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Limited edition MetroCards designed by Barbara Kruger | © Job Piston/Performa
Limited edition MetroCards designed by Barbara Kruger | © Job Piston/Performa | Limited edition MetroCards designed by Barbara Kruger | © Job Piston/Performa
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Limited Edition MetroCards by Barbara Kruger Dispensed Across New York City

Picture of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 3 November 2017
Barbara Kruger, best known for her black and white photographs overlaid with declarative sentiments boldly encased in red, will soon reach 50,000 New Yorkers through a limited-edition run of MetroCards. In collaboration with the Performa Biennial, the cards—designed by Kruger—will be dispensed at four subway stations across New York City.

In partnership with Performa 17—the seventh run of New York City’s esteemed performing arts biennial—American artist Barbara Kruger has designed two runs of limited edition MetroCards available on November 1.

Boasting the esteemed artist’s iconic use of white Futura Bold Oblique font over a red background, the cards will ask a series of timely, complex questions: “Who is healed? Who is housed? Who is silent? Who speaks?” and “Whose hopes? Whose fears? Whose values? Whose justice?”

Barbara Kruger, MTA Card for Performa 17_Photo-Paula Court_0405
Barbara Kruger, MTA Card for Performa 17 | © Paula Court

“These issues of power and control and physical damage and death and predation are ages old,” Kruger told the The New York Times. “I wish some of these issues would become archaic.”

The cards will be available from self-service machines in the subway stations at Broadway Lafayette, East Broadway, 116th Street (B/C lines), and Queensboro Plaza. There are 50,000 cards in total, which will be dispensed at random.

“I take the subway six times a day when I’m in the city,” Kruger continued to The New York Times. “I tried to have a range of stations to have the most varied mix of riders.”

The project, by which the MetroCard is transformed into a powerful work of art, was commissioned by Performa, which will run from November 1 through the 19th. The MetroCards will be doled out in conjunction with installations across New York City; including a billboard on 17th Street and 10th Avenue Chelsea, a traveling school bus, and banners created in partnership with NYC Parks and skate park designer Steve Rodriguez for the Lower East Side’s Coleman Skatepark.

BK, Untitled (Skate) 2017. Opening day, skater | © Paula Court
BK, Untitled (Skate) 2017. Opening day, skater | © Paula Court

In a statement, Performa explains that Kruger’s commission “will insert the artist into the urban street culture that has absorbed, appropriated, and applied her provocative attitude and approach through a series of public art actions, performances, and installations.”