Bear Couple Mosaic To Grace NYC Subway Station

I learned about this installation a couple of weeks ago and planned on reporting on it once I could take my own photos when the new subway line officially opens on Sunday. But some of you have prodded me not to wait. From the Associated Press:

The sight of two men holding hands is far from uncommon, but a mural of two men doing just that is showing up in an unusual place — on the walls of a new subway station in New York City. That depiction of love between gay men is a rarity in public art, experts say.

“It was like winning the lottery,” Thor Stockman, 60, said of finding out that he and his husband of 3 ½ years, Patrick Kellogg, were going to be part of artist Vik Muniz’s “Perfect Strangers,” a series of life-size mosaic portraits of everyday New Yorkers gracing the walls of the new subway station at 72nd Street. But “part of me wishes that it wasn’t a rarity, that it wasn’t remarkable.”

The station on the city’s long-awaited Second Avenue subway line is scheduled to open Jan. 1. Muniz said it made sense to include the two men in a project intended to show the different people that riders are likely to encounter on their daily commutes.

“They are just people you would expect to see,” Muniz, who divides his time between New York and Brazil, said in phone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “You would expect to see men holding hands.”

Jonathan David Katz, an expert in queer art history, said he could find no other example of a permanent, non-political LGBTQ public artwork in New York City. He mentioned George Segal’s “Gay Liberation Monument” near Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots that launched the gay rights movement. But that work, featuring two men standing and two women sitting, is expressly commemorative of a political moment.

More from Fusion:

For Kellog and Stockman, their inclusion in Muniz’ series has an added layer of significance. “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 told the AP.

“They were just average-looking guys like us,” Stockman added. In his statement announcing the public art installations at the various stops along the new Second Avenue line, New York state governor Andrew Cuomo seemed to share in that sentiment.

“Public works projects are not just about function–they’re an expression of who we are and what we believe. Any child who has never walked into a museum or an art gallery can walk the streets of New York and be exposed to art and education simply by being a New Yorker. That is where we came from and that is what makes New York special,” Cuomo said.

Construction for the Second Avenue subway has dominated my neighborhood for the last eight years with street closures, twice daily dynamiting that went on for months, and dozens of shuttered businesses. It’s hard to believe the thing is finally finished after nearly a century of failed attempts.
munozhands

  • Lovely! And its about time we see a representation of gay men that look like the average fellas.

    • Sam_Handwich

      that’s sure to piss off a lot of peeps

      • TuuxKabin

        Those are the peeps who’d be pissed off no matter the peeps represented.

        • edrex

          you know, i’ve been thinking that what we need is more representation of white, cigendered heterosexuals. how else will we know what their lives are like?

          • TuuxKabin

            Visit the Upper East Side?

          • edrex

            No. Real America.

          • TheManicMechanic

            This is “Real America.”

          • edrex

            yes. I know that.

      • unsavedheathen

        On the Second Avenue line?

    • gaymex1

      Yes…I reminder that we are them and that they are us.

    • Mike__in_Houston

      They’re probably already pissed off enough about that hot couple who are gracing some of the PReP ads (well, they’re an ad for something, I think that’s what) in the subway stations as of a couple of weeks ago; I sure know I couldn’t stop looking at them. I’ll be back in NYC in February–if Trump hasn’t blown us all off the face of the earth by then (SAD that I have to start thinking about that possibility again)–and will be definitely making a visit to the 72nd and Second station.

    • It’s fantastic.

    • greenmanTN

      You don’t mean homa-seg-shuls do ya? I’ve heard about them around here but I never seen them myself. 😉

      • I’ve been told if you don’t rile up a homa-seg-shuls they won’t bother you. But ya never can tell with some folks.

        • greenmanTN

          Sometime in the mid 80s, we were visiting my father’s counsin James, and he had this enormous train set around his basement which he was showing us. (Superfluous detail) Out of nowhere he brings up homa-seg-shuls “smiling up at you” and my brother and I (both gay but not out yet) are shooting looks at each other like like “Not even on a cold day in hell!”

          But I loved his wife Margie, maybe the sweetest woman alive.

          • Why is so many of the sweetest people marry not nice folks?

          • greenmanTN

            Things aren’t simple. James was older than my father, but both were in WWII. Dad was in the Navy in the Pacific, and James was in the Army in Europe. He had a Hitler Youth knife with a swastika on the handle that he said he took away from a young man during a fight.

            He started talking about when his platoon liberated a concentration camp and he cried like a baby remembering the awful things he saw.

