According to NYC's Metropolitan Transit Authority, Vik Muniz’s public artwork for the newly opened 72nd Street station, Perfect Strangers, is exactly that. “For 72nd Street, Vik Muniz photographed more than three dozen “characters” that represent all of the unique and quirky people one encounters on the subway,” explained the MTA towards the end of last month. “These photographs have been re-created in mosaic and installed throughout the mezzanine and entrance areas, populating the station with colourful New Yorkers of all stripes.”
Yet some of Muniz’s strangers are a little more familiar than others. Muniz, a Brazilian-born artist who began his career as a sculptor before moving on to work in photography and collage, is also on good terms with the French artist and author JR. The pair hung out with Massimo Bottura at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and now Muniz has included a fairly accurate likeness of JR beside the Times Square performers, school kids and businesspeople depicted in Perfect Strangers.
For more on 72nd Street station and other stops on the new Second Avenue Subway art go here; for more on Vik's work get this book; for greater insight into JR’s art go here; and for more on site-specific works in the Americas get Art & Place.