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Funktional Vibrations

NYCT 34 St-Hudson Yards (7)

Funktional Vibrations

Xenobia Bailey
Artwork in mosaic by Xenobia Bailey showing bright shapes in abstract patterns.
“Funktional Vibrations” (2015) by Xenobia Bailey at NYCT 34 St–Hudson Yards Station. Photo: © David Sundberg/Esto

About the Project

Xenobia Bailey’s artwork consists of majestic mosaics suspended above the main entrance of the new 34 St-Hudson Yards station that provide a celebratory welcome. The art crowns the station and features overlapping mandala-like circles and patterns against a cobalt blue background. In the upper right a sun-like form emits rays of color bands. Starbursts of bright light appear through the blue background. The glass mosaic artwork is vibrant, joyous and rich with pattern and texture and among the largest in Arts & Design’s collection of commissioned works in the MTA transit network. 

Inside the station mezzanine, the curved recessed ceiling dome contains glittering mosaics, also set against a deep blue background with repeating mandalas and patterns. Xenobia Bailey is a fiber artist who works primarily in crochet and textiles, creating sculptural work and textiles with an architectural harmony that celebrates her materials and forms. Her art for the station began as crocheted pieces, which were transferred to digital images, enlarged and interpreted into mosaic by Miotto Mosaic Art Studio. 

Bailey sees the work as speaking to the universal idea of creation and has created artwork that vibrates with energy. She refers to her accumulation of materials as in the tradition of African-American art—reflected in the music of the 1960’s she grew up with—and its material culture and design, where one made do with what was available, and made it into something new and wonderful. 

About the Artist

Xenobia Bailey studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington and industrial design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. She is known for her crocheted hats, large mandalas, and sculptural installations created form yarn. The 1960s-era music and materials, as in the tradition of African-American art and its material culture and design, inspire her work.  

Bailey is best known for her eclectic crochet hats and large-scale crochet mandalas, consisting of colorful concentric circles and repeating patterns. Her designs draw influences from in Africa, China, and Native American and Eastern philosophies, with undertones of the 1970's funk aesthetic. Bailey has been artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Society for Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in New York City. Her work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Jersey City Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Her work is in the permanent collections at Harlem's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Allentown Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, and the Museum of Arts and Design. 

"Funktional Vibrations" Podcast