59th Street/Lexington Avenue-59th Street Station // 4, 5, 6, N, R, W subway trains
Elizabeth Murray: Blooming, 1996
Riders at this station are treated to the joyous burst of color and shapes that is Blooming. The mosaics defy the corners of the space as the imagery wraps around corners, down steps, and through doorways.
Elizabeth Murray’s Blooming takes its title from Bloomingdale’s, located above the station upstairs. The artist views the subway as a “dreamy underworld” and also a place to wake up, and her pink trees, red shoes and yellow mugs with steaming coffee succeed in gaining the viewers’ attention. Murray says, “I added the stepping shoes and steaming coffee cups, part of the ritual of every morning or evening subway trip.” The images are intended to “stimulate thoughts about passage, as does the poetry” that is incorporated into the mural, lines from William Butler Yeats’s, “In dreams begin responsibility,” and Gwendolyn Brooks’s “Conduct your blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind.”
The bottom two photos are of the space before the mosaic was installed. What a difference!