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MTA Arts & Design


9th Avenue

Christopher Russell

Bees for Sunset Park, 2012

Cast bronze

Christopher Russell’s artwork is centered on the image of the bee. The artist imagined the station as a kind of beehive, a center of activity, with many individuals converging, like bees, darting in and out, to and from their many pursuits. The historic building with its central entrance and peaked roof evokes the feeling of a beehive. The artist found the image of the bee as an appropriate motif since the station’s architecture is inspired by the Arts and Crafts style. During the Arts and Crafts period, artists and designers utilized the bee, the hive, and honeycomb extensively, in the decorative wall coverings, objects and furnishings.

Incorporating this imagery, Russell designed 2 sets of gates and finials for the fences that surround the open spaces at each side of the station. The cast bronze gates are based on honeycombs, greatly magnified. These monumental honeycombs are populated by equally magnified bees depicted in their crowds, busily occupied. The cells of the honeycomb are open, allowing light to pass through, and bringing out the hexagonal pattern of the comb, which creates depth and visual interest, when viewed from a distance.

The finials, atop each the tallest posts along the fences, feature a single bee, larger than life, working on an equally exaggerated flower head. The bees are intended as an affirmation of nature in the city, reminding passers-by of their fertility, productivity, and community. The artwork was fabricated by Modern Art Foundry.

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