in the Public Realm
Grand Central Subway Station

Grand Central Terminal - Other Artworks
Thomas Tarangioli
Sites at this Tour Stop...



As Above, So Below


About this Tour Stop...

At the Northern end of the Terminal is another work of interest, 'As Above, So Below' a glass and bronze mosaic created by Ellen Driscoll in 1998 (28 on the art map). This mosaic homage to the heritage of the Main Concourse by taking the viewer on a 'round the world journey to the night sky above five different continents. The work's tableaus recount the myths of the continents and their civilizations, the heavens, and the underworld. Looked at one by one, these scenes bring to life ancient tales of the birth of the world, the sun's daily transit, the stars in their courses, and the fates and fortunes of mortals and deities and suggests how the stories we tell about the heavens mirror the way we live on earth. If you continue upstairs in the lobby of the Metlife Building, you will see 'Flight' by Richard Lippold, one of his 'space cages' elegant hanging constructions made of wires, inspired by the original owner of the building, Pan Am. Now, head towards the Lexington Avenue Market entrance to Grand Central, and look up! There you will see a light fixture entitled 'Sirshasana' created by Donald Lipski in 1998 and labled 9 on our map. In Sirshasana, a sculptural chandelier in the shape of a golden-rooted olive tree suspended above the street-level entrance to the Grand Central Market, Donald Lipski drew upon Hindu and Greek lore. "To the ancient Greeks the olive tree symbolized freedom and purity," he explains. "And the name 'Sirshasana' refers to a yoga headstand posture - the inverted tree..." With branches that span twenty-five feet and 5,000 brilliant crystal pendants, the tree dominates the area, bringing the feel of an outdoor market. The space was designed so that morning sun bathes the tree and floods the market with light. The form has writhing, enticing, and unexpected elements, with the base of the tree finished in gold and crystals dangling in place of olives In addition to alluding to the decorative chandeliers in Grand Central, the tree is a comment on the allure of the exotic and tempting wares sold in the marketplace. Before you leave, walk underground. There you can see 'V Beam', hanging overhead at the #7 platform, by Christopher Stroat in 2000 which manages to incorporate lighting, signage, and even the fan system into a single aesthetic statement.