Picture This

An unsentimental journey through this season's most stylish, sinful coffee-table books

Mouthing off: Woodman's Self Portrait Talking to Vince
Francesca Woodman, courtesy George and Betty Woodman
Mouthing off: Woodman's Self Portrait Talking to Vince

Finally, travelers whose curiosity is piqued by sights closer to home will be happy to receive Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit, by Sandra Bloodworth and William Ayres (Monacelli Press, 240 pp., $45), a catalogue of artworks commissioned since 1985 by the Metropolitan Transit Authority for New York City's subway and commuter lines. Ever wonder about those strange red metal frames surrounding the turn-of-the-century mosaics at the Union Square station? This is where you'll find the explanation. You'd have to spend weeks moving around underground, accosted by panhandlers, solicited by itinerant musicians and mechanical-toy vendors, and rubbing up against your urban neighbors, to view these 160-odd works—from gorgeous mosaics by Elizabeth Murray at 59th Street to Alison Saar's noble bronze figures in Harlem to Acconci Studio's windscreens for a Coney Island platform, which recall the shapes of roller coasters, boardwalks, and ocean waves. Here they're all presented for your delectation.

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