The art of making whimsy out of the mundane is one of the highest manifestations of creativity. We’ve previously seen incredible artwork created out of papercardboardmoneyspambooksoffice supplies and even toilet paper rolls. Today, we turn to an even more narrow byproduct of mundanity: The iconic New York City Metrocard. [See more on Brainpickings]


Exhibition Tuesday!

Reed Seifer created the optimism MetroCard, a massive public art initiative in the MTA system between 2009-2011. Intended to be a serendipitous discovery for the audience, an edition of thirty million MetroCards with the text ‘optimism’ printed on the reverse were distributed randomly through MetroCard vending machines. Through the simple use of the word, the artist transferred a sense of positive, forward looking energy into the hands of those using the MetroCard. Currently, Seifer’s artwork is on view at the Schiltkamp Gallery at Clark University until April 2, 2014. In this exhibition, the optimism logo is reverse-printed on badges for distribution.

In 2004, Arts for Transit presented Rudolf Stingel’s Plan B, an enormous “painting” which consisted of a 27,000 square foot psychedelic wall-to-wall pink and blue floral carpet temporarily installed in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. The work was created in collaboration with our friends at the Art Production Fund and CREATIVE TIME. The Gagosian Gallery in New York City is currently displaying five of Stingel’s giant Tyrolean Alps paintings through April 19,2014. 

Images: Reed Seifer, optimism Metrocard, 2009-2011.

Reed Seifer, reverse-printed optimism, 2014.

Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, 2010.

Rudolf Stingel, Plan B, 2004.

Christina Chaey reports:

“The MTA’s iconic blue-and-gold MetroCard, wielded daily by 8.5 million New York City public transit riders, is getting a new look, brought to you by retail stores around the city who are turning your transit card into a coupon.

Starting this week, NYC riders will start seeing branded cards featuring coupons or promotions from retail stores.

Gap, for example, is using the MetroCard’s real estate to promote its newly remodeled flagship retail store in Chelsea. It’s also offering MTA riders 20% off through November 18 when they present their Gap-branded MetroCards at any retail location.”