Ezra Masch Moves New York’s Subway to Pittsburgh

THE DAILY PIC: At the Mattress Factory, an installation by Ezra Masch lets you imagine the subway that should take you there.

THE DAILY PIC (#1662): The Pic is in Pittsburgh for one final day – this time at the Mattress Factory, the oldest museum in the world dedicated to installation art. This season’s eight projects come under the heading “Factory Installed,” but don’t worry – for once I won’t make any tie-in to a certain hero of mine and his Factory.

Instead, I’ll draw attention to a basement piece called Stations, by Ezra Masch. Artists faced with an underground space most often go all Hallowe’en, but Masch came up with a better plan: He moved New York’s great subway to Pittsburgh. He’s installed five monitors on each of the side walls of his tunnel-like gallery, and each one screens the view seen from a different window in the same subway car – as though you were sitting in it and looking out. (Click here to watch a clip of the piece.) It’s a simple premise, and a lovely, simple exploration of what it’s like to travel underground.

It’s no exaggeration to say that expanding public transport could have truly world-changing implications for urban life – for planetary life – over the coming century. Masch’s piece can be thought of as a ride simulator for populations, like Pittsburgh’s, that are more used to driving.

 For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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