The Arches of Old Penn Station (Subway Mural)


Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design for the mezzanine spaces at the 34th Street Penn Station subway stop, “The Arches of Old Penn Station” is an impressionist work of fluid line and turquoise tiling that recalls the latter-day bravura of the 1910 building, which was designed by the architecture firm McKim, Mead, and White. There is an anticipation of change in Al-Hadid`s murals, particularly for the one depicting the old Penn Station. The image of the bygone transit hub emerges form a hazy cloud of grey tiles like a memory fading back into view. The artist has created etch-like markings on the mosaic with thinly sliced white tiles, that reinvent the famous image of the station`s concourse as a blueprint with perspectival depth and a hint of abstraction. Al-Hadid's fluid mark-making and the ephemeral nature of her imagery underscores the blurry line between past and present, dream and reality, conscious and subconscious, truth and myth. Mayer of Munich studio worked directly with the artist and the MTA Arts & Design team, paying close attention to the subtleties in Al-Hadid's work, her painterly approach to image-making and her signature layers of controlled drips and pours.

Installed, 2018