Harlem-125th St (Hudson)

Harlem Encore

Terry Adkins
Artwork in metal by Terry Adkins showing abstract forms celebrating Harlem.
“Harlem Encore” (1999) by Terry Adkins at MNR Harlem - 125 Street Station. Photo: Trent Reeves

About the Project

MTA Metro-North's two-mile Park Avenue Viaduct carries trains in and out of Grand Central Terminal. Parts of the structure date back to the 19th century, including the landmark 125th Street railroad station, that has been restored. The station is a busy site and an entry point to a community that is alive 24/7. 

For the bridge, sculptor Terry Adkins's created “Harlem Encore” in two distinct silhouetted aluminum relief panels. The work celebrates Harlem's past achievements and bright future. In the polished images that flank the bridge's western façade, Adkins has memorialized the Afro-Atlantic ancestors with figures that reflect the spiritual triumph over adversity. On the eastern side the art salutes continuity and urban life with figures seen in the midst of skyscrapers. On both sides, sphinxes and streaming suns add strength, dignity, and timelessness. At night, blue back lighting accentuates the artwork’s powerful presence on the street.

About the Artist

Terry Adkins (1953-2014) was an interdisciplinary artist whose practice included sculpture, performance, video, and photography. Combining deep interests in history, language, and music, he devoted his practice to upholding the legacies of larger-than-life figures, often from the canon of African American culture. Many of his works draw from the biographies of little-known historical figures and focus on obscure details in the lives of seminal figures. His artworks were often inspired by, dedicated to, or referred to musicians or musical instruments; specific installations and exhibitions were sometimes labeled "recitals." Sometimes, these arrangements of sculptures were "activated" in performances by Adkins' collaborative performance group, the Lone Wolf Recital Corps. 

Adkins' work has been exhibited at museums and galleries worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and is in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Tate Modern in London.