Americans for the Arts Honors MTA Arts & Design for Fulton Center

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Fulton Center’s Sky Reflector-Net and New York Minute Among Best Public Art Projects in North America

NEW YORK, NY — Americans for the Arts’ 2015 Year in Review has recognized MTA Arts & Design for two projects at the newly opened Fulton Center: the one-of-a-kind cable-net sculpture Sky Reflector-Net and the large-scale video installation New York Minute. This is the fourth consecutive year that American for the Arts has recognized MTA Arts & Design for its work producing trailblazing public art for New York City’s transit system.

The Year in Review honor is awarded by the Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit foundation that is the only organization that recognizes outstanding public art in the United States and Canada. This year, 31 outstanding public art projects were recognized from more than 300 entries in North America. The two works commissioned by Arts & Design were honored in the permanent art category Sky Reflector-Net and in the temporary art category, New York Minute.

Sky Reflector-Net—an integrated artwork by artist James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects, and ARUP, is a tensioned cable-net sculpture clad in perforated optical-aluminum panels that hangs above Fulton Center’s grand conical atrium. Nearly 10,000 stainless steel components, 112 tensioned cables and 224 high-strength rods make up the artwork. The soaring cable-net is attached to 952 aluminum panels that distribute and reflect sunlight down to Fulton Center’s lowest levels, which house platforms for nine subway lines. The artwork combines beauty and function, reduces energy consumption and gives visitors a tangible sense of daylight.

“Sky Reflector-Net has had an enormous influence on Fulton Center as a public plaza by establishing a sense of place and creating a peaceful, light-filled environment,” said Sandra Bloodworth, director of MTA Arts & Design. “The artwork fills the top of the atrium, but it is so light and weightless that it feels like the sky is inside the subway station. It brings natural light two floors down from the street level, creating pools of daylight that people gravitate toward, which also becomes a natural way-finding device. It has made Fulton Center into a destination far beyond a transit hub, because visitors love to photograph it and commuters love to use it as a meeting spot. It gives people a place and a reason to stop, breathe and look up.”

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New York Minute—was the other project honored by Americans for the Arts, which was created by new-media artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo for Fulton Center. The large-scale video installation features portraits of New Yorkers doing everyday activities in super-slow motion, highlighting the comical and sometimes poignant street interactions that help make the city unique. The title refers to the hectic pace of New Yorkers’ lives.

The videos are displayed on 52 screens throughout the transit hub. They can be seen on the screens in the atrium’s street level and station platform level every 30 minutes, and on the mezzanine for the A and C Lines and in the Dey Street Corridor every 60 seconds.

“The average customer walking quickly past the screens might think the screens are showing a still portrait, but in actuality the screens show different actions in super slow motion. By slowing down and watching the same screen, that customer is rewarded with the whole video of one action, which could be something as simple and joyful as a dancing woman being twirled,” said Yaling Chen, manager of Arts & Design and its digital arts program. “Gabe’s work reminds us to pause for a second and just enjoy the moment.”

Photos courtesy: MTA Arts & Designs/Rob Wilson

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