In New York City, underground art is a literal phenomenon. Nearly 200 permanent works line the walls and floors of the city's subways, commissioned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Arts for Transit program.

Tucked in this unexpected " underground museum" is a Roy Lichtenstein in the Times Square station, and more than 100 bronze critters from sculptor Tom Otterness, who became so obsessed with his MTA project "Life Underground," he delivered four times the promised amount.

But what's a harried commuter to do when there's art all around and no time to see it? A new film from directors Tim Sessler and Brandon Block provides a quick fix. Taking the help of Manhattan-based guide Ruddy Harootian, Sessler and Block filmed some of the city's best subway art, including murals only visible when riding a train. The rapid-fire film, set to "Germany to Germany" by Ratatat, shows commuters rushing past works that in a museum setting, they'd stop to wonder at.

We've posted "The Art Underground" below. For a slower tour, check out the slideshow below that, featuring most of the work shown in the video. A full list, provided by Harootion, identifies each featured artist and work by timestamp.

WATCH "The Art Underground":

THE ART UNDERGROUND - NYC SUBWAY from Tim Sessler on Vimeo.

CLICK for the artists and work in "The Art Underground":

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  • Bing Lee "Empress Voyage"

    Empress Voyage 2.22.1794, 1998 by Bing Lee (Canal Street station. R, N, Q, 6 train)

  • Jane Dickson "The Revelers"

    The Revelers, 2008 by Jane Dickson (Times Square Station)

  • Jane Dickson "The Revelers"

    The Revelers, 2008 by Jane Dickson (Times Square Station)

  • Lisa Dinhofer "Losing My Marbles"

    Losing my Marbles, 2003 by Lisa Dinhofer (42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal, A-C-E train)

  • Jack Beal "The Return of Spring/The Onset of Winter"

    The Return of Spring/The Onset of Winter, 2001/2005 by Jack Beal (Times Square Station)

  • Jacob Lawrence New York in Transit"

    New York in Transit, 2001 by Jacob Lawrence (Times Square Station)

  • Roy Lichtensetin "Times Square Mural"

    Times Square Mural, 2002 (Collage 1990, fabricated 1994) by Roy Lichtenstein (Times Square Station)

  • Toby Buonagurio "Times Square Times"

    Times Square Times: 35 Times, 2005 by Toby Buonagurio (Times Square Station)

  • Toby Buonagurio "Times Square Times"

    Times Square Times: 35 Times, 2005 by Toby Buonagurio (Times Square Station)

  • Tom Otterness "Life Underground"

    Life Underground, 2001 by Tom Otterness (14th St. Station. A-C-E train)

  • Bill Brand's "Masstransiscope"

    Masstransiscope, 1980 installation (Restored 2008) by Bill Brand


00:15 - Empress Voyage 2.22.1794, 1998 by Bing Lee (Canal Street station. R, N, Q, 6 train)

00:35 - Memories of twenty-third Street, 2002 by Keith Goddard (23rd St. Station, R train)

00:42 - The Revelers, 2008 by Jane Dickson (Times Square Station)

00:50 - Losing my Marbles, 2003 by Lisa Dinhofer (42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal, A-C-E train)

00:54 - New York in Transit, 2001 by Jacob Lawrence (Times Square Station)

00:56 - The Return of Spring/The Onset of Winter, 2001/2005 by Jack Beal (Times Square Station)

00:59 - Life Underground, 2001 by Tom Otterness (14th St. Station. A-C-E train)

01:00 - Times Square Times: 35 Times, 2005 by Toby Buonagurio (Times Square Station) *also appears briefly at the 00:39 mark.

01:01 - Life Underground, 2001 by Tom Otterness (14th St. Station. A-C-E train)

01:11 - Times Square Times: 35 Times, 2005 by Toby Buonagurio (Times Square Station)

01:13 - Life Underground, 2001 by Tom Otterness (14th St. Station. A-C-E train)

01:17 - Life Underground, 2001 by Tom Otterness (14th St. Station. A-C-E train)

01:18 - Times Square Mural, 2002 (Collage 1990, fabricated 1994) by Roy Lichtenstein (Times Square Station)

01:18 - That's me taking a Polaroid!

01:23 - Times Square Times: 35 Times, 2005 by Toby Buonagurio (Times Square Station)

01:27 - Masstransiscope, 1980 installation (Restored 2008) by Bill Brand

Have a favorite piece of underground art not featured here? Let us know in the comments!

For more on Harootian's subway art tours, head to his site or Twitter feed.

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