Share A Cab With Chuck Close; Spruce Up Your Travel Experience

by Ross Kenneth Urken · January 7, 2011

With the Metro Card monthly rate up to $104, you might as well spring for the extravagance of a cab more often. The possibility of hitching a ride with Chuck Close and Kehinda Wiley in with may add incentive.

The work of those two artists will be shown on 500 taxi toppers through the month of January in the second year of this project's existence.  Last year ShowMedia, the firm that supplies all the cab roof advertising, incorporated blue chip artists like Alex Katz and Yoko Ono.

Close is a particularly attractive ambassador to the arts: the renowned photorealist who famously got paralyzed mid-career is not only President Obama's right-hand envoy to government's Arts Advisors but he also makes for conversation more appetizing than filet mignon.

Close, naturally, is not against taking on new media for his work; after the collapse of a spinal artery in 1988 iprevented him from painting, he took on work in paper pulp.

Taxi cab advertisements will make for a new uncharted territory for the iconic artist and Hamptons die-hard. Wiley's works, noted as realist portraits of people in urban environments, should fit well into this project's paradigm.

As the Observer frames it, this proliferation of public art may just be a ploy to attract advertisers by calling added attention to the topper space.