The New York City subway is displaying a new mural that caught tons of attention. The city’s transportation system rolled out the new year with some revamped artwork for all the riders to admire. It took 100 years of discussion for the display to finally become a reality. On New Year’s day, the work of Vic Muniz was officially installed on the 72nd Street subway station. The artist’s project is called Perfect Strangers and features portraits of everyday New Yorkers. Amongst the many murals is a portrait of two gay men holding hands.
The mural features Thor Stockman and Patrick Kellogg, a real couple. Stockman and Patrick have been married for three and a half years. The artwork was based off a photo of the couple taken three years before in Brooklyn. Stockman and Kellogg were ecstatic after hearing that their picture would be on display. Stockman stated that the opportunity felt “like winning the lottery.” When they first randomly posed for a picture three years earlier, they thought they would maybe “get a nice portrait print out of this by standing there for five minutes.” They had no idea the mosaic would reach such a large audience and garner so much attention.
“Our friends were happy that this is gay representation on the walls of New York City, but our friends were even happier that this is gay representation that is not incredibly beautiful and skinny,” Kellogg said. Stockman added, “That they were just average-looking guys like us.”
Muniz told The Associated Press in a phone interview that “it made sense to include the mosaic of the two men in his project because his intention was to show all the different people that commute on subways daily. They are just people you would expect to see. You would expect to see men holding hands.”
Jonathan David Katz, an expert in queer art history stated that “the mosaic is the first permanent, non-political LGBTQ public artwork in the city of New York.” The artwork neutralizes and normalizes gayness which makes the piece even more powerful.