From ephemeral to archival: Matthew Chavez offers therapy through art

Subway Therapy created in response to Trump victory

Ephemeral art is occurs once within a specific period of time, and cannot be concretized to be featured within the space of a gallery or museum.

Examples of ephemeral art include performance art, sound, ice and sand sculptures. The art is not the object themself, but the theory encapsulated within their transitory life. Matthew Chavez is the artist behind Subway Therapy, a project that he started immediately after Election Day. Chavez brought pens and sticky notes to a bypass tunnel that links the 14th Street subway stations at Sixth and Seventh avenue as a way for New Yorkers to share words of solace and comfort after Donald Trump’s surprising win. What started organically as an ephemeral project now has historical significance for capturing the unsettling feeling felt by so many.  With the support of Governor Cuomo, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Subway Therapy will be preserved by the New York Historical Society.  Matthew Chavez’s project has become a vehicle for New Yorkers and Americans of other cities to offer and find words of solace after one of the most unprecedented elections in American history. Through a collection of sticky notes, Chavez was able to reify the feeling following the election and brought one city together.

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