On the art at Toronto’s Union Station and the people who don’t like it


According to BlogTO, there’s some chatter over on…

…a recent Reddit thread that has amassed hundreds of comments, one user wrote, “Union Station has the most depressing, unsettling art. No part of it sparks joy. Will they ever change this?”

I understand why would you would think the work is bad if you think it is trying to spark joy or some positive feeling. If you think that, I’d like to give you a different viewpoint.

My view of the work changed when I started thinking about it in comparison to what I typically see in the subway. What I typically see is…advertising. This work is everything ads are not. Ads promise a better life: this work shows life as it is. Ads are often unrealistic: this work is grounded. Ads are often polished and simple images: this work is rough and complex. To me it is refreshing to see this art in comparison to the overwhelming commercial imagery everywhere else in transit.

Art can spark joy, but it can do much more than that. This work, called Zones of Immersion by Stuart Reid,  may seem depressing to some people. For me it causes reflection and it gives me some perspective of my time underground. And because of that, I think it’s great. I look forward to see it when I’m at Union Station. I hope someday more people feel that way.

Comments are closed.