This year is the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, which is the pioneer patron of public art. The Tube started working in the 19th Century as the first metropolitan underground railway. Launched in 1863 with the use wooden carriages and steam engines, it was not until 1890 that this public transport company used for the first time electric trains. Since then, the London Tube has been part of the city’s infrastructure and of most of Londoners day-a-day life. Moreover, London Underground has been involved and committed with the arts for many years through an annual art commission programme. Art on the Underground presents international contemporary artists to its travelers and offers several annual commissions by the most talented artists, which are always related to the Tube and the color of its lines. These commissions include permanent works at particular stations, as well as temporary art projects and different Tube map designs. One example of this is the site-specific artwork by the British artist Sarah Morris, Big Ben, created for the London 2012 Olympic Games at Gloucester Road (image below). Other artwork examples are the permanent commission by the French artist Daniel Buren at Tottenham Court Road, and the London Tube map design by the renown Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum this year (image below). This annual commission programme , with high exposure to public, also offers travelers a different dimension and perspective of the Tube, and at the same time encourages and involves its audience in the arts. As the artist Peter McDonald mentioned, Art for everybody. After 150 years, and in order to celebrate such a special anniversary, Art on the Underground has invited 15 cutting edge artists coming from the UK, US, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria and South Korea, to create unique designs for limited edition prints, interpreting the Tube and its vibrant ambience. A total of 150 fantastic prints are on sale to public since the 5th of June. Some of these works of art are on display at four main Tube stations: Gloucester Road, St. James’ Park, Southwark and London Bridge. The 150th anniversary commission is the largest programme that Art on the Underground has ever developed and from Beyond Arting we truly support Art on the Underground as a fantastic way to bring art to public. Have a lovely day!
By Beyond Arting team | Published 1 August, 2013