            He was a man of his time and had blind spots, though not as blind as a homa-seg-shul would need to be to hit on him then. (Younger James? Who knows, Though dad did say his mama nursed him until he was 4!) 😳

  • bkmn

    They are overdressed.

    • Gerry Fisher

      wuf

    • DumbHairyApe

      I wouldn’t object if they were naked.

  • Rick

    This makes me happy.

  • Rex

    They look like guys I’d see at the local Tractor Supply store, except for the holding hands part.

    • Gene

      you need to hang out at gayer tracter supply stores. there are some near that gay steel mill that Homer took Bart to I am told

      😉

      • TampaDink

        Eugene Delguadio in Loudon County Virginia knows where to find those stores too….right around the corner for the warehouses that he writes about. Those forklift drivers have to keep their equipment in good working order, don’t cha know.

    • AJ Drew

      Yes, they do! I’m supportive, but I find it a bit odd that guys in overalls and looking very blue-collar Southern are a cause celebre in NYC, or maybe that’s the point?

      • Sam_Handwich

        doesn’t matter where we live — we’re not all Will … or Jack …..or Karen

        • AJ Drew

          Of course, SH, I guess I just find it odd because my work has had me living in rural areas for so long that I’ve seen *that* couple everywhere. Granted, *one* couple in each area, but… [shrug] Yes, we’re everywhere, and mostly look like that “mosaic” couple was my attempted point, which is why I was surprised by it being “edgy.”

      • clay

        There’s a lot of blue-collar construction work going on in Manhattan, and construction work pretty much requires the same protective clothing in NYC as in the rural South.

        • AJ Drew

          See my reply to SH below… I’m not being dismissive, just surprised that this mosaic image is “edgy” in NYC, and folks expressing fear of it being defaced.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Come to “Bears, Bikers, and Mayhem” in early April in Gettysburg. It’s a whole convention center filled with gay guys who look like this.

  • Gene

    I love this.
    I just hope its not in an easily vandalized position on the wall.
    (not to be a downer…but, you all know me. I have a nasty realistic streak, as my mom called it. As much as we love it, the idea of same gender love frightens the ignorant and cowardly..and some of them have magic markers..and hammers)

    • Sam_Handwich

      my first thought!

      i once considered giving up pessimism but then concluded that nothing good could possibly come of it. 😀

      • TuuxKabin

        Nothing at all. =;-)

    • karmanot

      And some of us have Glocks and Tasers, just say’un. With the new Nazi Administration in DC we may need them.

  • i love making tile art. so i’m totally loving this. he’s right, it is really sad that this is ‘remarkable,’ as so little normal, apolitical art of this nature is out there. artists! get crackin on that, pronto!

  • JoeMyGod
    • Rex

      It’s going to bring down anxiety and depression? Wow, I need to go to NYC and take the subway.

  • JoeMyGod
  • JoeMyGod
    • DumbHairyApe

      Big hole.

  • HZ81

    Cool, but I hate it that my first reaction was “That’s going to be defaced soon.” Thanks, Trump.

    • Silver Badger

      Mine too. I hope it is in a place difficult to reach.

      • clay

        the Upper East Side, no?

        • Silver Badger

          I guess. New York City, Chicago, Saigon, Beijing, Perth, all foreign places which I know nothing about. (Except for National Geographic.)

        • TuuxKabin

          Yep. Sorta neighborhood a lot of people only go to because they live there. This new line will open up a lot more access out of there and into that part of the city. There’s only been the Lexington Avenue line for the longest time.

          • rusty57

            I come all the way from Detroit to go to the Townhouse for sing-alongs.

          • TuuxKabin

            Then you’re an angel! When’s your next visit?

          • Oscarlating Wildely

            Sort of– but around 81 and up on 2nd has been having a series of draws. Granted, it’s mostly bars but some of them are pretty decent. Compared to the bars in the 80s on the UWS, I’ll take them any day.

            Granted, I’m below there on 29 and 3rd– and there is simply no reason to go to where I’m at save for nice, cheap Indian food and drunk and “oh! look how straight I am” frat boys boozing it up on 2nd Ave.

          • TuuxKabin

            Bars in the 80’s on the UWS, I have been to since the 80’s.

    • Charlie

      perhaps defaced soon, but I’m willing to bet that it will be just as quickly returned to its original state by a caring/loving community – and I’ll make the trip to help if needed…

      • TuuxKabin

        One thing I’ll give NYC/MTA credit for is repairing existing art work in the system. Also making it difficult to vandalize in the first place. With the surveillance in these new stations perps have a good chance of being filmed, and with proper ‘patrolling’ apprehended.

