Craig Ward

Art, City Living

Craig Ward, subway bacteria, Subvisual Subway, bacteria art

E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and mold (the big fuzzy blobs) on the D train

Last February, 6sqft reported on a research project from Weill Cornell Medical College that mapped the DNA found on the New York City subway, which was said to include bubonic plague and anthrax. The scientists eventually reneged on their alarming findings, but little did they know that a Brooklyn-based artist was picking up where they left off. While riding the train this past summer, Craig Ward “saw a fellow photo­grapher’s image of bacteria cultured from her son’s handprint,” according to New York magazine. Fascinated by how it related to the urban myth that “when you hold on to the subway railings, you shake hands with 100 people all at once,” he embarked on a project to ride all 22 subway lines, collecting bacteria samples from poles and seats. What resulted is this strangely beautiful “Subvisual Subway” print series of everything from salmonella to Staphylococcus aureus.

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