New MTA Photography Exhibits at 2 Stations Examine City Waterfronts in Transition

Oct. 2, 2016
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts & Design has installed additions to two of its major art programs, Lightbox photography and Poetry in Motion, to welcome customers back from summer holiday with new art on view.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts & Design has installed additions to two of its major art programs, Lightbox photography and Poetry in Motion, to welcome customers back from summer holiday with new art on view in the MTA New York City Transit system.
As part of its Lightbox photographic art program, MTA Arts & Design has installed new exhibits at Bowling Green and Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr 
 LIRR displaying large-scale photographs of landscapes familiar to city residents. At Bowling Green 
, “A Day at Governors Island” by Timothy Shenck features photographs of the beloved island park and its newest section, The Hills, which is a short ferry ride away from the subway station. At Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr, Nathan Kensinger’s “Industrial Twilight” shows sweeping views of Brooklyn’s changing industrial waterfront.

Lightbox Program

“A Day at Governors Island” captures the serene atmosphere of the 172-acre island, a public green space in New York Harbor that is mere yards from lower Manhattan and Brooklyn via ferry. The photos show a park that seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of New York City and its downtown skyscrapers, even though it is a 10-minute ferry ride from the Battery Maritime Building near Bowling Green. Shenck highlights The Hills, the newest geographic feature of the island that rises as high as 70 feet and offers spectacular harbor views. The histories of Governors Island and the subway system are intertwined; the portion of the island where The Hills rests was created from infill removed during the construction of the Lexington Avenue subway line. “A Day at Governors Island” allows residents and visitors to experience the island year-round, even though the island itself is open to the public only during the summer.

“We felt that the thousands of travelers passing through Bowling Green station would appreciate this glimpse of what seems like a faraway place, but is actually very close by. Timothy Schenck captures the spirit and essence of Governors Island, and the wonderful skyline views that can be seen while spending a day there,” said MTA Arts & Design Director Sandra Bloodworth.

Photographer Nathan Kensinger documents an alternate perspective of New York’s waterfront in “Industrial Twilight.” He was fascinated by the evidence of communities undergoing change, especially in Brooklyn, where heavy industry and manufacturing plants from the last century have morphed into ruins and then into residential housing, parks and commercial development. “Industrial Twilight” shows the eerie stillness of places where industry thrived, as in an image of a canoeist gliding down the Gowanus Canal past a still-active concrete plant and an 
 train in the background, and in photos of the pre-transformation waterfront at Bush Terminal and the Domino Sugar refinery. The architecture and lighting in the images of the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Greenpoint Terminal Market provide a haunting and humble look at the borough, while a photo of an overgrown home on Admiral’s Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is a reminder that the city’s growth never ends.

“As Brooklyn goes through enormous changes, the Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr station – which also has gone through major changes recently - is the perfect place for a look at the nearby waterfront and its shifting tides from industrial to the new, from the past to the present. Nathan Kensinger looks at these transforming spaces with a reverent eye, capturing a moment in time for commuters on the go,” said Lester Burg, senior manager at MTA Arts & Design.

“A Day at Governors Island” was sponsored by Duggal and Kodak alaris. “Industrial Twilight” was sponsored by Griffin Editions and Kodak alaris.

Poetry in Motion

For customers who prefer their art to arrive with their train, MTA Arts & Design has released two new car cards as part of the popular Poetry in Motion program, a partnership with the Poetry Society of America that will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year. These cards have been installed in hundreds of subway cars as part of Arts & Design’s mission to inspire customers on their daily journeys. This year’s cards feature poems by Gary Snyder and Marilyn Nelson, paired with images of permanent station art commissioned by Arts & Design at the Rockaway Blvd 
 station and Livonia Av 

Snyder, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, environmentalist, Zen Buddhist and educator, was involved in the Beat movement and read with Allen Ginsberg at the Six Gallery reading in 1955. He has published books of poetry and prose and received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1975 for his collection, “Turtle Island.” His poem, “Here,” which poses an existential question, is juxtaposed with the shadow created by artist Ray King’s 2015 “Connections,” a colorful glass sculpture installed at Rockaway Blvd. King’s geometric structures use light and color to project and reflect light chromatics into surrounding spaces.

“I'm so proud to have an image of my art accompany such a lovely - exquisite, actually – poem,” King said.

The second new Poetry in Motion car card for 2016 features Marilyn Nelson’s “A Strange Beautiful Woman,” which provides a moment for perspective on individuality, beauty and flaws. Nelson’s awards and accolades include the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1992, PSA’s lifetime achievement Frost Medal, two Pushcart Prizes, and fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2001 to 2006, she served as Connecticut’s poet laureate.

“A Strange Beautiful Woman” has been paired with an image of a wistful girl surrounded by butterflies from Philemona Williamson’s “Seasons,” which was installed in 2007 at the Livonia Av station. Williamson, a painter and art educator who exhibited her work for more than 25 years at the June Kelly Gallery in New York, creates figures in playful or exotic settings that evoke the moods and feelings of the young and young at heart. She has received awards from groups such as Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts.

“The Poetry Society of America is so pleased to continue our longstanding partnership with MTA Arts & Design to bring beautiful poetry into the lives of New Yorkers, whether it is for a brief moment during their commute or a spark of a thought that lingers with them for the rest of the day. We look forward to the 25th anniversary of this cherished program in 2017," said Alice Quinn, executive director of the Poetry Society of America.