    • DumbHairyApe

      But, in addition to being defaced, it will also be surrounded with symbols, signs and words of love and support. Love wins.

      • Mike__in_Houston

        And just about every ad in the subway stations eventually gets defaced anyway…

  • picalane

    Thor and Patrick look like brothers.

    • DumbHairyApe

      Sorry, I’m totally getting a sister vibe.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Give the gay=>girl thing a rest.

        • DumbHairyApe

          No. Last I checked it’s a free society and I can use whatever terms I like to describe my relationship to my fellow gay men. It’s meant as a totally endearing phrase.

          Now, why do you feel the need to tell me how I should think or act?

    • TampaDink

      Years ago, my man & I were often asked if we are brothers….often times, we let people believe whatever made them comfortable. After 30 years, our bodies have aged differently, no one makes that assumption lately.

  • peacfulseas inWA

    ” but our friends were even happier that this is gay representation that
    is not incredibly beautiful and skinny,” Kellogg told the AP. ” I beg to differ. I find it incredibly beautiful. They would fit comfortably here in the 4th corner of the US.

  • fastlanestranger

    Why, yes. I AM sporting wood waiting for the train.

  • Lakeview Bob

    I love that they are just ordinary (yet beautiful) men and not pretty boys. A lot of haters look at gay mature men as sick whereas young gay guys are just playful. This is a wonderful addition to NY.

  • BearEyes

    when I first saw the article about this a few days ago, it brought a smile to my face. Regular guys. (and yes, the vandalism thought went to the back of my mind as others have remarked).
    Besides, Thor Stockman is a damn cool name.

    • Gerry Fisher

      Uber cool name.

      • TampaDink

        It certainly gave me a Lyft. ;-p

    • DumbHairyApe

      After I spent the night with him I was Thor.

      • MERRY CRISIS

        Read that again if you didn’t laugh. Cute

        • DumbHairyApe

          Well thank you kindly dearest Merry Crisis. I do try to comport myself in a cute manner as frequently as possible.

        • Michael Abbett

          Your name has given me the most wonderful response for when the next time I’m leaving a store during the holidays and I hear Merry Christmas…

          Merry Crisis to you, too! The confusion will be priceless.

      • JCF
    • greenmanTN

      Hmmm. My new online moniker may have to be Zeus Cockswain.. (I’d never get away with it.) 😜

      https://youtu.be/c3oSc8gMrGo

  • Michael R

    Fine , but where can I get the look for under $200 ?

    • Silver Badger

      Sears. Serious answer.

      • Michael R

        I’ll start :

        Carhartt Men’s Unlined Duck Bib Overalls
        $69.99 at Tractor Supply

        https://s29.postimg.org/k6r8u16xj/coverall.png

        • TJay229

          I had to laugh at that. The last overalls I hade were by Yohji and they cost and looked nothing like those.

        • David Gervais

          That seems a very good price for Carhartt, but at that price I think the customer has to stuff it and pack it their self. (Can I help you with that?)

        • Oh’behr

          I got some overalls (not Carhartt) for a roadside assistance job. I got them at Mill’s Fleet Farm for $30.00 (on sale) last year. Minnesota doesn’t have sales tax on clothes.Though they were a dark blue, not brown. Better to hide oil stains and road and misc. debris. Definitely not fashion wear.

    • Treant

      http://www.duluthtrading.com/

      Duluth Trading has a lot of this kind of thing.

      Uh…or so I hear.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      Shame on you. Making bears hook for their honey.

  • Paula

    If the hets don’t like it, all I can say is fuck them!

    • TampaDink

      Been there, done that. Some of ’em can be pretty fun in the sack. 😉

  • Gerry Fisher

    You’re wrong, guys. You are beautiful. You’re just not models.

    • DumbHairyApe

      I think they’re beautiful.

    • swimboy

      Hey, models come in all shapes and sizes too! My hubby who’s 54 yo, 6’8, 300 lbs, and a very ruggedly masculine bear is a regular model for Carhartt.

  • Chuck in NYC

    I saw the article in The NY Times a couple of weeks ago and all four new stations appear to have amazing mosaic artwork — but this one in particular. Can’t wait to do a tour of all of them after it reopens next week.

  • Mike C

    Bears in the subway are way better than alligators in the sewers!

    • TuuxKabin

      Hmmmm, bears. In the subway. YAZ.

  • olandp

    These are tile mosaics? That means to erase it the wall will have to be jack hammered down. Wonderful.

