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42nd Street-Bryant Park/Fifth Avenue

Samm Kunce

Under Bryant Park, 2002

Glass, stone, and marble mosaic walls in passageway between 42nd Street and 5th Avenue stations

One of the largest artworks in the MTA system runs under 42nd Street along the corridor connecting the B, D, F, V lines with the 7 train. Above the site is the Main Library and Bryant Park, which are reflected in the artwork below. On the walls of the tunnel we see rock outcroppings, tree roots, pipes, animal burrows, and literary quotations. The artist based the project on the idea of systems. In her words, "People travel the subway system, water and other utility services are delivered by pipes, and plants and trees that provide grace and softness against the city's sharper edges find their way to water and nutrients underground through a system of roots. In a similar way, literature is shared by systems of learning and lending, and many animals inhabit systems of burrows just as humans systematically divide portions of larger habitats aboveground." At the west end of the tunnel, color asserts itself in a frieze of rock and plant forms with a quote from psychologist Carl Jung: "Nature must not win the game, but she cannot lose."

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