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14th Street/Eight Avenue

Tom Otterness

Life Underground, 2001

Bronze sculpture on railings, beams, and columns throughout station

The scores of figures created by Tom Otterness to Life Underground invigorate and transform the transit environment into a place of joy and whimsy.

His small-scale sculptures invoke the subway and lore of the city and include an alligator rising out of a sewer to devour a man, workers carrying oversize versions of the tools used to build the subways, and people sneaking under fences to watch the construction or sweep up piles of pennies. There are also colossal feet and a totem-like sculpture whose human features are formed into the shape of a telephone.

Otterness placed his creations in unexpected places-beneath stairs and pillars, hanging from the ceiling, and on benches and railings-to surprise and delight riders as they come upon these humorous and captivating inhabitants.

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