About Masstransiscope

Bill Brand’s Masstransiscope was installed in the abandoned Myrtle Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, New York in September 1980. It has been seen by millions of commuters for over twenty-five years. The 228 hand-painted panels are viewed through a series of vertical slits set into a specially constructed housing. The piece works on the principle of the Zoetrope, a 19th century optical toy.


7 responses

18 09 2008

Welcome to the restored Masstransiscope blog.

27 11 2008

Bill, I almost passed out when I discovered the Masstransiscope was restored. What an amazing work of art!

5 12 2008


Thanks for your kind remarks. I’m so happy that a new generation can experience it.

Bill Brand

29 12 2008

Let me second what Matt said. The Masstransiscope is one of the true wonders of New York. All the time now I go out of my way to take the D train, to press my face against the window of the subway car, and fall into the trance of this gorgeous magic lantern show.

Thanks to everyone involved!

5 11 2009
El Masstransiscope - Tecnología Obsoleta

[…] A principios del siglo XX se propuso el empleo de la ilusión del zoótropo para intentar que los viajes en metro fueran menos aburridos. Así, una serie de imágenes fijas, en secuencia, cobraban vida cual cinematógrafo gracias al movimiento del vehículo. Los viajeros podían sorprenderse, al otro lado del cristal, con figuras móviles que amenizaban su trayecto. En 1980 el artista Bill Brand rescató la vieja idea instalando en las paredes de una estación abandonada de Brooklyn, por la que a diario circulan sin detenerse miles de viajeros de metro, un total de 228 paneles pintados a mano que, con el movimiento, tornan en curiosa película abstracta. El año pasado la instalación fue restaurada, para disfrute de los commuters. Más información: Masstransiscope blog. […]

21 10 2011

My son told me about it and I just saw it today-fantastic!

9 04 2012

This always makes me smile so, recently, when I had to choose a public art project to write about for a college course, I got on the B train. Still have to convince myself that I didn’t just imagine what I saw.
I’m doing some research on all that surrounded what was going on in the city at the time Masstransiscope was installed; I was wondering about the aesthetic of the piece and its relation to the graffiti that covered the metro. (Kinetic imagery, kinetic cubism..) Maybe it’s because I’m young and naive but I was surprised at how anyone could really vandalize the work, especially people who presumably painted themselves (even if they were taggers).
Anyway, the point of this jumbled message was to let you know, as you probably already do, that people really appreciate this. They wake up.

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