Yayoi Kusama and Kiki Smith collaborate on mural in Grand Central

And it will be as big as the MoMA.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Nov 5, 2022

Every Yayoi Kusama fan has been waiting for the artist’s dazzling new installation. For her newest project, the Japanese artist is collaborating with the famed Kiki Smith to create giant mosaics for a new Manhattan train station. This new train station is the 700,000 sq. ft. Grand Central Madison that is currently being built underneath the historic Grand Central Terminal, it will be home to Kusama and Smith’s upcoming mural.


Fans of Yayoi Kusama will be given a new site to visit. The artist’s work is known to garner a huge audience, famously lining up for blocks and hours on end. This new installation happens to be uniquely easy to access, and will not require long wait times, as it is part of New York City’s public transportation system. The new train is claimed to be as big as the Museum of Modern Art, and it is connected to Metro North service, as well as the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) through Grand Central Terminal.


The artists were chosen through a competitive process that included requesting finalists to submit suggestions specifically tailored to the terminal’s built environment and nature. The new works from Smith and Kusama won’t be the only glitzy underground modern art in Midtown. The initial pieces of U.S. artist Nick Cave‘s three-part video and mosaic work have already been installed in the tunnel that connects Grand Central Terminal to Times Square under 42nd Street.


In addition to being the Long Island Rail Road’s most significant change and upgrade in more than a century, the imminent opening of the new Grand Central Madison terminal, which will have floor-to-ceiling mosaics, will also serve as a symbol of New York’s famed arts and culture scene. Public art is a big part of the history of New York City and having a piece to see on your commute by the world renowned Kusama as well as the incredibly famous Smith is a great reminder of the city’s expansive legacy. The cost of this commission is not yet known, however, the Grand Central Madison terminal construction had a budget of approximately $11 billion.


The Grand Central Terminal subway and commuter rail station is already home to numerous important pieces of art, including the famous constellation ceiling painting by Whitney Warren and Paul César Helleu that hangs over the main concourse — giving an overarching blue hue and adding stunning detail to the main concourse.


An example of Grand Central Terminal art: Jim Hodges’ glass-mirrored installation, and in other related news, here are 3 new art spaces to check out in Manhattan. Grand Central Madison is following in the steps of LaGuardia Airport’s Terminal C nicely.