Visitors to New York’s Penn Station Can Enjoy A New Hall Full Of Public Art
There is nothing quite like enjoying public art while traveling by train. Penn Station in New York is welcoming travelers with the sight of contemporary art and architectural features in the newly-opened Moynihan Train Hall.
Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station
This 255,000 sq ft space was built at a cost of $1.6 billion and is located across the street from the main Penn Station, in the historic James A. Farley Post Office. The hall will serve as a central hub for Long Island Railroad and Amtrak passengers. The new hall has 92-foot-high vaulted ceilings, as well as a one-acre, sky-lit atrium. It is the site for various art installations by Stan Douglas, Kehinde Wiley and creative duo, Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
Through a partnership between Empire State Development and Public Art Fund, a non-profit that commissions and presents art in public, these beautiful artworks were commissioned.
The Hive is an amazing, inverted cityscape by Elmgreen and Dragset and was inspired by a number of iconic buildings in New York City and other cities around the globe. The artists have woven these into their own, invented and inverted architectural designs. This can be seen at the midblock entrance at 31st Street.
At the 33rd Street midblock entrance, Wiley’s Go covers the ceiling with a backlit, hand-painted, stained-glass triptych, recalling the grandeur of decorative Baroque and Renaissance painting. The triptych features young, black New Yorkers depicted in break-dance poses and the subjects are in the sky, alongside pigeons, a jet plane and puffy clouds.
Penn Station’s Half Century
This photo series by Stan Douglas stands in four, 22-foot-long panels spread along the wall, above the ticketed waiting room and adjacent to the main boarding concourse. It consists of nine photographic panels, reconstructing forgotten moments chosen from the history of the original Pennsylvania Station, between 1910 and 1963. To create his photo installation, Douglas photographed live actors in period costume. He then combined them with digitally recreated interiors of the original, demolished station.
Three astonishing works of art
Speaking of the installation, Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of Public Art Fund, said, “Nothing could be more fitting for a great metropolitan transit hub than three astonishing works of art that stop us in our tracks.” Baume said that each work of art dazzles with its “sheer beauty, epic scale and technical mastery.”
The director said that collectively, these pieces of art remind us that great art comes from great ideas. Baume said that each artist had thought deeply about the “history, context, significance and future of this newly-transformed place. He said they had brilliantly created innovative works of art that allow us to see ourselves, in the past, present and future, in a “truly civic space.”
When next visiting New York, even if you aren’t planning on catching a train, head to Penn Station to view these magnificent, public art installations in person. Read more about the various projects of the Public Art Fund on their official website.