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MTA Arts & Design


14th Street-Union Square

Mary Miss

Framing Union Square, 1998

Glass, enameled steel, and aluminum frames highlighting historic and architectural elements throughout station complex

Mary Miss worked with architect Lee Harris Pomeroy to use the rehabilitation of Union Square station as an opportunity to uncover hidden structural elements, cables, and conduits - some still functional and others replaced by new improvements. Old decorative work reappeared during construction, such as mosaics, pilasters, name plaques, and six terra cotta eagles from the 1904 station, once presumed lost.

Miss brings these treasures to the surface though a network of frames, windows, apertures, and mirrors. The bright red frames stand out; what they frame is more subtle - a bolt, a fragment of ancient-looking mosaic, a piece of rusted steel cable. Other frames call attention to the station's historic name plaques. "I'm inviting the public to look below the surface, to see a 'slice' of the station, its structure, its history, says the artist. In this most public of places, the apertures offer an intimate engagement. Looking in, you will see the station's workings - sometimes you will see layers of words and reflected images, including your own!"

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