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Fathom Points + Compass Bearings

Fathom Points + Compass Bearings

Alyson Shotz
A mosaic made of glossy blue tile and metalic accents covers a wall of a subway station. Lines fan out from a central point with numbers interspersed. One line is labeled “Latitude 40.25.”

At the Smith-9 Street Station, Alyson Shotz uses the local maritime history of the surrounding Gowanus and Red Hook communities to create a series of windows and large wall mosaic. Shotz has a studio near the station, in Red Hook, and has long been fascinated by the history in the area’s cobblestone streets and old factory buildings. The area’s maritime history is at a remove from the casual viewer and Shotz brings it to the forefront.

The rear wall of the station building may seem like an abstract line drawing created in stainless steel against a vivid blue tile mosaic background. As one moves closer, it is revealed as a nautical map, with numbers for depth and letters for directions.

A closeup of the blue mosaic. Small details made of metallic inlay and rectangular blue tiles of varying shades are visible.
A subway turnstile with a sign for the F and G lines overhead. The blue mosaic is visible beyond the turnstiles, with one of the central metallic points framed by the turnstile.

The mosaic map was adapted from a 1779 nautical map of NY Harbor as seen from the shoreline of Brooklyn by Mosaika Art & Design fabricators. Shotz brings history to the present, in the contemporary new station building.

Exhibit details

  • Title
    Fathom Points + Compass Bearings
  • Artist Name
    Alyson Shotz
  • Location
    Smith—9 Sts (F, G)
  • Year
    2013
  • Program
    Permanent Art
  • On Display
    On Display
  • Type
    Glass