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MTA Arts & Design


59th Street-Columbus Circle

Sol LeWitt

Whirls and twirls (MTA), 2009

Ceramic tile on mezzanine wall between the 1 and A, B, C, D

A monumental and vibrant porcelain tile wall drawing by Sol LeWitt has been installed at 59th Street-Columbus Circle. The artist created the proposal in 2004 and, working with Dattner Architects, selected the site in an expansive wall facing a double-wide stairway and landing that leads from the mezzanine to the platforms of the A, C, B, D and 1 trains. Titled Whirls and twirls (MTA), the artwork is 53 feet wide and by 11 feet high and consists of 250 porcelain tiles in six colors, each cut to meet the artist's specifications. The artist created the drawing/maquette for the project, reviewed and selected materials, and approved color samples prior to his death in 2007.

The artist is known for his sculptures and his wall drawings, in which detailed directions are provided for the execution of the artwork in paint or pencil. The site-specific piece - unique because it is a permanent public installation of a wall drawing - is a bravura work of precision, with swooping curves and vertical and horizontal bars in vibrant color that completely fills the space. The tile was cut to the exact dimensions of the drawing to ensure that the scale of the work and the color sequences are as the artist intended.

Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) is a celebrated artist who has had hundreds of solo exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide since 1965. His work includes more than 1,100 wall drawings, photographs, hundreds of works on paper, and geometry-based sculptures. An exhibition at Mass MOCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, features 105 wall drawings in a specially designed museum space and will be on view through 2033.

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