Artist Simon Levenson On Display At Beach 60 Street Station
Artist Simon Levenson’s vision of the “Beaches of New York City, 2011” comes just in time for the long winter days ahead. MTA Arts for Transit’s newest installation at the Beach 60 station features sun-filled days at the beach. Levenson paints figures at the beach in various poses in this work, which has the benefit of strong light that comes from the nearby beach being depicted.
Levenson creates his figures serially, so they may be read in sequence as one reads a story.
The Far Rockaway bound side of the station faces the ocean and has the brightest light and contains two large panels with larger than life-size figures filling the space amid the cool blue of the ocean. On the northbound side, the glass block contains a sequence of smaller vignettes that extend from sand to the sea in one long band. The view of the sequence depends upon the transit riders’ path going up to or down from the elevated platform.
The artwork was created in glass block, which is located in the mezzanine area, located above the street and below the platform. The fabrication technique echoed Levenson’s brushwork, with hand painting of the individual halfblocks, which were then laminated to clear blocks. The resulting work is durable and allows light to come though. In the evening the illuminated interiors will light the work so it can be seen by those approaching the station.
The figures – many are children with their mothers – are seen in free and unguarded moments of delight that often come as the sand meets the surf. They are based on real people from the community; based on sketches and photographs. Levenson has long painted such beach scenes and speaks of his childhood memories at the beach, “where life’s greatest and smallest dramas play out on a daily basis.”