A new permanent artwork by Jim Hodges installed inside Grand Central-42 St station

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A new permanent artwork by Jim Hodges installed inside Grand Central-42 St station
I dreamed a world and called it Love (2020) © Jim Hodges, NYC Transit Grand Central-42 St Station. Commissioned by MTA Arts & Design. Photo by David Regen. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.

NEW YORK, NY.- MTA Arts & Design, Gladstone Gallery, and Jim Hodges Studio announced the unveiling of I dreamed a world and called it Love, a new permanent artwork by contemporary artist Jim Hodges, at Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit Grand Central-42 St station.

Located near the 42 Street entrance, on the landing and mezzanine levels of the stairs and escalator that connect Grand Central Terminal and Grand Central-42 St subway station. I dreamed a world and called it Love is an expansive mirrored-glass installation that further investigates the thematic and formal issues addressed in Hodges’ 2016 exhibition at Gladstone Gallery of the same name. Rooted in the notion that a visual experience can be profoundly transformative, the Gladstone show was comprised of multiple multicolored patterned panels of mirrored glass arranged as a single panorama around the perimeter of the gallery. Vast in scale and visually encompassing, the installation offered itself as an immersive environment for contemplation.

The artist’s Grand Central composition inverts the commuter’s visual experience of descending underground, starting with an upper landing rendered in sparkling deep blues that reference the celestial ceiling of Grand Central’s Main Concourse and contrast the pale stone architecture of the Terminal, then bursting into a kaleidoscope of color on the lower mezzanine that dazzles against the backdrop of black granite in the newly renovated subway entrance. The piece is realized entirely in undulating camouflage patterns, reflecting Hodges emphatic embrace of the iconographic markings that have long been a signature motif in his work. Exploring the ways in which camouflage references the synthesis of nature and design, the artist here uses its shapes to imbue the surface with a swirling visual dynamism that mimics the pulsating energy of the station itself.

Though the work is comprised of more than 5,000 separately cut pieces of glass in more than 70 different colors, the overall impact is one that impresses upon the viewer notions of cohesion and community. Each individually cut piece functions as a facet of the whole, catching both the light and activity of the ever-shifting environment and presenting this action back on the artwork’s surface. This monumental new work offers opportunities for both literal and philosophical reflection at the busiest entrance in the MTA system.

Hodges’ site-specific installation, which measures 710.8 square feet (319.5 square feet on the landing and 391.3 square feet on the mezzanine), was commissioned by MTA Arts & Design and designed in early 2019 and fabricated over the last eight months of 2020. Demonstrating the collective power and importance of teamwork, the artist and his studio worked with fabricators, architects, engineers, contractors, installers and public arts administrators to realize this ambitious project, which connects to the artist’s career-long pursuit of cross-disciplinary, collaborative artmaking processes.

Artist Jim Hodges notes, “The site, a bustling corridor in the heart of New York City, prompted a gesture that might provide a momentary illumination, a split second of image and color that frames the moment in time between places. I dreamed a world and called it Love is intended as an offering to honor all citizens, neighbors and visitors who pass through the space. My desire was to rise to the occasion of the historic context of Grand Central Terminal and celebrate the people who give New York its identity for many years to come.”

Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts & Design remarks, “Jim’s ethereal artwork, I dreamed a world and called it Love, shimmers and soars across the main entrance to Grand Central subway station. The color and scale are on par with the energy of this site. The experience of moving through the powerful piece, rendered in hand-blown and mirrored glass, swells the heart, solidifying the transformative quality of public art. During these unprecedented times, the uplifting work seems to lighten the heavy loads we are bearing. New York’s Underground Art Museum offers a respite from the pall of the pandemic and its impact to our transportation system. The installation of Jim’s extraordinary artwork in this place and at this time inspires hope as we rise to the astounding challenges we are facing.”

Jim Hodges was born in 1957 in Spokane, Washington, and lives and works in New York. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at institutions including: the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Camden Art Centre, London; the Aspen Art Museum; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Most recently a major traveling retrospective of Hodges’s work was exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Dallas Museum of Art; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Hodges has received multiple awards and grants including the Association International des Critiques d’art, the Albert Ucross Prize, Washington State Arts Commission, and the Penny McCall Foundation Grant.

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