiki Smith, Grand Central Madison. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo: Anthony Verde.

“I made images from nature that hold affection and personal significance to me as I hope they will for others,” Smith said. “I am very honored to be included in the tradition of artists making work for the MTA, particularly as I have rarely had the opportunity to make something that lives within the public realm.”

“I tried to bring pleasure to people that may feel hectic as they move to-and-fro and to give them an image to locate themselves in the station and to carry with them home.”


Paul Pfeiffer, detail from Still Life, presented by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design, © 2022 Paul Pfeiffer, curated by the International Center of Photography, New York, NY December 2022 – May 2023.


Paul Pfeiffer, detail from Still Life, presented by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts & Design, © 2022 Paul Pfeiffer, curated by the International Center of Photography, New York, NY December 2022 – May 2023.

In addition to the glass mosaics, MTA Arts & Design commissioned temporary digital artwork and poetry to be displayed on five LED screens and a rotating photography lightbox exhibition in partnership with the International Center of Photography.

Found on the concourse level at 43rd Street will be the site-specific photography series Still Life by Paul Pfeiffer. The work shows the street performer, “Da Gold Man,” a living statue covered in gold in Times Square. Still Life features 10 large-scale photographs of Da Gold Man, measuring approximately 75 inches tall and 100 inches wide.


Platform (2022) © Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, Grand Central Madison, Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design

Digital artwork by artists Gabriel Barcia-Colombo, Jordan Bruner, and Red Nose Studio will be displayed on LED screens at the north end of the concourse. Barcia-Colombo’s video artwork Platform features life-scale portraits of 40 New Yorkers in a crowd in slow-motion.

Bruner’s The Grand Wander explores what a journey traveling from Grand Central to Long Island might look like, from Manhattan streetscape to wildlife and beaches.

And Red Nose Studio’s Hat Trick is a stop-motion animation depicting a cat-and-mouse chase through the terminal between a man and his bowler hat.

Originally known as East Side Access, the Grand Central Madison project was first envisioned in the 1960s and was delayed for years until construction began in 2006. The estimated cost of the entire project is estimated to be nearly $12 billion.

The new station will bring LIRR service to Grand Central Terminal, increasing service systemwide by 40 percent during morning peak service and significantly increasing reverse peak service. The terminal is expected to open to the public this month, but no official date has been announced yet.

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