An everyday joy

Bill Brand’s MASSTRANSISCOPE is considered an important work in the history of public art. It won a prestigious certificate of merit from the Municipal Arts Society and it still resonates as an important piece of New York City history. Based on the principle of the zoetrope (a 19th century toy), MASSTRANSISCOPE consists of a series of 30” high images housed inside a long wood and steel structure with narrow slits, through which the images are seen. MASSTRANSISCOPE is unlike a movie where the film passes through a projector while the audience sits still. Here in reverse, the film is stationary while the train moves the audience past the film. The MASSTRANSISCOPE image content shifts fluidly between abstraction and representation.  The colorful pictures evolve, transform, expand, contract, explode and metamorphose from simple primary shapes to recognizable balls, people, rockets, plants and landscapes.

First installed in September 1980 but unmaintained for many years,

MASSTRANSISCOPE was restored in 2008 and again in 2013 by Bill Brand with the cooperation of the MTA Arts for Transit which has incorporated it into the permanent collection.


MASSTRANSISCOPE can be viewed from the Manhattan bound  or  trains departing from DeKalb Avenue.