Art to Appear on New York City CabsFor the month of January, Show Media, a Las Vegas company that owns about half the cones adorning New York City’s taxis, has decided to give commerce a rest, according to the New York Times. Instead, roughly five hundred cabs will display a different kind of message: artworks by Shirin Neshat, Alex Katz, and Yoko Ono.
The project is costing Show Media about one hundred thousand dollars in lost revenue, but John Amato, one of Show’s owners and a contemporary-art fan, said: “January’s a slow month. I could have cut my rates but instead I decided to hit the mute button and give something back to the city.”
He contacted the Art Production Fund, a nonprofit New York organization that presents art around the city, and asked its cofounders, Yvonne Force Villareal and Doreen Remen, to select artists. They in turn sought out Neshat, Katz, and Ono, three New Yorkers known for work that can read both conceptually and physically in a confined space. (The ads measure just fourteen by forty-eight inches.) The project is called “Art Adds,” not just as a play on its advertising origins but also, Villareal said, because “art adds to the public’s vision.” Each artist’s work will appear on approximately 160 cabs, and each responded to the challenge in very different ways.
Katz has taken two of his recent portraits, both of models who frequently pose for him, and put them together. One is a frontal portrait, the other the back of a woman’s head. They are set against a black background.
Neshat used the two sides of the so-called cones in different ways. On one there is an illustration of a handshake, the artist’s symbol of unity and solidarity. The other shows an eye decorated with a poem titled “I Feel Sorry for the Garden,” by Forough Farokhzad, a celebrated female Iranian poet.
Ono has also drawn on a vintage idea. She used the theme “The War Is Over,” a slogan she and John Lennon used when they took their message of peace around the world in 1969 through 1970, in this case displaying it in English and in sign language.