    Is this your station Joe?

    • DumbHairyApe

      They look like mosaics. So they’ll be relatively easy to clean of spray paint- which likely will happen on a regular basis given the increasing presence of bigotry and hatred under the new Trump administration.

    • JoeMyGod

      Yup. My station. No more 6 train for me after Sunday.

      • Oscarlating Wildely

        ….god I hate the 6…

  • BobSF_94117

    no other example of a permanent, non-political LGBTQ public artwork

    Is there such a thing as a non-political LBGTQ public artwork? Yet?

    • m_lp_ql_m

      Unfortunately, in our culture, our very existence is deemed ‘political.’ Someone will be along soon enough to politicize this non-political art.

      • BobSF_94117

        It is political art. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    • MBear

      existence=political, alas

  • Natty Enquirer

    Bears, oh my!

  • American Gaythic

  • Elliott

    I keep asking myself “why does this make me cry?” I think it’s because their faces don’t show pretense or assumption. Just stolid, bald dignity. Beautiful.

  • DumbHairyApe

    It will be interesting to see how it will be vandalized with symbols of hate….AND, how it will be honored with PRO LGBTQ mementos and signs of love.

  • Schlukitz

    Fantastic!

  • Oikos

    This is great. Can’t wait for the sadz.

    http://i.imgur.com/gMCsxdX.gif

  • Nax

    “The sight of two men holding hands is far from uncommon…”
    I’ve never seen it where I live in western Michigan (outside of Saugatuck). Hopefully it’ll eventually get here too.

    • Michael Abbett

      Another reason we’re leaving Indy for the Seattle area. If you hold hands here in most places you become a real target for violence, or at the least the, “I don’t know why they have to shove it in our faces!” routine.

  • GayOldLady

    Holding hands is such a sweet and gentle expression of love. And I’m loving the overall’s. I’m anxious to see all the photos.

    • TuuxKabin

      What a good idea. Us New Yawkers should go pose in front of the mosaic and post here? If we ever find the Upper East Side again. I know it’s over there by that other river.

      • edrex

        stay safe.

        • TuuxKabin

          That’s always on my mind. = 😉

  • Acronym Jim

    One Miffed Mom is going to boycott the 72nd Street subway. Count your blessings, Joe.

  • AtticusP

    And God bless the Bears…

    I will never understand how love can ever be “wrong”.

    Fuck the haters.

  • greenmanTN

    Based on experience I can tell you that the level and painstaking detail of that mosaic is amazing.

    Bravo!

  • beariac

    Music for the opening/unveiling ceremony…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1ct5yEuVY

  • TJay229

    “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”

    One clap that they are using a nontraditional couple. But they still look White to me, and White Gay men DO NOT REP for all aspects of Homosexual men. This is furthering that image that caucasian skin is the ONLY image worthy for viewing.

    (Of course you already know… I stand by what I said, and meant every word, so before any of non persons of color start to respond 🖕u 😂)

  • abqdan

    Countdown to vandalism by religious nutjobs….

  • Dirk Prophet

    Other people from NOLA will know the intended respect I mean when I say: That’s pretty.

  • seant426

    Hopefully, it’s in a spot that doesn’t make it susceptible to vandals.

  • ArchiLaw

    Bravo!

  • bmoore4026

    ….they couldn’t have gotten cuter ones?

    • DumbHairyApe

      Nope!

  • Earl

    Good to hear.

    Quite the cute couple too.

  • Oh’behr

    Yay, bears.
    The mural appeals to me. It’s about intimacy. I LOVE intimacy.
    Thanks MTA, whatever or whomever made this happen, the artist and the models.

  • TheManicMechanic

    Hey, I know those guys! (Bear circles seem to always be pretty close. It’s like the Six Degrees game, except with bears, it’s only a degree or two of separation at best.)

  • greenmanTN

    I am seriously only posting this as an illustration. This is the mosiac cover of a personal cookbook I was working on (but didn’t finish). The red chili pepper is made up of over 50 pieces alone, do imagine the amount of time and care, with very small pieces, to achieve that level of detail.

    I was never good at math but I’m going to guess 80 bajillion pieces. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/93c5ab6454568692231182f5768db88591c6ba9263e08492075891706f17f0c4.jpg

  • Pretty bears!

    “It’s hard to believe the thing is finally finished…”

    I wish you were correct about the line being done; there is supposed to be a T line coming down second avenue but the money keeps getting reassigned.

  • I know Thor was a MetroBear member in the early days, does anyone know if Patrick was an early MetroBear as well?