Some subway art is questionable, but Bill Brand’s Masstransiscope is one of my favorites- creative, fun and unexpected. Newly restored in 2008, the piece can be seen from the B and Q trains in the Myrtle stop in Brooklyn. As you’re sitting there dreading the commute to work or sending daggers with your eyes to the lady eating the stanky Chinese food across from you or avoiding eye contact with the mariachi band playing next to you, Masstransiscope suddenly appears outside the subway window, morphing from one painting to the next in brilliant color.
The piece was originally installed in 1980 as a Creative Time project, which seems like an awesome juxtaposition in the height of the subway graffiti movement. The 228 painted panels are based on the old timey novelty, the Zoetrope, which people would spin for a bit of primitive animation…entertaining themselves for hours no doubt. Visible through special slits, the bright colors seem to move and morph as the train speeds into Manhattan.
Who: Bill Brand
Where: Manhattan Bound B & Q trains, Myrtle Ave and Flatbush Ave, 11201
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