Which is greater, the odds of catching the Cash Cab or sharing a taxi with Chuck Close?
For the month of January, certainly the latter. For the second year now, ShowMedia, the company that supplies all the advertising to the cabs is turning 500 taxi toppers into roving canvases. There are two works on the street, a pair of eyes by the bespectacled Close and a prostrate gangsta by Kehinda Wiley. Last year’s inaugural artists were Alex Katz, Shirin Neshat and Yoko Ono.
According to ShowMedia, more than 5 million New Yorkers will see the art over the next month, which seems a little high by our count. With 13,000+ cabs on the street, what are the chances of getting a museum-worthy look? Probably about as high as getting to sit across from Marina Abramovic.
Then again, maybe that’s the point. This seeming bit of public art is really just a stealth campaign to get single-minded New Yorkers to gawk at taxi toppers and thus the advertising on them.