Paula Scher has created an inspiring pair of murals at the new Queens Metropolitan Campus in Forest Hills, New York. This includes the Queens Metropolitan High School and the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School.
Covering some 740 square metres each, the two murals are located in an atrium and commons at the Metropolitan Campus. In the murals, New York City sprawls across the walls in bright colours, going around the walls, into the corners and onto the ceiling, creating a world in one room. Scher purposefully misspelled or misidentified locations in the murals, as if she is figuring out the geography along with the students.
A sense of personalisation characterises the murals, allowing everybody that looks at it to find something meaningful in it.
Scher explained that these works combines her love of painting maps with her love of environmental design. “When the viewer enters the atrium, they have entered the painting. They are enveloped by it. Space is altered by it. For that moment in time, all perspectives are skewed. The viewer gets to inhabit Queens in a manner at once, totally familiar and bizarre. The viewer can recognise places and roads and even locate themselves within the map. They are ‘there,’ and then, again, they are not.”