The Real Underground Art Scene

Came across this article on art in subway stations and was very impressed. Why does this matter, you say? Well, it doesn't, except when you spend long periods of time staring at the wall in a subway station that is well over 100 degrees in the summer you wonder about how different treatments of a concrete box might make for a more pleasurable day.

Art for a token... or is it token art?
New York is doing fairly well on the art front these days, as they have actually removed the 1970s bland tile from many stations and restored a faux-1900 mosaic tile look to them. There is also a reasonable amount of installed artwork, though many of the more interactive ones eventually break down. The best has to be REACH-New York, which can be found very close to uSkyscraper's home base.

Toronto is more of a problem. Because of the city's total funding crisis, the TTC is doing a great job of maintaining the status quo but is falling behind on renovations and expansions. This can be cool in a way (where else can you see 1960's retro buses roaming the streets?) but the old subway stations pretty much look like an unrenovated bathroom at this point. The new stations were done with such obvious budget constraints that they feature exposed concrete and depressing fluorescent lighting. Someone's architects should have ridden the Stockholm subway first...


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