Huge Yayoi Kusama piece to be installed under Grand Central


This high-profile train station will be getting some high-profile art to match. 

A public work by the beloved Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will feature prominently in the 700,000-square-foot Long Island Rail Road terminal set to open beneath Midtown’s Grand Central this December. 

Specifically, a floor-to-ceiling mosaic by the 93-year-old will dazzle visitors in a subterranean gallery within Grand Central Madison, formerly known as East Side Access. The $11 billion project, the biggest in MTA history, has been in the works since 2006 and spans five blocks below Madison Avenue, from East 43rd to East 48th streets, the New York Times reported

The Tokyo-based sculptor has done multiple buzzy New York exhibits in recent years at private venues. Both her 2021 “KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature” show at the New York Botanical Garden and her David Zwirner “Infinity Room” installations sold out and attracted long lines of fans waiting to pose with her iconic polka-dot creations. Now, the masses will be able to regularly enjoy her designs in a public setting at the transit hub. 

yayoi kusama grand central madison
“I Want to Fly to the Universe” by artist Yayoi Kusama on display at the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx on April 10, 2021.
Getty Images

Alongside Kusama’s mosaic will be one by artist Kiki Smith, 68, who is known for her bronze work. Together, the pair will get 2,400 square feet of space to install their murals. The designs haven’t yet been unveiled, but Smith said she created hers “with the goal of giving people a beautiful image to carry with them and to provide a sense of place in the station,” and that it will “bring the beauty of the eastern shores of Long Island and the East River light to life,” according to the Times. 

“We are thrilled to announce Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith have been commissioned for permanent artworks in MTA’s new Grand Central Madison Terminal,” the MTA Arts & Design program tweeted on Friday. 

“We are thrilled to include powerful and thought-provoking art by two incredible artists for everyone who passes through this new public space,” the program’s director, Sandra Bloodworth, added in a statement. “These extraordinary original artworks will be part of the fabric of the city and will bring joy to all who travel through.”





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