86 St (Q)

Subway Portraits

Chuck Close
Mosaics by Chuck Close featuring a portrait of the composer Philip Glass and a portrait of the artist Cindy Sherman.
“Subway Portraits” (2017) by Chuck Close at NYCT 86 Street station. Photo: Nafis Azad

About the Project

Chuck Close created 12 large-scale portraits for 86 St that are based on the artist’s painstakingly detailed photo-based paintings. His various painting techniques have been interpreted in 10 works as mosaic, and in two as ceramic tile. The people portrayed represent the variety of individuals that pass though the MTA system, and are chiefly cultural figures that have frequently been subjects in his artistic career spanning over half a century, including Philip Glass, Zhang Huan, Kara Walker, Alex Katz, Cecily Brown, Cindy Sherman, and Lou Reed, as well as two distinct self-portraits.  

About the Artist

Chuck Close was an internationally acclaimed painter and printmaker whose artwork has been featured in hundreds of exhibitions as well as private and permanent museum collections around the world. He is renowned for creating portraits by using many innovative techniques within a grid, such as strokes of color or meticulous detail. He was the recipient of a National Medal of the Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton, and was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.