2013 marks 150 years since the introduction of the London Underground, and so a year-long anniversary celebration is in place to exalt this iconic mode of transport. Art, tours and discussions will occur throughout the 365 days, with the latest display coming under the title of ’15 for 150′.
The Art on the Underground programme has commissioned fifteen artists to present individual creative touches to major media sites across the London Underground, with the traditional poster format gracing the stations of Gloucester Road, Southwark, St. James’s Park and London Bridge. Having been thoroughly cemented in the outdoor advertising arena by CBS Outdoor’s ‘Look For Longer‘ campaign, the London Underground continues to represent a huge part of Britain’s heritage, doubling up as a peerless form of marketing.
Blossoming through the Underground sphere in 2000, Art on the Underground strives to diversify the tube experience with the best international and emerging contemporary art, reinforcing the tube’s fundamental “artistic and design legacy” which extends throughout the city. Temporary and permanent works – such as the perpetual refreshment of the Pocket Tube map cover – provide a decorative ambience through this subterranean labyrinth, also constructing a more attractive environment for branded billboards. The programme communicates a mission to:
“Provide a world-class programme of contemporary art that enriches the Tube environment and our customers’ journey experience; and continues the long-standing tradition that excellent art and design is at the core of London Underground’s identity and services.”
From June 2013, ’15 for 150′ will see a combination of award-winning and freshly sprouting artists bringing insight from the UK, USA, Bulgaria, Poland, Germany and South Korea. The project will give public access to art gallery regulars such as Young British Artist Sarah Lucas, Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing and Saatchi Gallery exhibitor Idris Khan. The Pocket Tube map also frequently feels the buzz of renowned names from the art world, such as Tracey Emin and David Shrigley. Palestinian installation artist Mona Hatoum is responsible for the most recent edition.
Director at Art on the Underground, Tamsin Dillon, said: “We are very proud that such significant artists have agreed to participate in this and are delighted with the variety of their approaches; ranging from the historical references drawn from London Transport Museum to a direct collaboration with one individual Tube traveler. It seems particularly pertinent to mark this anniversary with a project which has resulted in our largest series of artists’ poster commissions ever. I am sure these new artworks will enrich the daily journeys our millions of customers.”