Home Subway Advertising MoMA taking over Atlantic/Pacific

MoMA taking over Atlantic/Pacific

by Benjamin Kabak


Generally, it costs around $20 to get into the Museum of Modern Art, but starting today and continuing on through the middle of March, savvy straphangers can visit replicas of MoMA’s most famous works for the cost of a MetroCard swipe.

As part of a rather ambitious advertising campaign, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. subway stop will host a full-station takeover by MoMA. The columns and turnstile arms will be adorned with museum logos, and the walls will feature true-to-life replicas of some of the museum’s iconic images. Art buffs can even download station-centric audio tours or call in to hear the guide from the nearest working payphone.

Randy Kennedy of The Times has more on what the MTA is calling a groundbreaking “station domination“:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its advertising contractors routinely review the content of subway ads, keeping their eyes out for things that are too racy or rude. But they have never had an ad quite like one that came their way recently: an image of five naked women (probably prostitutes) vamping it up and staring down the viewer.

The fact that the frontal nudity is fully Cubist and was painted by Picasso more than a century ago undoubtedly made the decision a lot easier. And so on Monday, a glossy reproduction of that artwork, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” took its place underground in the Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street subway stations in Brooklyn, with copies of 57 other works from the Museum of Modern Art that will briefly transform the cavernous stations into a kunsthalle.

The museum’s publicity campaign, one of the most ambitious it has ever undertaken in the city, will cover every ad space in the two connected stations, spaces normally given over to plugs for movies, beer and podiatry treatments. In their place will be reproductions of works drawn from all parts of the museum, both well-known and more contemporary, by artists like Matisse, Hopper, O’Keeffe, Marlene Dumas, Cindy Sherman and Martin Kippenberger.

“We’ve never done a large-scale ad campaign for New Yorkers focused just on the permanent collection,” said Kim Mitchell, the museum’s chief communications officer. She said the idea had grown out of a new marketing advisory committee’s feeling — confirmed by focus groups — that many New Yorkers view the museum as a tourist-saturated place that is no longer quite as welcoming to natives.

Unfortunately, Kennedy doesn’t have a cost figure for this campaign. I’d be quite curious to find out how much the MTA is raking in from this promo.

Around the Web, some anticipation is building for the noon opening of this subterranean makeshift gallery. The Gowanus Lounge seems intrigued by what it called a bizarre preview. A Flickr set of the installation in progress offers up some tantalizing glimpses of a fun event — including a well-placed version of Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie right above the Broadway line train.

I, along with over 49,999 of my closest friends, pass through that station at least twice a day. I’ll have to take a few minutes and hop off the train once to check out this museum, and, hey, at least I’ll get to save $18 over the cost of a MoMA admissions ticket.

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Duke87 February 10, 2009 - 5:09 am

Uh huh. And their plan from keeping the artwork free of sharpie markings and rippings is…

This ain’t gonna last long without some heavy continuous maintenance.

Julie February 10, 2009 - 9:21 am

I’m with you, Ben. I’m thrilled to see MoMA taking over the station that I use every day. Things like this (and the no-pants subway ride) are why I love New York.

Alon Levy February 10, 2009 - 10:10 am

If it costs you $20 to get into MoMA, then NYU is really bad about giving museum passes to its students. For Columbia students, MoMA is free.

rhywun February 10, 2009 - 10:17 am

I just passed through Pacific Street & I didn’t see anything. Maybe it’s only the mezzanines?

The Dog (and Pig) Days of February - City Room Blog - NYTimes.com February 10, 2009 - 12:35 pm

[…] Continuous Lean] You don’t need to spend 20 bucks to see priceless works of art at MoMA. Justswipe your Metro card at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Ave.-Pacific St. station. [2nd Ave […]

Kid Twist February 10, 2009 - 12:53 pm

You’ll save more than $18, Ben. Remember, it only costs you $1.11 to get in 🙂

Sara Nordmann February 10, 2009 - 11:19 pm

Hi Ben. It’s your future wife/Facebook stalker here. I am so thrilled about the MoMA project! I only wish I lived in New York. One day (again) soon, I hope.

Streetsblog » Today’s Headlines February 11, 2009 - 8:53 am

[…] MoMA Goes Underground at Atlantic/Pacific Station (2nd Ave Sagas) […]

Danny February 11, 2009 - 10:47 pm

I hope they install a Duchamp urinal and someone pisses in it.

Poster Boy’s MoMA attack: Street art or vandalism? :: Second Ave. Sagas | A New York City Subway Blog February 26, 2009 - 12:30 pm

[…] the weekend, this group attacked the MoMA installation in the Atlantic Ave./Pacific St. station. By the time I heard of the attack and took a walk through the station yesterday at 3 p.m., nearly […]


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