June 11, 2020 Staff Report
For years, LaGuardia Airport has been derided for traffic, noise, delays, and bad architecture, but the Queens transit hub is currently undergoing an $8 billion renovation that also includes filling Terminal B with public art.
Thanks in large part to LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the Public Art Fund, and the Port Authority of NY & NJ, four permanent installations are now on view in the facility that serves Air Canada, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. Three are accessible without a boarding pass.
The selected artists—Jeppe Hein, Sabine Horning, Laura Owens, and Sarah Sze—drew on their personal experiences in New York City while creating their works, which pay homage to the Big Apple’s creative energy, democratic spirit, diversity, and openness. Each huge piece has a “lightness of being” in form and content, adapting to Terminal B’s monumental size.
Here’s a look at the artists and their creations.
Jeppe Hein was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1974, but he’s based in Berlin. He created “All Your Wishes,” with 70 Mirror Balloons (PVD coated stainless steel) and three Modified Social Benches (powder coated aluminum). His dozens of colorful, reflective, balloon-shaped steel sculptures are dispersed around every corner like a fairytale breadcrumb trail. At the floor level, three bright red benches curve, loop, and twist to provide travelers with whimsical resting places.
Sabine Hornig was born in Pforzheim, West Germany, in 1964, but she’s based in Berlin. In the Connector, she displays “LaGuardia Vistas” from latex ink and vinyl mounted on glass. With more than 1,100 merged photographs of NYC, this huge, transparent collage fills an even larger glass façade, allowing sunlight to create temporary kaleidoscopes of color, image, and text.
Laura Owens was born in Euclid, Ohio, in 1970, but she’s based in Los Angeles, California. Her “ILoveNY” is a mosaic mural made of handmade glazed ceramic tiles and grout. Against a brilliant blue sky filled with illustrative clouds, she created dozens of iconic images in a motif that evokes the potential NYC conjures in the public imagination. (If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.)
Sarah Sze was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1969, but she lives in NYC now. Her “Shorter than the Day” consists of powder-coated aluminum and steel. (Its title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem.) Hundreds of images form a mirage-like sphere that appears to float in midair. Each one captures a snapshot of the sky above NYC taken over the course of a day. They chart a cyclical path from the pale yellow to bright blues to dusky orange to violet.