A year or two ago I wrote about the Creative Time-sponsored art piece in the subway tunnel just past the DeKalb Avenue station in Brooklyn. The piece is a brightly-lit series of paintings that form an animation sequence of colorful shapes if you look out the window at the right time. What caught my attention were the layers of graffiti that covered this innovative piece. The tags took on the feel of historical artifacts, and suggested what ultimately covered the entire tunnel, of which this lit wall was only a brief reveal. To follow up, a couple weeks ago I noticed the graffiti has been scrubbed off and the original artwork is now visible. It looks dated, although I guess the graffiti did too.
Art or even advertising geared toward the subway commuter in between stations is pretty rare. So it took me by surprise as I was pressed up against the windowed door of a D.C. Metrorail car at 4 a.m. last Tuesday when a movie trailer suddenly loomed up against the high curved wall of the tunnel in between stations, animated at the speed of the moving train, complete with ending credits. I think the trailer was for Coraline, but the experience was sort of wonderful. Maybe I was the only only with a clear enough view, but it seemed like no one else really blinked an eye at this unexpected image. But then again it was 4 a.m., and rather than the office we were bound for an event so duly expected that this innovative advertisement for the morning commute didn’t have much of a chance.