juvenilia > Nice Thoughts on the R Train

Nice Thoughts on the R Train was a project completed in the winter of 2003 as part of Third Rail: An Exhibition on the R Train.

In the publication created after the event, Kirby Gookin describes the project as follows:

"THIRD RAIL is a public intervention designed to transform the subway rider’s traveling experience while taking the R train between Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. By offering art, food, handmade books on a magazine rack, installing alternative signage and various other decorations, and directly interfacing with willing passengers, the subway car’s chilly plastic and steel interior metamorphosed into a festive atmosphere. While this publication documents the artists’ contributions to this event, what could not be captured is the transformative mood that overcame everyone who stepped on board."

In making an artwork for the subway, I wanted to create something accessible and fun. I decided on a seemingly universal subject matter: happy thoughts. I gathered discarded Metro Cards and made 26 small collages on the back. The title of the piece, “Nice Thoughts on the R,” was written with silver marker on the black line on the front of the Metro Card. I constructed these collages of “nice thoughts” using colored paper, magazine and newspaper cut-outs, run-on letters and pretty much anything else that was relevant to the thought (some pieces included receipts and fortunes). What resulted was a mish-mash of pop-culture phenomena and small pleasures.

Through the course of the exhibition, I gifted the cards to subway riders. To emphasize my connection with those who took a card, I allowed them to browse the cards and choose the piece that they felt most related to them.

The documentation presented here comes from my piece of that same publication, which can be purchased in full for $6 at Printed Matter.