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katherine bradford

Queens of the Night

MTA Arts & Design, New York

queens of the night


Katherine Bradford’s “Queens of the Night” (2021) at the 1st Av (L) station in Manhattan, was officially unveiled during an #MTA press event this morning. Reflecting the community of people who use the 1 Av-14 St station, vibrant compositions totaling about 400 sq ft of glass mosaic, fabricated by Mayer of Munich, are installed throughout the station.

“I’m pleased to have my work featured on the 1st Avenue stop on the L subway line, which is the train I take to my studio each day,” shared Katherine Bradford. “Hopefully, ‘Queens of the Night’ will transport train takers elsewhere, a brief moment of otherworldliness in the hustle and bustle of their day.“

The intriguing, ethereal figures seen in the mosaic panels represent the riders of the L train, which transports creative folk pursuing their dreams and the real-life heroes who provide essential services. In New York, these riders are dressed most often in black, which the artist believes is “merely a cloak over an inner life that is wildly colorful and unconventional”. This group of figures expresses the energy of camaraderie when people are gathered together and inspires viewers to consider the outward expression of one’s own interior vivacity.

In the 1st Av north mezzanine, figures in lime green, aquamarine blue, and rosy pinks gather in a group (as riders do on subway platforms) and are depicted under the glow of a massive moon. Two characters from this assembly are also seen in the Avenue A north east staircase. Caped heroes, a recurrent image in Bradford’s body of work, guide riders in and out of the new north west and south east stairs at Avenue A entrance in two panels subtitled “Superhero Responds.” In the 1st Av south mezzanine, riders are greeted by a dusky blue individual donning a gown in a field of flowers.