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Collaborations - Seven Waves 4 Twenty-Eight

About ten years ago, the 28th Street station of the #6 train was renovated and a pair of curved walls made of glass block were erected near the entrances on both uptown and downtown sides. After completion, bright lighting was installed behind the blocks. Sometimes the lights in the rooms were on and sometimes they were off. Gerald Marks was using the station a lot at the time and thought the glass block walls provided a cheery touch. Over the years, he noticed the lights were on less and less, and gradually the enclosed space became facility storage. Jerry was disappointed; the block wall could have been so beautiful.

The glass blocks are a type in which the curvature inside the block forms cylindrical lenses. Since Jerry had first laid eyes on the walls, he'd thought about how he could utilize the lenticular (lens-like) properties of the blocks to create a 3-D artwork. Jerry has a long history of creating 3-D illusion environments in New York's unusual spaces: the circular stairwell of the IBM Gallery; a triangular space at the New York Hall of Science; the basement of the Museum of Holography; a barge in the Hudson River called the Floating Foundation of Photography; a rear-projection room in the Houghton Gallery at Cooper Union; and at the Public Theater.

In the fall of 1994, Jerry read in the ASCI (Art & Science Collaborations, Inc.) newsletter that the deadlines were coming up for applications for the MTA Arts for Transit Creative Stations project. He wrote an initial proposal for placing a 3-D illusion art display behind the glass blocks in the 28th Street station, then left for two weeks to teach at an art school in Sweden. When he returned to New York, Jerry learned that his initial proposal had been approved, and that he had to present a final proposal and model within three days. The model is a stereoscopic 3-D photograph of the glass block wall. Jerry quickly mounted it and sent it off, and in January of 1995, he learned that he'd won the $5,000 commission.

Setting out to do the project, Jerry started thinking again about the nature of the blocks and the mural he would create behind them. (There are 228 squares in all in a 128 sq. ft. space). He was around the ocean a lot during the summer of 1995, and wanted the feel of the mural to be underwater, with ripples and waves and sea life. Jerry was able to obtain blocks identical to the ones in the station and started to make optical tests with them. He realized that a proper lenticular 3-D effect was not possible, but a highly-artistic, quasi-lenticular effect was. You could say that the lenses in the wall serve as the 3-D glasses.

Jerry began work in September of that year. Meanwhile, the Transit Authority was getting the room ready for the installation. Some of the glass blocks were cracked and they agreed to replace them if he could find them. The manufacturer, Pittsburgh Corning, agreed to donate the blocks. The workers, busy with the winter snow, didn't finish repairs on the wall until the spring. Additional bright lights were installed in the room. "Seven Waves 4 Twenty-Eight," cut into 8" squares and mounted with Scotch Magic Tape, went up in May and was supposed to remain on display at least until May of 1997. The lights behind the mural are on 24 hours a day, bathing the station with an indigo glow to this very day.

Virtual Image


Sea Grass

Side View

Squid Row

Glass Cubes


The Bell Witch

Discover more about the scary legend of the Bell home in Adams, Tennessee!


3-D Glasses
3-D glasses

Find out how to obtain your free pair of 3-D glasses.


Beijing Bicycle
Beijing Bicycle

See Jerry's stunning 3-D images of Beijing, China.

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