Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, A Gathering, 2001.
174 grackles and blackbirds and seven crows, all cast in bronze with an appropriately glossy black patina, have alighted all over the place on the mezzanine level of the Canal Street (Sixth Avenue) A/C/E Train Station.
They roost on railings and perch in pairs, like people waiting for the train perhaps or, more likely, like pickpockets eyeing the people waiting for the train, looking for some way to take advantage of the close confines, the low ceilings and the never-ending, flowing mass of targets.
It’s like the other side of the coin for Tom Otterness who presented the little urchins up on 14th Street—same line (A/C/E), 14th Street Station.
The artists write that, just like New Yorkers, birds are social creatures and A Gathering compensates for the otherwise non-human wasteland that the subway system is (not to disparage rats) “by enlivening the space and providing respite from the dense traffic and bustling commercialism above.”