The Crossrail Culture Line

Completed: 2010 Client: Crossrail Artists: Douglas Gordon, Michal Rovner, Richard Wright, Spencer Finch
Location: Paddington, London
Services: Cultural Brokering, Cultural Placemaking, Transport Hub

Transforming a rail network into an international art experience

Futurecity has developed a visionary art commissioning strategy, ‘The Culture Line’, which will align London’s leading commercial art galleries and world-class contemporary artists together with international architecture and engineering teams. ‘The Culture Line’ will fundamentally alter the way people navigate London by creating a series of unique major art installations across multiple locations in the city. The Crossrail stations will become galleries without walls showcasing major interventions by the world’s most renowned artists, resulting in the largest collaborative art commissioning process in a generation.

The first commission is international artist Spencer Finch’s 120 metre long ‘A Cloud Index’ to be built into Crossrail’s Paddington station, in partnership with Lisson Gallery. Turner Prize-winners Douglas Gordon and Richard Wright have been commissioned, in partnership with Gagosian Gallery, to create large-scale artworks in Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station. Michal Rovner will install large-scale video screens on elevator shafts and walls inside the 250m long Crossrail Canary Wharf station, in partnership with Pace Gallery.

London’s leading galleries will assist in the global search for artwork that will inspire generations to come. The confirmed partnerships are:

In 2018, a new era in London’s transport will begin when Crossrail’s new tunnels and stations open and start to serve Londoners and visitors with a much-needed service to relieve the growing pressure on London’s transport network. The Crossrail project will directly link Reading to the west of central London to Shenfield in the east.

In 2010, Futurecity was appointed by Crossrail to develop a visionary art commissioning strategy for Crossrail: The Culture Line. This ambitious scheme will bring world-class artists together with international architecture and engineering teams, to deliver a 21st Century art programme fit for a 21st Century transport system. The Culture Line will create a permanent world-class line-wide art exhibition across Crossrail’s new central and east London stations. The Culture Line will colour the blank canvas of each station and create a cultural experience for passengers at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf Crossrail stations. Large-scale artworks will be permanently integrated into the new stations to deliver a vibrant transport experience for generations to come. The Culture Line is part of a wider focus to regenerate areas both within and around the new stations to improve passenger experience. Futurecity took the unique approach of working with London’s leading commercial art galleries, inviting world leading collaborative artists to submit proposals for Crossrail’s new central London stations. Crossrail’s stations will become art galleries showcasing large-scale artworks by some of the world’s most renowned artists, resulting in the largest collaborative art commissioning process in a generation.

“We want Crossrail stations to enhance the experience of living, working and travelling in London. Art is crucial to this vision, and The Culture Line will harness London’s international reputation for promoting world-leading visual art. Each station will aim to inspire, adding to the cultural vibrancy of the community it serves.” – Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan

Read more about Crossrail ‘Culture Line’ news.

the artist

Artists are offered an opportunity to propose a site-specific work linked to three opportunity areas Art & Architecture, Technology and Public Realm. Spencer Finch has been confirmed for Paddington Station.

"...the Culture Line will harness London's international reputation for promoting world-leading visual art."

Terry Morgan CBE | Chairman, Crossrail Ltd


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