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Penn Station

Andrew Leicester

Ghosts Series, 1994

Terra cotta wall murals in five locations and porcelain enamel above escalator

Andrew Leicester's Ghost Series consists of five monumental bas-relief terra cotta murals installed throughout the Long Island Rail Road station. The pieces evoke the building's illustrious predecessor, the 1910 Pennsylvania Station building by McKim, Mead and White that was demolished in 1963, an event that triggering the historic preservation movement. Fragments of the old Penn Station are hidden in the lower depths of the building that replaced it, and the murals symbolically reveal the old building now hidden behind new walls.

In Day and Night, a 500-square-foot-mural in the main concourse, Leicester reinterprets Adolph Wineman's sculpture of the same name that presided over the old station's entrances, depicting two women flanking a gigantic clock. The artist embedded the date the original building was demolished - 10/28/63 - into the clock's blank face. Other murals include Mercury Man, a reproduction of another sculptural figure, and a porcelain-on-steel rendering of blueprints for the demolished building. Taken together, Ghost Series is a compelling memento mori - a reminder that we are mortal.

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