Public Artwork


Masstransiscope is a public artwork that consists of a 300 foot long painting made on reflective material and installed in the tunnel in the NYC subway. It is in a special enclosure with 228 narrow slits on the front side near the train and the painting on the far side. The inside is illuminated by fluorescent lights. You see the work through the slits and the light reflects off the painting and back through the slits. To someone who's passing by, it looks like an animated movie.

Museum of the City of New York

Bill Brand’s "Masstransiscope" is viewable from the train between the Dekalb subway stop and the Manhattan Bridge, but the model he made to test out his major public art installation was seen in "Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York."

The art installation Masstransiscope by Bill Brand has delighted Brooklyn subway passengers since 1980. Go behind the scenes to see how it was restored in 2012 for a new generation of riders to enjoy. MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design:

MASSTRANSISCOPE can be viewed from the Manhattan bound Q or B trains departing from DeKalb Avenue. When you are facing the front of the train, look to your right. The piece is in two sections, so when the first part finishes, don't look away!

Masstransiscope’s painted panels animated

How does it work?

listen to Science Friday, NPR


Masstransiscope was conceived and created by Bill Brand with support from:

Theresa DeSalvio, Painter
Kathleen Ligon, Architect
Anita Contini, Executive Director, Creative Time, Inc.
Andrea Pedersen, Public Relations Director, Creative Time, Inc.
Nancy Princenthal, Exhibitions Director, Creative Time, Inc.

originally sponsored in 1980 by Creative Time, Inc. and supported in part by:

National Endowment for the Arts
New York State Council on the Arts
Con Edison
American Stock Exchange
Chase Manhattan Bank
among others

with in-kind support from

3M Corporation
Westinghouse Electric
E.E. Tech
Paul Marantz
among others

Restored in 2008 by Bill Brand with cooperation from:

MTA Arts for Transit

and with assistance from:

Michael Strasser, ShelterExpress/MetroClean Express
Miwa Yokoyama, NYU Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program
Alice Moscoso, New York University Libraries

Restored in 2013 by Bill Brand with assistance from:

Sandra Bloodworth, Director, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design
Katherine Meehan, Manager, MTA Arts for Transit and Urban Design
Bill Matheson, Transit Line Manager, MTA
New York University Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program
Elizabeth Hobson, Mike Smith, Yunsung Jang  at the New York Academy of Art

Shira Peltzman, Jieun An, Andrea Callard, Luke Callard Geller, Linda Fenstermaker, Walter Forsberg, John Klacsmann, Brian Spinks, Erik Piil, Jo Brand, Katy Martin