Purple Diary

[November 15 2011]


Replacing the advertising space of the Piccadilly line tube trains with art, Art-Tube celebrates ten years since its maverick takeover. In 2001 Canadian artist and gallery curator Robert Gordon McHarg III specially commissioned 42 artists to create visual panels for each carriage. Over six carriages, a trip on the tube took thousands of commuters to experience artworks of heart-scattered skies by Juergen Teller, blank canvases with the words ‘Add Colour‘ and ‘Draw Circle‘ by Yoko Ono, works by British artists such as Corinne Day, Damien Hirst, Pam Hogg and Jamie Reid, and McHarg’s own work with phrases such as ‘The World in Peace or The World in Pieces‘. The exploit played a transformative act on a mass public space, rendering the train into a temporary art gallery and opening up traditional arenas of interaction between art and viewer. Works explore vast subjects from the absurd and fantastic, identity and issues of veiling by French-Algerian artist Zineb Sedira, others imbued with a punk sensibility and satirical wit such as Christopher Landoni’s Monocaine abuse. Amidst the potentially propagandist edge, essentially their performance is an honest, transporting escape. Art-Tube is on view through November 26 at the Subway Gallery, Joe Strummer Subway, Edgware Rd/Harrow Rd, London. Photo and text Sophie Pinchetti

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