Art from the Whitney Museum on view in NYC subway stations this summer

June 3, 2024

Image courtesy of Trent Reeves / MTA on Flickr

The Whitney Museum of American Art is bringing its landmark Biennial exhibition into the New York City subway system. The museum and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Friday revealed “Making It Here: New York and the Whitney Biennial,” a showcase of work by artists who have been, or are currently featured, in the Whitney Biennial, which has been hosted regularly since 1932. The art, displayed on vacant newsstands and former retail spaces, can be found at three subway stations: West 4th Street in Manhattan, Jay Street-MetroTech in Brooklyn, and Fordham Road in the Bronx.

Image courtesy of Trent Reeves / MTA on Flickr

Eamon Ore-Giron, currently featured in the Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing, has a temporary display at the West 4th Street station. A 24-panel mosaic by Ore-Giron, commissioned by MTA Arts & Design, is permanently on view at the Bay Parkway station in Brooklyn.

Four of the six artworks featured in the special exhibition are by artists included in the MTA’s Arts & Design collection.

“Working with the Whitney and other organizations is an opportunity to build cultural and community connections and enliven stations with special installations and events,” MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth said. “Through this partnership and the MTA’s creative approach to revitalizing underutilized retail sites, we’re using the power of art to make these transit spaces welcoming for our riders, which has been central to the Arts & Design team’s mission for nearly 40 years.”

Additionally, artworks from the Whitney’s collections by Jane Dickson and Roy Lichtenstein are temporarily displayed at West 4th Street. Both artists also have permanent installations at Times Square-42nd Street.

Alex Katz, whose artwork in hand-painted glass is permanently exhibited at the 57th Street station, will have a temporary display at the Fordham Road station.

As part of the exhibition, the Whitney will offer in-person artmaking for all ages at certain stations throughout the summer, as well as at the New York Botanical Garden on June 29, the New York Transit Museum on July 27, and the 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway station later this summer.

“At the Whitney, we are thrilled to partner with the MTA to bring the excitement of the Whitney Biennial to more New Yorkers,” Deputy Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art I.D. Aruede said. “This collaboration is part of the Museum’s ongoing commitment to making the work of contemporary American artists more accessible—as we do with our new free admission initiatives and other projects—and forwards our mission of celebrating artists and creativity.”

Since its inception, MTA Arts & Design has commissioned almost 400 permanent artworks, including 54 by artists that have been featured in the Whitney Biennial. The Biennial is the longest-running survey of contemporary art in the United States.

Last month, the Whitney released an interactive digital map featuring the public works of Biennial artists that shines a spotlight on their legacies that have become ingrained in the cultural fabric of NYC. Other examples of artwork by Biennial artists currently on view in the city’s subway system include:

  • Jeffery Gibson – Astoria Boulevard ​station
  • Romare Bearden – Westchester Square ​station
  • Vito Acconci – 161st Street-Yankee Stadium ​​​station
  • Sarah Sze – 96th Street station
  • Al Loving – Broadway Junction ​​​​​station
  • Robert Wilson – Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue​​​​ station
  • James Little – Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station
  • Alison Saar – Harlem-125th Street Metro-North station

Last October, the MTA issued a public offering looking for creative ways to repurpose vacant retail spaces in the subway system to make stations more welcoming for customers. One of the initiative’s partners, ChaShaMa, has installations at 5th Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan and 63rd Drive-Rego Park in Queens.


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